Key takeaways

  • An Upgrade personal loan may be best for borrowers who need to consolidate debt or cover a smaller emergency expense.
  • An Upstart personal loan is suited for borrowers with bad credit or a thin credit history.
  • Both lenders have the same loan amount range, funding timelines and similar APR ranges.

Upgrade and Upstart cater to borrowers with fair to good credit and offer similar loan amounts up to $50,000. While both are reputable lenders that have gained a trusted reputation among consumers, they have different credit requirements, repayment terms, fees and perks.

Upgrade vs. Upstart at a glance

Upgrade Upstart
Bankrate Score 4.7 4.8
Better for Covering emergency expenses and consolidating debt Borrowers with bad credit
Loan amounts $1,000–$50,000 $1,000–$50,000
APRs 8.49%-35.99% 7.80%-35.99%
Loan term lengths 2 - 7 years 3 - 5 years
  • Origination fee: 1.85% to 9.99%
  • Failed payment fee: $10
  • Late fee: Up to $10
  • Origination fee: 0% to 12%
  • Late fee: Greater of 5% or $15
  • ACH or returned check fee: $15
  • Paper copies fee: $10
Minimum credit score 600 No requirement
Time to funding As soon as one business day As soon as one business day

Upgrade personal loans

Upgrade logo
Best for covering expenses and consolidating debt

Upgrade personal loans

Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
Learn more in our Bankrate review

Upstart personal loans

Upstart personal loans
Best for borrowers with bad credit

Upstart personal loans

Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
Learn more in our Bankrate review

How to choose between Upgrade and Upstart

Although they have similar details, Upgrade and Upstart have distinct features that make them better suited for different types of borrowers.

APR range

Upstart’s loans offer a more competitive starting APR than Upgrade’s. If you have good or excellent credit and are able to secure a low origination fee, this could translate into a cheaper loan.

Minimum credit score

Both lenders cater to individuals with low credit, but Upstart doesn’t technically have a credit score requirement for approval. Most lenders base approval primarily on creditworthiness, but Upstart’s unique approval model considers multiple factors, like career and educational history.

Repayment terms

Upgrade’s loans have repayment terms of up to seven years, compared with Upstart’s five-year maximum. Although this can result in more interest paid over time, a longer term can result in a more comfortable monthly payment, giving you more breathing room.

Time to receive funds

With both lenders, you could have the cash in your account as soon as the next business day following approval.


Upgrade’s origination fee is capped at 9.99 percent, whereas Upstart’s is capped at a hefty 12 percent. While Upstart does offer a more competitive starting rate than Upgrade, it doesn’t allow co-applicants. This and its higher fees can make Upstart loans costlier if you have imperfect credit.

The bottom line: Which lender is best?

Upgrade’s available repayment term of 24 months and $1,000 minimum amount make it better for those who need quick cash. Upstart, on the other hand, is well suited for borrowers with no credit or a thin history since credit score only plays a part in gauging approval. However, Upgrade and Upstart are not your only options for fair credit loans.

Compare more lenders before applying

Take some time to compare other personal loan rates to find the option best suited for your needs.