Personal Loans

Upstart Personal Loan Review 2021: Features, Pros & Cons

Upstart offers personal loans for debt consolidation, auto loan refinancing and other purposes. Learn how Upstart works and see if it's right for you.
A woman looks at her computer to research different personal loan options
By Rebecca Lake
Updated on: November 28th, 2021
Editor's Rating

Personal loans can come in handy if you need funding to consolidate debt, pay for home repairs or improvements or cover another large expense. You can also use personal loans to get caught up on bills, pay off medical debt, or simply get ahead financially.

Upstart is one option if you’re looking for personal loans online. This online platform uses alternative data and AI technology to help borrowers get qualified for loans. To date, Upstart has originated $13.6 billion in loan funding, with 71% of loans fully automated.

Wondering if Upstart could be the right personal loan option for you? This Upstart review offers a closer look at how loans work and what borrowers can expect.

Compare Your Personal Loan Rates
Check Your Personal
Loan Rates
Choose a purpose for your loan
Always free and will not impact your credit score.

Pros and Cons of Upstart

Personal loan lenders are not all alike. When comparing online personal loans, it’s helpful to understand what makes one lender unique from another, as well as the potential drawbacks or disadvantages. Here are some of the most important pros and cons associated with Upstart personal loans.

Pros Cons
Check your rates for personal loans with Upstart without affecting your credit. Borrowers with lower credit scores may pay higher rates for personal loans with Upstart.
Borrow a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $50,000 at fixed interest rates. Some borrowers may have a higher minimum loan requirement, depending on which state they live in.
Choose between three- and five-year loan repayment terms. Some borrowers may pay a loan origination fee, which can max out at 8% of the loan amount.
Qualify for next-day loan funding, which is faster than some online lenders offer. Upstart doesn’t offer a mobile app for managing personal loan accounts.
Pay no prepayment penalty if you decide to pay off your Upstart personal loan ahead of schedule. Co-signed, joint, and secured loans are not offered at this time.

Who Is Upstart For?

Upstart takes a unique approach to loan qualification and approval by considering alternative data as part of the underwriting process. With that in mind, Upstart personal loans could be good for people who:

  • Want to borrow up to $50,000 for debt consolidation or credit card consolidation
  • Need money to pay for moving expenses, home improvements, wedding expenses, or medical expenses
  • Have lower credit scores or have had difficulty qualifying for other personal loans
  • Are looking for personal loans with fixed interest rates
  • Don’t mind the possibility of paying an origination fee
  • Need fast and secure loan funding
  • Don’t necessarily need a mobile app to manage their loan accounts

If you need to borrow more than $50,000 then Upstart may not be the best personal loan option. But Upstart could be a good option if you’re looking for fair credit personal loans. The minimum credit score needed to qualify for a personal loan with Upstart is 600, which is well below the 660 to 680 minimum score that may be required by other lenders.

Just remember that a lower credit score may translate to a higher interest rate on a personal loan. Upstart personal loan rates operate on a range, with the lowest rates reserved for borrowers with the best credit scores.

Top Features of Upstart

Upstart has some features that borrowers are likely to appreciate. For example, some of the most notable things about this online platform include:

  • Direct payment. If you’re using an Upstart personal loan to consolidate credit card debts, Upstart can use your loan proceeds to pay your creditors directly.
  • Soft credit pull. When you check your rates with Upstart, there is a soft credit check. But this won’t affect your credit scores. You will, however, be subject to a hard credit pull if you decide to move forward with a full application.
  • Fast funding. If you accept your loan offer before 5 pm, it’s possible to get funding as quickly as the next day. With some online lenders, by comparison, you may be waiting for two to four business days or longer for loan funding.
  • Credit reporting. Upstart personal loans could help you to build a positive credit history, as your account activity is reported to each of the three major credit bureaus.
  • No prepayment fee. Paying off an Upstart loan early could save you money on interest. And you won’t be penalized with a prepayment fee if you decide to do so.

How to Apply

If you’re interested in applying for a personal loan with Upstart, checking your rates is the first step. Again, this has no impact on your credit scores.

Once you check your rates, you can decide whether to move forward with the full loan application. If you decide to do so, you’ll need to provide Upstart with some specific information, including:

  • Your name
  • Address and email
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Academic credentials
  • Work experience

You’ll also need to tell Upstart how much you need to borrow and what you plan to use the money for. Upstart does look at your credit scores as part of the application process. But this platform also looks at your ability to repay a loan, independent of your credit scores, based on your level of education and earning potential.

Applying is quick and easy and takes just a few minutes. But again, since there’s no Upstart mobile app you’ll have to fill out the application through the company’s website.

Rating the Features

Before applying for an Upstart personal loan, it’s important to understand what you’re getting — and what you might pay, in terms of fees and interest. So here’s a little more background on the platform’s features to help you decide if it’s right for you.

User experience

Applying for a personal loan with Upstart is quick and easy. The application is fairly simple, though you may need to provide supporting documentation (i.e. pay stubs or bank statements). Fast funding, once you’re approved, is arguably one of the best features overall.

Fees and rates

Upstart touts personal loan rates that are 10% lower than traditional lenders. And if you have an excellent credit score, it’s possible to get approved for a loan at a rock-bottom rate.

There are, however, some fees to be aware of starting with the origination fee. Upstart charges an origination fee ranging from 0% to 8%, depending on your overall creditworthiness.

This fee is deducted from your loan proceeds. So if you have to pay an origination fee for an Upstart loan, be sure to factor that in when deciding how much to borrow. And if you’d prefer to avoid origination fees altogether you may want to look for a lender that doesn’t charge them.

Transparency

Upstart gives you the opportunity to review your rates without affecting your credit before you apply for a loan. You can also review the platform’s fee schedule online.

Once approved, your loan activity is reported to the credit bureaus. If you have questions, Upstart offers an extensive FAQ library. And you can also contact customer support seven days a week.

Flexibility

Upstart personal loans can be used for a wide variety of purposes, ranging from debt consolidation to home improvements and virtually anything in-between. You can get a three- or five-year loan, according to what fits your budget best.

Loans are offered in all 50 states. You can’t choose your due date but you can opt to pay twice monthly instead of once a month.

Customer support

As mentioned, there is no Upstart mobile app. Everything you need to manage your loan is offered online.

If you need help with your account, you can contact customer support by phone or email seven days a week. There’s no online chat feature, however.

Bottom Line

Upstart personal loans could help you meet your funding needs, especially if you’re new to building credit or have a poor credit rating. It doesn’t hurt your credit to check your rates to see what type of loan terms you might be approved for. From there, you can take the next steps to apply for an Upstart personal loan if you think it’s the best option for you.