In this guide

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  • Details
    • Product details
    • Contact info
  • Your reviews
  • Ask a question
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Our verdict

Quick funding from a lender that accepts bad and fair credit scores — but origination fees apply.

Upgrade offers personal loans to borrowers with bad to fair credit who may not qualify elsewhere. While the company gets high marks from customers for its fast funding and customer service, it charges an origination fee and APRs can run high. If your credit score is 670 or higher, you could possibly snag a better APR elsewhere, with no origination fees. But for those with less than stellar credit, it’s worth considering.

Best for: Bad to fair credit borrowers and those new to credit.

Pros

  • Bad and fair credit ok
  • Good customer reviews
  • Multiple rate discounts available
  • Offers a secured loan option
  • Co-applicants accepted
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Quick turnaround

Cons

  • Origination fees from 1.85% to 9.99%
  • Income and credit score requirements not disclosed
  • Stricter eligibility criteria for self-employed applicants

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Details
    • Product details
    • Contact info
  • Your reviews
  • Ask a question

finder.com's rating: 3.98 / 5.0

★★★★★

Bottom line: Upgrade is a quick choice for borrowers who haven't been able to qualify with a bank. But it still has relatively strict criteria — and high rates — when compared to similar online lenders.

Details

Product details

Min. Loan Amount $1,000
Loan Amount $50,000
APR 8.49% to 35.99%
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min. credit score 620
Origination Fee 1.85% to 9.99%
Late Fee $10
Loan term 2 to 7 years
Turnaround Time 1 to 4 business days

Contact info

Phone number (844) 319-3909
Customer service hours Monday - Friday, 5 a.m.- 6 p.m. PT
Saturday - Sunday, 6 a.m. - 5 p.m. PT
Email support@upgrade.com
Twitter @UpgradeCredit
Facebook @UpgradeCredit

What makes Upgrade shine?

Upgrade stands out for its ease of application and fast funding for borrowers with lower credit scores. You can prequalify for a loan in a few minutes with a soft credit check, so you’ll know right away if you qualify for a loan – and there’s no obligation to apply.

Upgrade is also notable for its rate discounts. It offers rate discounts if you set up autopay, use all or part of your funds for debt consolidation, or use your car as collateral to secure the loan. You can also apply with another person with a joint application to increase your chances of approval and possibly get a lower rate.

Upgrade offers flexible repayment terms from two to seven years and the ability to change your payment date – with no prepayment penalty if you want to pay your loan off early. The company also gets high marks from previous customers on Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website for its customer service and fast turnaround.

Where Upgrade falls short

On the downside, Upgrade charges an origination fee on its loans, which is deducted from your loan. For example, if you’re approved for a $10,000 loan with a 5% origination fee, the total amount sent to your bank account will be $9,500 – but you still pay interest on the full $10,000. So, if you have good to excellent credit, you could save on this fee by going with another lender like Lightstream or Sofi.

And while Upgrade has relatively relaxed eligibility requirements, you still need to show regular income and meet certain debt-to-income ratio requirements – and self-employed individuals need to show the past two years’ tax returns to qualify. Lastly, while the company gets generally high marks from customers, it has a fairly high number of complaints on the BBB site.

Upgrade loan details

Minimum credit score/credit rangeNot disclosed
APR8.49% to 35.99%
Loan amounts$1,000 to $50,000
Terms2 to 7 years
Approval turnaround1 to 4 business days
AvailabilityNot available in: Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Vermont, West Virginia
FeesOrigination fee of 1.85% to 9.99%
Other fees$10 late payment fee

How to qualify for Upgrade

Upgrade doesn’t state what its minimum credit score and income requirements are. But it does say that you’ll need to meet these minimum requirements to qualify:

  • Must be US citizen or permanent resident, or living in the U.S. on a valid visa
  • Be at least 18 years old (19 years old in Alabama and certain other states)
  • Have a verifiable bank account
  • Have a valid email address

Once you get past the preapproval stage and want to apply formally with a hard credit check, you’ll need to provide proof of income and possibly other documentation. Self-employed individuals must provide their last two years’ tax returns.

How to apply

Upgrade is known for its streamlined application process. Here are the steps to get started:

  1. Check your rate. Prequalify online with a soft credit check to view your offers.
  2. Choose an offer. Review your loan offer(s) and decide which one works best for your situation and budget.
  3. Finish applying. Apply with a hard credit check and provide any requested documents.
  4. Wait for funding. Once your application is completed and verified, you could have funds within one business day.
  5. Follow your repayment plan. Make monthly payments over two to seven years. You can also pay your Upgrade loan off early with no penalty to save on interest.

How Upgrade compares to other lenders

View these top lenders or choose two or more and select Compare to see how they stack up.

Upgrade personal loans logo

Upgrade personal loans

★★★★★

Finder rating 4 / 5

Go to site


APR

8.49% to 35.99%


Loan term

2 to 7 years


Loan amount

$1,000 to $50,000


Min. credit score

620

LightStream personal loans logo

LightStream personal loans

★★★★★

Finder rating 4.8 / 5

Go to site


APR

7.49% to 25.99%


Loan term

24 to 144 months


Loan amount

$5,000 to $100,000


Min. credit score

Good to excellent credit

PenFed Credit Union personal loans logo

PenFed Credit Union personal loans

★★★★★

Finder rating 3.6 / 5

Go to site


APR

7.99% to 18%


Loan term

1 to 5 years


Loan amount

$600 to $50,000


Min. credit score

580

Upgrade reviews and complaints

BBB accredited Yes
BBB rating A
BBB customer reviews 4.67 out of 5 stars, based on 1682 customer reviews
Trustpilot Score 4.5 out of 5 stars, based on 39,820 customer reviews
Customer reviews verified as of 02 January 2024

Upgrade gets overwhelmingly positive reviews from thousands of customers on Trustpilot and the BBB website. It’s rare to see such a high customer rating on the BBB site, as it’s more frequently used to lodge complaints against businesses. Overall, borrowers seem happy with the fast application process and Upgrade’s helpful customer service team.

However, several hundred customers have also left complaints about Upgrade on the BBB site, which is typical for a financial services company with a high transaction volume. These less-happy customers report billing errors, loans that were denied after preapproval and a lack of communication around payment due dates and policies.

Is Upgrade legit?

Yes, Upgrade is a legit online lender. It partners with Cross River Bank and Blue Ridge Bank, which are both FDIC-insured. Its website is protected by McAfee security software, and it offers multiple easy-to-read privacy policies to help you understand how it uses your personal information.

Frequently asked questions

What is the minimum credit score for an Upgrade loan?

While Upgrade doesn’t have a stated minimum credit score requirement, online sources suggest it’s around 580. However, you can always prequalify with Upgrade regardless of your credit score. Doing so doesn’t affect your credit.

Are Upgrade and Upstart the same lender?

No. But these lenders are sometimes confused with each other because their names and loan products are similar. Both cater to bad and fair credit borrowers and charge origination fees. However, Upstart has a lower starting interest rate than Upgrade.

What discounts does Upgrade offer?

Upgrade has several discounts. You could snag a discount by setting up autopay on your loan, using all or part of your loan proceeds to pay off your creditors, by securing the loan with your car or by applying with a creditworthy co-applicant.

Is Upgrade a direct lender?

No. Upgrade is a lending platform that offers personal loans through its bank partners, Cross River Bank and Blue Ridge Bank.

Can Upgrade pay off my creditors directly?

Yes, Upgrade has a debt payoff loan option where it arranges to pay your creditors for you. This can save you the effort of having to send funds out of your bank account.

How do I contact Upgrade?

You can contact Upgrade by calling (844) 319-3909 Monday to Friday, 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, or on weekends from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. You can also send an email to support@upgrade.com.

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.94%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 9.99% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 24 to 84 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.

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Anna Finder

Editor

Hi there, looking for more information? Ask us a question.

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Leslie

September 01, 2018

Can I make a lump sum payment on my upgrade loan


Avatar

Anndy Finder

September 01, 2018

Hi Leslie,


Thanks for your question.


Yes, you can make a lump sum payment on your Upgrade loan as they don’t charge a fee or penalty for repaying a loan early.


I hope this helps.


Cheers,

Anndy


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