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Upgrade vs. Upstart: Which is better?

Upgrade and Upstart both are both highly rated personal loan lenders, but one has lower starting APRs and fees.

If you’re considering a personal loan, Upgrade and Upstart may both appeal to you for different reasons. Upgrade requires a lower credit score minimum and offers direct payment to your creditors. Upstart, on the other hand, considers factors outside your credit score. Both lenders offer quick turnaround times and approve loans for those with fair credit profiles.

Upgrade vs. Upstart: A quick comparison


Finder rating★★★★★ ★★★★★
Loan products offered
  • Personal loans to refinance credit cards, improve your home, consolidate debt and make a significant purchase
  • Both unsecured and secured loans available
  • Unsecured personal loans for debt consolidation, medical expenses, home improvement, student debt, relocation, wedding, vacation and more
Interest rates8.49% to 35.99%7.80% to 35.99%
FeesBetween and origination feeBetween 0% and 12% origination fee
Loan amounts$1,000 to $50,000$1,000 to $50,000
Turnaround time1 to 4 business days1 to 3 business days
Eligibility requirements
  • Age 18 or age 19 if in Alabama
  • US citizen, permanent citizen or living in US with valid visa
  • Soft credit check
  • Verifiable bank account
  • Valid email address
  • Age 18
  • US citizen
  • Verifiable DOB, social security number and name
  • Minimum 300 credit score if have otherwise proof of education
  • Proof of employment or that will start in 6 months and/or other verifiable income
  • 4.5 Trustpilot rating
  • A BBB rating
  • 4.9 Trustpilot rating
  • A+ BBB rating
State availabilityNot available in: Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Vermont, West VirginiaNot available in: West Virginia
  • Accepts joint applications
  • Can be approved for up to 84 months if you qualify
  • Choosing autopay may offer lower rates
  • You can change payment due date to match your budget
  • No minimum education requirement
  • Upstart approves 44% more applicants compared to other traditional models
  • Inexperienced or low-credit borrowers may qualify
  • Allows co-owner to help with loan approval decision
  • Funds sent to creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear
  • High minimum origination fee
  • Not available in all 50 US states
  • Minimum loan amounts differ by state
  • High origination fees
  • Late fee of 5% of past due amount or $15, whichever is larger
  • Does not allow coborrowers
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Upgrade vs Upstart: Which one’s better?

Upgrade and Upstart both welcome borrowers with fair to good credit scores and can approve up to $50,000 in personal loans. Upgrade allows you to have a wide range of term lengths, while Upstart’s AI-driven model approves borrowers with criteria outside of credit scores, such as education and employment. While Upgrade may offer a suite of education resources and generous personal loan term lengths, both borrowers are a great option for borrowers depending on their needs.

When to consider Upgrade

Upgrade may be the right lender for you if you need:

  • Flexible payment options. You can change your repayment date.
  • Lower origination fees. Upgrade’s origination fees max out at while Upstart’s max out at 12%

When to consider Upstart

Upstart may be a more compatible option if you want:

  • A second loan. Borrowers with previously low credit scores can apply for a second loan as long as they’ve met payments on their existing loan for six consecutive months.
  • Quick deposits. You can expect your funds in as little as one business day.

The similarities

While Upstart has lower minimum APRs and is available in more US states, both lenders offer quick application processes, fast funding and are highly rated by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Compare other personal loans

Compare up to four lenders side-by-side to see how they stack up.

Name Product Filter Values APR Min. credit score Loan amount
LightStream personal loans
Finder Score: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
LightStream personal loans
7.49% to 25.99%
Good to excellent credit
$5,000 to $100,000
Borrow up to $100,000 with low rates and no fees.
PenFed Credit Union personal loans
Finder Score: 3.6 / 5: ★★★★★
PenFed Credit Union personal loans
7.99% to 18%
$600 to $50,000
With over 80 years of lending experience, this credit union offers personal loans for a variety of expenses.
Finder Score: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
8.49% to 35.99%
$1,000 to $50,000
Check your rates with this online lender without impacting your credit score.
Best Egg personal loans
Finder Score: 3.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Best Egg personal loans
8.99% to 35.99%
$2,000 to $50,000
Fast and easy personal loan application process. See options first without affecting your credit score.
Credible personal loans
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Credible personal loans
4.60% to 35.99%
Fair to excellent credit
$600 to $100,000
Get personalized prequalified rates in minutes and then choose an offer from a selection of top online lenders.
Freedom Debt Relief
Not rated yet
Freedom Debt Relief
Starting at $4,000
Freedom Debt Relief works to help people with unmanageable, unsecured debt get back on their feet.

Alternatives to Upgrade and Upstart

If neither lender suits your needs, check out these similar personal loan lenders.

  • Best Egg: Best Egg offers personal loans with APRs starting from 8.99% and offers loan amounts up to $50,000 with a variety of repayment methods. It was ranked the number one company in 2021 by Best Company, a consumer review site.
  • LendingClub: LendingClub has more options in its suite of lending solutions.
  • Avant: Avant is more lenient than most lenders since it does not require a credit score and welcomes self-employment income.

See how other lenders stack up

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