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Upstart personal loans review: Non-traditional underwriting to help fair credit borrowers

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Upstart personal loans
4.2
★★★★★
Finder score
Max. Loan Amount
$50,000
APR
6.40% to 35.99%
Min. credit score
300

Our verdict

This online lender considers multiple factors, including your education and work experience.

For many borrowers, Upstart's non-traditional underwriting criteria may make it easier to get approved for funding. It's also quick to fund, with most loans paying out within one business day. However, it can be a pricey option for borrowers who barely meet its minimum requirements.

Best for: Borrowers unable to qualify for a cheaper option.

Pros

  • Fair credit OK
  • Counts education and career in underwriting process
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Most loans funded within one business day
  • Job offer letters may qualify you for a loan

Cons

  • Origination fee up to 12%
  • Only two terms to choose from
  • No mobile app to manage loans
  • Charges late fees

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Details
    • Product details
    • Contact info
  • Your reviews
  • Ask an expert

Details

Product details

Min. Loan Amount $1,000
Loan Amount $50,000
APR 6.40% to 35.99%
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min. credit score 300
Origination Fee 0% to 12%
Late Fee $15
Loan term 2 or 5 years
Turnaround Time 1 to 3 business days

Contact info

Phone number 855-438-8778
Customer service hours 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST, Monday through Friday.
Weekends between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PST.
Email support@upstart.com
Twitter @Upstart
Facebook @teamupstart

What makes Upstart shine

Upstart’s underwriting process is the most unique benefit of the lending platform. Upstart utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and considers nontraditional data, such as your education, grades, and job offer letters, when making a lending decision.

This approach may make it easier for some borrowers – including those with a limited credit history or low credit scores – to qualify for a personal loan. Unlike most lenders, it accepts scores as low as 300 in most states, as long as you meet Upstart’s other criteria.

To qualify, you have to make at least $12,000 per year (or have a job offer letter with a start date within six months), and have no bankruptcies or account delinquencies on your credit report. If approved, you can get your funds in as little as one business day.

Where Upstart falls short

The biggest drawback to an Upstart loan is how much it could cost you. If you have excellent credit, you could get rates as low as 6.4%, but the average APR for a five-year loan across Upstart customers is 25.05%. You could end up with no origination fee — or pay up to 12%.

Your qualifications even determine how much of a loan Upstart may offer you, along with your state’s loan limitations. You don’t have to pay a down payment or prepayment penalty, but if you only meet the minimum requirements, your loan could still be expensive.

Upstart is a non-traditional lender

Upstart calls itself a lending marketplace, which is typically a service that provides you with several offers from different lenders and is hands-off after that.

Upstart works with its partner banks and credit unions behind the scenes to fund your loan, providing you with only one offer, and then services the loan once it closes. In that way, it’s more like a lender that gets its funding from outside investors than a traditional lending marketplace.

Upstart loan details

Minimum credit score300
APR6.40% to 35.99%
Loan amounts$1,000 to $50,000
Terms3 or 5 years
Approval turnaroundMost within one business day
AvailabilityAvailable in all states
Fees
  • Origination fees: 0% to 12%
  • Prepayment: None
Down paymentNone

How to qualify for Upstart

To qualify for a personal loan from Upstart, you must meet these requirements:

  • Credit score of 300 (although the customer average is 654)
  • Debt-to-income ratio not exceeding 45% to 50%, depending on your state
  • Regular source of income or a valid job offer letter
  • Personal US bank account
  • No bankruptcies in the past 12 months
  • Fewer than six credit inquiries in last six months

How to apply

Upstart’s application should only take a few minutes. You’ll need to enter basic information about yourself — including information about your education and grades, as well as your current savings and investments – which may differ from what other lenders may ask.

Next, follow the prompts to have Upstart run a soft credit check. If preapproved, Upstart will provide instructions on how to finalize your loan request. You may also need to provide your college transcript, SAT scores and pay stubs. However, Upstart states that most borrowers won’t need to provide additional documentation when they apply.

If you aren’t approved, you can apply again within 30 days.

How Upstart compares to other lenders

Compare Upstart’s rates, terms and features to other popular personal loan providers.

Upstart personal loans logo

Upstart personal loans

★★★★★

Finder rating 4.2 / 5

Go to site


APR

6.40% to 35.99%


Loan term

2 or 5 years


Loan amount

$1,000 to $50,000


Min. credit score

300

LightStream personal loans logo

LightStream personal loans

★★★★★

Finder rating 4.8 / 5

Go to site


APR

7.49% to 25.49%


Loan term

24 to 144 months


Loan amount

$5,000 to $100,000


Min. credit score

Good to excellent credit

Upgrade logo

Upgrade

★★★★★

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

Upstart reviews and complaints

BBB accredited Yes
BBB rating A+
BBB customer reviews 1.24 out of 5 stars, based on 228 customer reviews
Trustpilot Score 4.9 out of 5 stars, based on 44,857 customer reviews
Customer reviews verified as of 01 January 2024

Upstart has thousands of reviews on Trustpilot, which are overwhelmingly positive. The majority of customers report being happy with the simple application process and the speed at which they received funds. While fewer in number, some customers complain about being denied for a loan after being preapproved and submitting documentation.

Upstart is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and earns an A+ business rating for its handling of customer complaints over the past three years. But it gets poor customer reviews on the site from customers who report billing errors, inaccurate payoff information and high interest rates.

Is Upstart legit?

Upstart is a legitimate online lender: Loans are funded by Cross River Bank, an FDIC-insured New Jersey chartered commercial bank. It uses GoDaddy software to protect your personal information. And it breaks down how it collects and shares your information in its privacy policy.

Along with personal loans, Upstart offers auto refinance loans.

Always explore your options before deciding and, if possible, compare similar lenders to find the best deal.

Frequently asked questions

How many Upstart loans can you have?

You can have two Upstart loans at a time. Your first loan must exceed $50,000 in principal and you should have made on-time payments for the past six months.

How long does it take an Upstart loan to deposit?

Funds are sent to the banking institution within 1 day after your origination date.

Does Upstart let you skip a payment?

Upstart allows a 15 day grace period, but if you can’t pay within that period they recommend filling out a hardship assistance request form. As a result, you may receive an alternative payment plan.

What documentation is required to verify my Upstart loan?

When applying for an Upstart loan, you’ll need to verify your income. Documentation can be verified by pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, or other relevant financial records.

What are the minimum credit requirements to receive a loan?

Upstart states it takes applicants who have a minimum credit score of 300, as long as you don’t have any bankruptcies, current delinquent accounts or other disqualifying factors.

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Heather Finder

Staff writer

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Jelene

July 16, 2017

I own my home but with my life estate the house will go to my son. i have a loan that i paid for years and on time.. my son took it over past 6yrs nd recently it went into forecloser. my daughter saved my house but i would like to refinance it i owe 11,000 on the loan but i have 85,000 in equity


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Harold Finder

July 17, 2017

Hi Jelene,


Thank you for your inquiry.


You do have an option to refinance your current home loan. Click on that link to learn more.


I hope this information has helped.


Cheers,

Harold


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