Upgrade personal loans review
Quick funding from a lender that emphasizes cashflow over credit — but look out for relatively high fees.
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.
- Funding can be available within a day after credit verification
- Access to free credit monitoring
- Coapplicants accepted
- Hardship program allows you to defer two payments
- Available in most states
- High origination fee of 2.9% to 8%
- Must have at least $1,000 left over after monthly expenses
- Low maximum loan amount of $50,000
Our take on Upgrade
Upgrade personal loans are best for average credit borrowers that want a fast turnaround loan between $1,000 and $50,000, and don't mind paying a relatively high origination fee for the convenience. The company is known to approve loans as quickly as one day, although funding after approval can take between one and four days.
Unlike lenders like Sofi and LightStream that don't charge origination fees, you'll be on the hook for a 2.9% to 8% origination fee with Upgrade. For example, if you take out a $10,000 Upgrade loan with a 5% origination fee, you'll get $9,500 in your bank account. If you have good to excellent credit, you may be able to find a better deal by looking elsewhere for a personal loan.
On the plus side, you can prequalify for an Upgrade loan and see your available rates without dinging your credit. You can also pay your loan off early with no penalty. And in spite of its fees, the company gets overwhelmingly favorable reviews on Trustpilot's and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) websites from thousands of customers who praise the speed and ease of the application and funding process.
Upgrade rates, fees and terms
Upgrade personal loans come with APRs that range from 7.46% to 35.97%, factoring in an origination fee of 2.9% to 8%, which Upgrade deducts from your loan before you receive the funds. And it charges a $10 late fee for payments made 15 days after the due date.
You can borrow $1,000 to $50,000 with terms ranging from 2 to 7 years. Use our calculator to estimate your repayments.
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Upgrade line of credit
In April 2018, Upgrade unveiled a new personal line of credit that you can draw from using an Upgrade credit card. Credit limits are between $500 and $25,000 — and you won’t pay any origination fees to open the line.
Each time you draw from the line of credit, you may be eligible for a different rate — between 8.99% to 29.99% — depending on the amount and term, which will last anywhere from 2 to 7 years. You’ll only pay interest on the amount you borrow without providing collateral, and since an Upgrade line of credit is unsecured.
Upgrade offers 1.5% cash back on purchases and if you fund a Rewards Checking account and make three debit card transactions in 60 days, you get a $200 welcome bonus.
How Upgrade compares to other lenders
To see more options, select your credit score and state, then select Show me my personalized options.
Upgrade reviews and complaints
|BBB customer reviews||4.6 out of 5 stars, based on 2823 customer reviews|
|Trustpilot Score||4.7 out of 5 stars, based on 29,836 customer reviews|
|Customer reviews verified as of||16 June 2022|
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.
How to qualify
To qualify for an Upgrade personal loan, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- Credit score of at least 620
- Monthly budget of $1,000 after bill payments
- 40% or lower debt-to-income (DTI) ratio
- Valid bank account
If you only meet Upgrade’s minimum requirements, you can expect to qualify for a smaller loan with rates and fees on the higher end. For most personal loans, you need to have a high credit score of around 760 and well over $1,000 in income after bills each month to qualify for a 7.46% rate or $50,000 loan. Other factors — like being self-employed — can also affect what type of loan you qualify for.
How the application works
Upgrade’s online application only requires a few minutes to complete. You’ll just need to provide your address, date of birth and annual income to check your rate — although in some cases, Upgrade may ask for your Social Security number to confirm your identity.
However, once you check your rate, you could be asked for additional documentation. This includes a copy of your driver’s license or other government-issued ID, recent pay stubs and bank statements. Turnaround takes up to five days, so regularly check your account and email for updates on your approval status.
If you accept your loan, Upgrade automatically enrolls you in autopay, but you can change it in your account settings.
How Upgrade debt consolidation works
The Upgrade debt consolidation loan is designed to put money into your bank account so you can pay off your creditors yourself. There are three steps to getting an Upgrade debt consolidation loan:
- Check your rate. Go to the Upgrade website to apply and see your rate with a soft credit check.
- Choose your loan. Review your loan options and choose an offer. If approved, your money will be sent within a day of clearing your verifications.
- Pay off your debt. Use the money to pay off your high-interest credit cards and other debt by sending money to your creditors directly.
What sets it apart
Upgrade may have more limited loan options than other online lenders, but it’s upfront about its costs and the loan process. It also offers tools to monitor your credit score through Upgrade’s Credit Health program. If you sign up, Upgrade will send you weekly updates and alerts when it detects any potential activity that suggests identity theft.
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
Personal loan ratings
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Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
Upgrade has been a pioneer in online lending — it often says that you can apply in the time it takes to walk to your car after being rejected by a bank. While it considers your credit score, it puts an emphasis on other data like your monthly cash flow when processing your application.
But its rates and fees clock in higher than many other similar online lenders. And its alternative underwriting criteria can make it more difficult to qualify if you’re self-employed.