This lending platform looks beyond your credit to get you a loan based on your work experience and education.
finder.com’s rating: 4.2 / 5.0
Founded in 2012 by former Google employees, Upstart is a peer-to-peer lending company that looks at more than just credit score to determine if you qualify for a loan. But while you can borrow a large amount without firmly established credit, you’ll still want to keep an eye out for fees, which can quickly increase the cost of your loan.
|Product Name||Upstart Personal Loans|
|Min. Loan Amount||$1,000|
|Max. Loan Amount||$50,000|
|APR||7.98 to 35.99%|
|Interest Rate Type||Fixed|
|Minimum Loan Term||3 years|
|Maximum Loan Term||5 years|
|Requirements||Must have good to excellent credit and be at least 18 and a US citizen or permanent resident.|
- Credit score of 620 or higher
- Regular source of income
- Personal banking account at a US financial institution with a routing transit number
- US citizen currently living in the US, or a permanent resident currently living in the US
- Not a resident in West Virginia or Iowa
- Verifiable name, date of birth and social security number
- Valid email address
- At least 18 years old (applicants from Alabama and Nebraska must be at least 19 years old)
How does borrowing through Upstart work?
Since Upstart caters to recent college graduates, factors like education and work history can impact your loan decision. But don’t worry: a college degree isn’t required to qualify for a personal loan.
Because Upstart is a lending platform, you can quickly apply online for a personal loan of up to $50,000. Loan terms are 3 or 5 years. Depending on your credit history and full application, your APR may be on the higher end of its advertised range.
According to Upstart, its average applicant is…
- A college graduate.
- Earns approximately $93,206 a year.
- Has a credit score of 689.
Upstart’s average personal loan…
- Lasts three years.
- Has an APR of 17%.
- 36 monthly payments of $35 per $1,000 borrowed.
What are the benefits of an Upstart personal loan?
- Holistic approval process. Upstart’s application process focuses on factors like work history and sometimes SAT scores. Your overall profile will be given a grade, which then determines how much you can borrow and your interest rate. Thanks to their artificial intelligence technology.
- Low interest rates. Upstart offers competitive APRs for their loans, some as low as below eight percent.
- Quick to apply. It takes only minutes to complete the online application and get an estimated rate.
- Multiple payment options. You can make your payments biweekly or monthly, and there’s no penalty if you choose to pay before the due date every month. And if you run into financial trouble, you can work with Upstart to find a new payment plan.
- No check or prepayment fees. Unlike many of its competitors, Upstart does not charge a fee for check payments or paying ahead of your loan term.
- Fast turnaround. Because a percentage of its loan approval process is automated, you may hear back right away. For most loans, you may get a decision by the next business day. For education-related loans, you’ll likely hear a decision within three business days.
- Good customer support. You can contact the Upstart customer service team via email, online chat or over the phone.
What to look out for
- Late fees. Upstart charges a late fee of $15 or 5% of the unpaid amount, whichever is greater.
- Origination fee. An origination fee of 0% to 8% of your total loan is deducted from your funds before you receive them.
- Non-sufficient funds fee. If your payment check bounces, you’ll be charged $15 per returned check.
- Low debt-to-income ratio required. Upstart accepts a max debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of 18%, while most lenders allow up to 30%.
- Debt consolidation may be difficult. While Upstart does offer debt consolidation loans, you might have a hard time meeting its DTI and credit score requirements.
Case study: Rhys’ experience
Keeping up on payments has been easy enough so far using Upstart’s autopay feature. The clean dashboard makes it easy to see how much I’ve paid off, how much is left and where I can edit my recurring payments.
As easy as it’s been to manage the loan, I’m looking forward to paying it off early — especially since I won’t have to pay any extra fees.
Compare more online personal loan options
How much will I pay for a personal loan through Upstart?
How much you pay will depend on how much you borrow. Depending on your state, you may have to meet a higher minimum amount, like $6,000 in Ohio or $7,000 in Massachusetts. It’s important to completely read the terms of a loan contract before agreeing to it. Doing so will help avoid any surprising fees down the road, and guarantee you know exactly what you will be paying every month.
Upstart charges a 0% to 8% of the loan amount as an origination fee. Late fees are either $15 or 5% of the late payment amount.
When you’re repaying your loan, keep in mind that you can make early repayments without incurring any fees or penalties.
Is Upstart legit?
Yes, Upstart is a legitimate lending platform. Although Upstart is available in almost every state as well as Washington, DC, the specific loan terms and fees will vary by your state of residence.
As of November 2018, Upstart gets a 9.9/10 Trustpilot rating based on over 1,700 reviews.
Is it safe to apply with Upstart?
Yes. BBB accredited since 2015, Upstart has an A+ rating. Upstart employs several protocols to make sure your information and money is safe online.
- FDIC insured. Loans are funded by Cross River Bank, an FDIC-insured New Jersey–chartered commercial bank.
- Site encryption. Upstart encrypts personal and banking information on its website so no information is exposed, even if compromised by an outsider.
How to apply for a personal loan through Upstart
To apply for an Upstart personal loan, you’ll need to meet a few eligibility requirements.
- Have a credit score of at least 620.
- Have a regular source of income or an offer of employment that starts within 180 days.
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident.
- Must not be a resident of West Virginia or Iowa.
- Meet your state’s minimum age requirement.
During the application process, you’ll need to provide:
- Your full name and contact information.
- Proof of a government-issued ID, like a driver’s license or passport.
- Your Social Security number and date of birth.
- Your employment status and income.
- Your bank account details.
You may also need to provide your college transcript, SAT scores and employment pay stubs.
The story of Upstart
In 2012, Dave Girouard left his job as President of Enterprise at Alphabet Inc. to found Upstart with a team of former Google employees. He decided to build a platform that would forego the traditional means of evaluating credit by considering things like education and location.
As you might expect, Upstart has placed a strong emphasis on creating technology to streamline the application process and employs more data scientists than underwriters. It’s a constant work in progress because its software is constantly learning from customer’s behaviors. But this means that over one-third of Upstart loans get instant approval.
Upstart loans could be particularly useful to a borrower who has higher education a history of repaying debt on time but can’t seem to get top rates elsewhere. It’s also hard to beat when it comes to speed. But rates and terms for Upstart loans can vary greatly, and though it boasts fast approval, you still aren’t guaranteed a loan. You should always read up on your options before making a decision, and if possible, compare similar lenders to see where you can find the best deal.
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