Upstart Loan Review
Posted May 21, 2018 2:45 p.m. EDT
Updated May 22, 2018 6:00 p.m. EDT
What is Upstart?
[UpstartPL]Upstart[/UpstartPL] was founded in 2012 by “ex-Googlers” who wanted a system that could grant fair and fast personal loans for consumers. Together, they wanted to provide young adults who might not have a lengthy credit history a way to reduce their debt burdens. During the beginning stages, Upstart began targeting recent graduates but has become a lender that offers loans to just about anyone.
Upstart is the first lending platform to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to price credit and automate the borrowing process. The company uses an algorithm to determine creditworthiness based on education, career, job history and standardized test scores.
Upstart’s lending platform launched in 2012. Since Upstart’s inception, the business has received $1.8 billion in loan originations and 4x growth in 2017 alone.
Upstart personal loan highlights
- Check your rate in 2 minutes: Upstart has a quick online quote process where you can answer a few questions and get an instant quote on your rate in around two minutes.
- Qualify based on factors other than credit: Aside from your credit score, Upstart will take into consideration your education and employment when making a loan decision.
- [UpstartPrepayFee]No prepayment fee: Upstart does not charge a fee if you pay off your loan early.[/UpstartPrepayFee]
- There may be an origination fee: [UpstartOrgFee]The origination fee for an Upstart loan can be anywhere from 0% to 8% of the target amount.[/UpstartOrgFee]
Minimum Credit ScoreTerms36 to 60
monthsFees 0.00% - 8.00%
on Upstart’s secure website
Upstart’s initial focus was to help recent graduates that were struggling with debt, but they have expanded to provide options for those with strong credit profiles as well. They have a unique algorithm that takes into account things such as education, career, job history, and standardized test scores, but you will still need a minimum FICO score of 640.Upstart personal loan details
Fees and penalties
Upstart offers fixed-rate loans, but the loan interest rate depends on the borrower’s education, credentials, work history and credit score. Your loan can be used for a wide variety of purposes including (but not limited to) paying off credit card debt, paying off student loan debt, medical bills, travel, starting a business or paying for college or grad school.
Borrowers can even use Upstart loan funds to attend a coding boot camp. Upstart supports funding for a few coding boot camps (see the full list here) so if the applicant is accepted, they won’t need to possess a 4-year degree or have a job offer.
If you already have an Upstart loan and you’d like to apply for an additional loan, you’ll need to meet the following qualifications:
- Made on-time and consecutive monthly payments for the past six months
- Have no more than one outstanding loan through Upstart at the time of application
- Have no more than $50,000 of outstanding principal at the time the loan originates
In order to receive your loan funds, you must add and verify a personal bank account in your name. From there, you need to disburse the funds from your checking account so you can spend as needed. This may be an inconvenience for people looking to consolidate their debt by applying loan funds directly to the creditor or business owners looking to deposit the funds automatically to their business account.
For example, if you’re receiving a large lump-sum loan to cover the cost of college tuition for the semester, you have to have the discipline to make sure the payment goes directly to the school and you avoid spending part of the money on another expense.
Speaking of Upstart loans that are being used for educational purposes only, keep in mind that there is an additional three-day business period between when you accept your loan and when you will receive the funds.
For loans intended for other funding purposes, Upstart will usually grant funds by the following business day.
- [UpstartCreditScore]Minimum credit score: 620 FICO or Vantage score[/UpstartCreditScore]
- Minimum credit history: Not provided
- Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not provided
While Upstart’s website doesn’t get into too much detail about the debt-to-income ratio or minimum credit history requirements, we do know that the company does check how much debt you have in relation to the income you receive.
You must not have any bankruptcies or public records on your report in order to qualify for a loan. You also can’t have any accounts currently in collections or delinquent. You must have fewer than six inquiries on your credit report in the last six months not including inquiries related to student loans, vehicle loans or mortgages. You must also not be residing in West Virginia.
Other qualifications include:
- Minimum age of 18
- U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Valid email account
- Able to verify name, date or birth, Social Security number
- Have a full-time job, full-time job offer starting within 6 months, a steady part-time job or other source of regular income
- Have a U.S. bank account
While [UpstartLoanAmt]Upstart’s website states clearly that you can borrow between $1,000 and $50,000,[/UpstartLoanAmt] when you read the fine print, you’ll notice there are a few state-specific minimum loan amounts. The three state limitations are shown below.
Applying for a personal loan from Upstart
Upstart’s personal loan application process is set up to be simple and quick. You’ll start by submitting a rate inquiry on Upstart’s website. Just click on the “Check Your Rate” button in the center of the page. This takes only a few minutes and you’ll answer some basic questions.
If you accept your rate, you’ll be prompted to complete an online application which includes verifying your bank account and uploading some supporting documents. Some documents may include verifying your employment and work experience or your academic credentials. Your credit information will also need to be verified during the application process.
Once your application is approved, you will be asked to review final disclosures and sign a promissory note.
From there, you can receive your loan funds the following business day if you accept your loan before 5 p.m. EST Monday – Friday. If you accept your loan after 5 p.m. EST Monday – Friday, you will receive your loan funds two business days later.
Borrowers can set up easy and automatic monthly payments, and even pay their loan off early without penalty.Pros and cons of an Upstart personal loan
Who’s the best fit for an Upstart personal loan?
Upstart is a reasonable solution for those in their 20s or college grads who are having a difficult time obtaining a personal loan elsewhere. The process is convenient and can be solely completed online. Upstart can also be a solid option for borrowers who haven’t developed a strong credit history.
[UpstartCreditScore]You’ll need a minimum credit score of 620[/UpstartCreditScore] to meet the credit qualification, but you can also strengthen your application with your employment status, job history and academics. While Upstart’s interest rates are competitive with other peer-to-peer lending companies, other competitors rely heavily on credit to approve applicants while Upstart doesn’t.
Upstart would also be the best option if you’re looking for funding to attend a coding bootcamp since eligibility requirements are very lenient.
Lastly, if you meet the eligibility requirements and need a loan quickly, you can have funds in your personal account by the next day. If you need funds to help you pay off debt or finance a large purchase, and can comfortably pay back the loan within five years or less, Upstart’s personal loan is a good fit.
Alternative Personal Loan Options
Not quite sure about Upstart, or just want to check out some alternatives before making your decision? MagnifyMoney, a LendingTree company, is a great place to shop for offers from several personal loan lenders at once. Check out our guide to getting the best personal loan rates. While shopping around and comparing other loan options, be sure to consider these alternatives.
LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lending platform, which means borrowers receive funds from individual or institutional investors. [LendingClubAPR]Interest rates range from 5.98% and 35.89% APR[/LendingClubAPR] and [LendingClubLoanAmt]you can borrow up to $40,000.[/LendingClubLoanAmt] If you have good credit, you may be able to qualify for a lower interest rate that Upstart can’t offer. [LendingClubInq]You can also check your rate without adding a hard inquiry to your credit profile so you can see what you’d qualify for.[/LendingClubInq]APR5.98%To35.89%Credit Req.600
Minimum Credit ScoreTerms36 or 60
monthsFees 1.00% - 6.00%
on Lending Club’s secure website
LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates and approvals for people with credit scores in the mid-600s. The loan application process is online and only takes a few minutes to complete and you can check your interest rate without hurting your credit. The loan processing time can take a while and you might not get approved if you have missed payments in the past.LendingClub is not available in Iowa and West Virginia
Earnest is a personal loan lender [EarnestAPR]offering fixed-rate loans starting at 5.49% APR.[/EarnestAPR] With Earnest, [EarnestLoanAmt]you can borrow between $5,000 and $75,000[/EarnestLoanAmt] on [EarnestTerm]a 3-, 4- or 5-year term.[/EarnestTerm] [EarnestSLOrgFee]There are no hidden fees[/EarnestSLOrgFee] associated with this personal loan and it’s offered in most states except Nevada, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Delaware and Alabama. Similar to Upstart, Earnest considers your employment history, education, and salary when considering you for a loan. [EarnestCreditScore]You will need a minimum credit score of 660[/EarnestCreditScore] to qualify but again, a good credit score could qualify you for a lower interest rate that Upstart doesn’t offer.APR5.49%To18.24%Credit Req.660
Minimum Credit ScoreTerms36 to 60
monthsFees No origination fee
on Earnest’s secure website
Instead of offering credit-based loans, Earnest has taken a very non-traditional approach and used a merit-based system. This is great for recent graduates and those that are just beginning to establish credit. In addition, they offer some of the most flexible terms among all personal loan lenders, allowing for borrowers to get a customized loan and repayment plan that fits their financial situation.
Peerform [PeerformCreditScore]offers personal loans to borrowers with a minimum credit score of 600.[/PeerformCreditScore] This could be a worthy alternative if you don’t think you’ll meet the credit score requirements to qualify for a loan with Upstart. [PeerformAPR]Peerform’s interest rates range from 5.99% to 29.99%,[/PeerformAPR] and [PeerformLoanAmt]you can borrow up to $25,000.[/PeerformLoanAmt] The [PeerformTerm]maximum repayment terms are 3 or 5 years,[/PeerformTerm] and [PeerformOrgFee]loans have a 1% to 5% origination fee.[/PeerformOrgFee]APR5.99%To29.99%Credit Req.600
Minimum Credit ScoreTerms36 or 60
monthsFees 1.00% - 5.00%
on Peerform’s secure website
Even with a credit score of 600, you still might be able to secure a loan through Peerform. This peer-to-peer lender gives you a customized grade based on your credit score, allowing for you to easily see the rate that you can obtain. While Peerform is great for those with less than stellar credit, you more than likely will be able to find better rates elsewhere.