Upstart Personal Loans Review: Low Fees, Awesome Rates

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Upstart offers some of the best and cheapest personal loans on the market due to how it employs Artificial Intelligence and Alternative Data to qualify consumers for loans.

Upstarts transparency, fast funding times, and straightforward qualification criteria are just a few of the reasons why millions of Americans rely on this service for a new personal loan.

Read our Upstart Personal Loans Review to see if they have what you need. We cover the details you need to know.

Best Overall Personal Loan
Upstart Personal Loans Review
Upstart Personal Loans
  • Loan Amount
    $1,000 - $50,000
  • Est. APR
    5.38% - 35.99%
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

Upstart Personal Loans Pros and Cons


  • You will not be charged prepayment penalties
  • Upstart will only make inquiries on your credit report when the application is finalized
  • Your credit score is not the only factor that is considered for the loan to be approved. Other factors are taken into consideration as well.
  • Your rate can be checked without making a hard credit inquiry
  • Even if you are not employed full-time, or you don’t have a part-time job, you can still be approved for the loan as long as you have a source of regular income
  • You can get a loan if you have a low credit score; you may be eligible for an upstart loan with no credit history or if your credit score is at least 580
  • For borrowers who are consolidating debt, Upstart pays creditors directly
  • You can receive the loan funds within 24 to 48 hours


  • Upstart charges high origination fees (up to 8% of the loan amount)
  • Does not offer borrowers an autopay discount
  • If you are 15 days or more past your payment due date, they may charge you a 5% late fee of the balance due, or $15, whichever is higher
  • Co-signers are not allowed
  • Their upper-range interest rate is high
  • Not available to people who live in Iowa or West Virginia

How Do Upstart Personal Loans Work?

Upstart provides unsecured personal loans that start from as little as $1,000 to as much as $50,000, with a term of 3 to 5 years.

Upstart only conducts a soft credit inquiry, meaning borrowers can check their interest rate online, and their credit score will not be affected.

To get the loan, you simply apply online. The application is usually approved or denied within 24 to 48 hours.

Once approved, you can receive the money directly, or if you are consolidating debt, the money will be paid to your creditors directly. Borrowers typically receive the loan funds within 48 hours.

Upstart Personal Loans Features and Benefits

Low, Low Rates

Upstart’s interest rates range between 5.38% and 35.99%. When compared to other lenders, this range is fairly large. This is because they accept alternative data to qualify consumers for a personal loan.

Transparent Process

Upstart’s application and funding process are transparent. You will find all the rates, terms, and applicable fees on their website.

No Prepayment Penalty

Because Upstart loans do not have a prepayment penalty, it is possible to repay the loan amount early. Borrowers can make more payments to reduce the principal loan amount, saving money in the long run.

Direct Payments to Creditors

To make the debt consolidation process easier, Upstart will send your loan funds directly to your creditors.

Quick Funding Time (Next Day)

The majority of the time, borrowers receive their funds within one business day.

Revolutionized Underwriting Model

To give bad and fair-credit borrowers a chance to qualify for a loan at a low rate, Upstart underwrites loans through the use of artificial intelligence and alternative data.

Checking Rate Doesn’t Hurt Your Credit Score

With an Upstart loan, borrowers can check their rate without hurting their credit score. So, you can submit basic information and receive a quoted loan rate without affecting your credit score.

What Can Upstart Personal Loans be Used For?

Upstart personal loans are useful for:

  • Paying off credit cards
  • Paying medical bills
  • Paying off student loans
  • Starting or growing a business
  • Making a big purchase
  • Moving to another city or state
  • Financing a home improvement project
  • Traveling

How to Qualify for an Upstart Loan

You must meet the borrower and credit eligibility requirements below to qualify for an Upstart loan:

  • You must be a citizen of the United States or a U.S. permanent resident with a social security number that is verifiable
  • You must not be a resident of West Virginia or Iowa
  • You must be 18 years or older, or 19 years and above if you live in Nebraska or Alabama
  • You must have a consistent source of income
  • You must also have a personal U.S. bank account and a valid email address

How to Apply for an Upstart Personal Loan

To apply for an Upstart loan, you go to Upstart’s website and fill out their online application form.

You will need to provide information such as the amount you want to borrow, your level of education, estimated credit score, the main source of income, residential details, and personal information like your full name and date of birth and your financial information.

Applications are normally approved or denied within 48 hours of submitting the application.

If approved, you will be given an estimated rate, including your origination fee, interest rate, and other relevant details of your potential loan. The estimated rate should be the one that helps you to decide if you want to proceed to get the loan.

Before getting the official rate, Upstart requires more significant information that a real person (underwriter) will analyze. At this stage, you will be requested to furnish all the necessary documentation which verifies the details you will have provided earlier.

A soft pull will also be done by Upstart on your credit. If your application is accepted, you will be given a real loan offer that you must accept for your loan to be funded.

The time between application and funding is typically less than a week. You can receive the estimated quote in a matter of minutes. The underwriter usually takes no more than 48 hours to decide, and you will receive the funds within one business day.

Upstart Personal Loan Fees Explained

Upstart loan interest rates range from 6.95% and 35.99%. The loan can also include an origination fee of as much as 8%, a late payment fee (5% late fee of the balance due, or $15, whichever is higher), a once-off $10 fee to get paper as opposed to electronic copies of your records and an ACH return or returned check fee of $15.

How Do Upstart Personal Loans Compare to Other Lenders?

#1. Upstart vs. Payoff

Whereas Payoff provides personal loans only for credit card consolidation, you can use an Upstart loan for any purpose.

So, if you want to use the loan funds for other purposes, such as paying off your student loan or making a big purchase, you should opt for an Upstart loan.

To get a Payoff loan, your credit score must be at least 640, and you must have a maximum 50% debt-to-income ratio, but with an Upstart loan, you can get approved with a credit score of 580.

Payoff loan amounts range between $5,000 and $40,000, whilst Upstart loan amounts range between $1,000 and $50,000.

>> More: Payoff Personal Loans Review

#2. Upgrade vs. Upstart

Upgrade and Upstart offer similar loan amounts, and their credit requirements, fees, and interest rates are also the same.

They both charge borrowers an origination fee of up to 8%. What differentiates Upgrade from Upstart is that Upgrade has a 2-7 years term length and a minimum credit score of 620.

And, with Upgrade, you can defer two payments, make partial payments, or even adjust your due date.

>> More: Upgrade Personal Loans Review

#3. Best Egg vs. Upstart

Best Egg Personal Loans are the best option for consumers who earn a high income. Their rates are lower than Upstart’s rates.

The minimum credit score that is required to get a Best Egg loan is 640, and they also require a credit history of about 7 years. As such, if you don’t have a credit history or your credit history is short, it is best to go for an Upstart loan.

Best Egg’s APR range is 5.99% – 29.99%, loan amounts range between $2,000 and $35,000, and the loan term is 3 to 5 years.

>> More: Best Egg Personal Loans Review

What Is Upstart?

Upstart is an online loan marketplace that connects borrowers and investors. In other words, it is an online platform that brings together people who need a personal loan and those who have money and want to invest it.

Upstart stands out from conventional lenders because of its use of artificial intelligence to match lenders with those who want to borrow money.

On this online lending platform, Upstart determines whether you are eligible for the loan, determines the applicable rates and fees, pays out the loan, collects the payments made by borrowers, and distributes payments to the investors.

The main benefit of the artificial intelligence (AI) process is that it allows borrowers with low credit scores to get approved.

What Credit Score is Needed for an Upstart Personal Loan?

Although Upstart requires a credit score of 600, if you have a high level of education, a good job, or a high income, they may allow a credit score of 580.

You can also get a loan with no credit history, but factors such as employment and level of education will be considered when underwriting your loan.

How Long Does Upstart Approval Take?

It usually takes not more than 48 hours to be approved, and you will receive the funds within one business day.

Is Upstart a Payday Loan?

No, an Upstart loan is not a payday loan. A payday loan is a short-term loan that must be paid back in full by the next paycheck with very high-interest rates.

On the other hand, an Upstart loan is an installment loan with a payment term of 3 to 5 years.

The APR for online payday loans ranges from 391% to 521%, whereas the APR range for an Upstart loan ranges between 6.95% and 35.99%.

Bottom Line: Upstart Personal Loans Review

Upstart is an online lending platform which links prospective borrowers with investors interested in funding personal loans.

This loan is ideal for someone who has decent or good credit, with a stable job and/or a high level of education.

Although the rates are to some degree higher than most lenders, Upstart may be a good option for you if you are not eligible for other types of personal loans.

Meri Torres
Meri Torres

Meri B Torres is a former SimpleMoneyLyfe Writer with several years of experience and a deep business background. Holding a bachelors degree and MBA from New York University, Meri loves helping consumers make simple financial decisions and understanding the complex world of finance. Her areas of expertise are personal loans and credit cards.