With so many direct lenders around, it could get overwhelming to choose one. Thus, this Upgrade personal loans review will provide you the essential information you need in order to consider getting one from this lending company.
In the United States, personal loans continue to rise. In fact, according to the Chamber of Commerce, the total outstanding personal loan debt in the country is $143 billion, while there are 21.1 million outstanding personal loans.
Personal loans continue to be one of the major types of loans with the highest number of borrowers, needless to say, the amount of money disbursed.
Furthermore, in a report by The Washington Post, based on data from Equifax, personal loans in the country are up more than 10% compared to 2018.
The increase in the number of Americans getting personal loans is quite a surprise among experts especially at a time when “the economy looks healthy and paychecks are growing for many workers”.
However, some experts believe that the “rapid growth in personal loans in recent years has coincided with a FinTech explosion of apps and websites that have made obtaining these loans an easy process that can be done from the comfort of one’s living room.”
More so, the report says that according to TransUnion, “FinTech companies account for nearly 40 percent of personal loan balances, up from just 5 percent in 2013.”
While there could be a number of probable reasons why there is a rapid increase in personal loans in the country, as mentioned, one of the factors that experts look at is the birth of financial technology companies wherein Upgrade is one of them.
Yes, Upgrade is an online direct lending company, which means, people, can easily borrow money anytime, anywhere they want to. Since we are talking about personal loans, it means, people can use it for almost anything –
So, as the title implies, we are going to particularly check out what Upgrade has to offer particularly when it comes to personal loans.
To help you understand better and learn more about the lending company, in this Upgrade personal loans review, we are going to particularly answer some of borrowers’ most commonly asked questions, which include the following:
- Who is Upgrade?
- What are the personal loans offered by Upgrade?
- What do borrowers need to know about Upgrade personal loans?
- How to qualify for an Upgrade personal loan?
- How to apply for an Upgrade personal loan?
- What are the pros and cons of Upgrade personal loans?
WHO IS UPGRADE?
Based in San Francisco, California, Upgrade is a direct online lending company that was launched in 2017.
The company offers personal loans, as well as a line of credit, which is known as the Upgrade Card.
Apart from the company’s headquarter in San Francisco, Upgrade also has offices in Montreal, Phoenix, as well as in Chicago.
Since its inception, as stated on its website, Upgrade has already received loan applications from more than 10 million people. If you come to think of it, that’s a huge number given the fact that the company has only been around for almost three years.
There have been over $3 billion in loans issued already from Upgrade’s partners including Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Blue Ridge Bank, and Cross River Bank.
While Upgrade is a good choice among those with good credit, it may also be an ideal choice for those with fair credit scores as the lending company has a low borrowing minimum. However, as a general rule, borrowers with fair or not-so-perfect credit scores are likely to be charged with a higher annual percentage rate (APR), a couple of fees, as well as a lower maximum loan amount.
Furthermore, Upgrade makes sure to live by its mission to reduce fees through its low-cost credit products. Also, Upgrade strives to help educate customers about their finances by offering education alongside credit monitoring. Both may help consumers improve their credit scores as time goes by.
Apart from loan products and services, Upgrade envisions of offering mobile banking services in the future.
Before we proceed with our Upgrade personal loans review, here’s one from The Smart Investor, which we thought is very insightful and might be very helpful for you as well. Click the play button below to watch the whole thing:
WHAT ARE THE PERSONAL LOANS OFFERED BY UPGRADE?
When looking for a lending company to borrow funds from, it is important to take into consideration learning about the loans it offers. In this case, the type of personal loans Upgrade offers.
At the moment, Upgrade is only offering two types of personal loans. One is fixed-rate personal loans, and the other is personal lines of credit.
For reference of those who hardly know what these are, here’s a brief explanation:
- Fixed-Rate Personal Loans – This refers to a loan where the interest rate does not change on the whole duration of the loan. Unlike variable-rate loans, this allows borrowers to accurately predict their payables.
- Personal Lines of Credit – This, meanwhile, refers to a loan that functions like that of a credit card as the borrower is given a specific loan amount of money that he or she can use for any purpose as needed.
WHAT DO BORROWERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT UPGRADE PERSONAL LOANS?
When getting a personal loan, there are a lot of factors that borrowers need to consider. It’s not as if you get a loan proposal and you just immediately sign because you badly need money. Although some do it that way (especially during desperate times), ideally, borrowers should shop and compare personal loan features.
Similar to other reviews we made, at this point in our Upgrade personal loans review, we are going to look into the following loan details to help you come up with an informed decision:
- Loan Amounts
- Interest Rates
- Loan Terms
- Loan Fees
- Co-Signer Option
- Disbursement of Funds
- Personal Loan Features
- Refinancing Options
First and foremost, borrowers need to have a specific amount in mind before shopping around for a lender. That way, they get to filter their search — only focusing on companies that cater to the amount they need.
With Upgrade, the online lending company offers personal loan amounts from $1,000 up to $35,000. While it’s not as huge as what other online lending companies offer, it still within the average loan amount that a lot of lenders offer these days.
Another important factor that borrowers need to consider when shopping and comparing options is the interest rate being charged by the lending company. This gives borrowers an idea of how much they will pay in the whole duration of the loan.
Similar to other lending companies, the APR charged by Upgrade to borrowers will depend on certain factors, particularly the borrower’s creditworthiness.
Depending on your qualifications, you may be charged a smaller or a higher fixed interest rate.
Upgrade charges fixed interest rates that range from 7.99% to 35.97%.
As mentioned, the company does not offer variable rate APR.
Loan terms, also known as repayment terms pertains to the duration of the loan or the time length when the borrower needs to pay off the loan.
With Upgrade personal loans, borrowers can repay the loan either for 36 months or 60 months.
For some borrowers, this factor may also be considered when deciding whether to borrow from the lending company they are eyeing for or not. Borrowers may compute and see if they can manage to pay off the loan either in 36 or 60 months.
Another factor that needs to be considered when borrowing money from lending companies is the fees involved.
With Upgrade, while it does not charge prepayment penalties, which means a borrower can fully pay the loan off even before the scheduled end date of the loan without being charged with a prepayment penalty, Upgrade does have a couple of other fees to watch out for. This includes the following:
- Origination Fee – The lending company charges an origination fee that ranges from 2.9% up to 8% for all personal loans.
- Late Payment Fee – The lending company charges $10 for late payments after a 15-day grace period.
Fortunately, Upgrade allows borrowers to have co-signers to their loan applications. However, borrowers need to ensure that their co-signers have good or excellent credit scores to ensure the approval of personal loan applications.
Disbursement of Funds
If you need access to borrowers’ funds right away, Upgrade might just be a good choice for you.
Once you have already chosen a personal loan offer and then, your application is approved, borrowers can expect funds to be disbursed by Upgrade within one business day only.
However, in some cases, it could take up to four business days before borrowers get to access the money.
Personal Loan Features
Just to keep everything clear and for your reference, Upgrade offers these particular personal loan features:
- Borrowers need to have good or excellent credit scores to get approved
- The lending company offers a personal loan of up to $35,000
- Upgrade has no hidden fees, which means whatever amount is handed to you, that’s it
- Upgrade personal loans can be used basically for almost anything and everything
- Unlike other lending companies, Upgrade is not available in all 50 states
For borrowers who are looking at a refinancing option with Upgrade, unfortunately, the lending company does not offer one. That means you may instead look for another provider if you badly need one.
HOW TO QUALIFY FOR AN UPGRADE PERSONAL LOAN?
To be honest, one of the most important information that a borrower must look into before anything else is the qualifications set by the lending company.
Knowing the requirements means being able to self-assess if you are going to get approved should you apply or not.
If you are planning to get a personal loan at Upgrade, you must ensure you get to meet the following requirements:
- Must have at least 620 credit score
- Must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident card holder
- Must be at least 18 years old in most states (or 19 in states with a higher minimum age requirement)
- Must have a valid email address
- Must own a verifiable bank account
- Must have at least $800 minimum monthly free cash flow
- A maximum debt-to-income ratio of 60%
In addition, although the company has no minimum annual income set, based on records, most of Upgrade personal loans applicants earn more than $30,000 a year.
Also, while Upgrade personal loans are available in most states in the U.S., it is not available for borrowers living in Iowa, Vermont, and West Virginia.
HOW TO APPLY FOR AN UPGRADE PERSONAL LOAN?
Upgrade provides an easy online loan application process, which includes the ability to check rates with a soft pull on your credit that won’t affect your credit score.
To begin the process, all you have to do is go to Upgrade website, and click the “Get Started” button wherein you will be asked to provide basic information such as the following:
- Date of Birth
- Individual Annual Income
- Additional Annual Income
You will also be asked to provide a valid email address and your preferred password as the system will automatically create your Upgrade account. By providing the above information, you get to check your credit line. Again, as mentioned, there is totally nothing to worry about as this won’t hurt your credit score.
By the way, for self-employed individuals, Upgrade may need more documentation from you, which may include but are not limited to the following documents:
- Two years of tax returns
- Form 1040 Schedule C
- Recent bank statement(s)
Also, please note that by checking your credit line and creating an account with Upgrade, it is not tantamount to an obligation to accept a loan.
Once you are provided with loan options such as your maximum loan amount and interest rate, you can either push through with the loan application or decline.
If you are happy with the loan options provided, you may proceed by selecting an offer, which also means, Upgrade will be allowed to conduct a hard inquiry on your credit to fully process your loan application.
Please note that the hard inquiry will temporarily impact your credit score. Depending on your case, the company may ask for additional information or documentation.
Now, once done with the inquiry, the lending company will then proceed with a decision for your loan application. If approved, you will then have to review and accept your loan, as well as sign necessary loan documents.
As mentioned earlier, once your loan application is approved, expect your funds to be disbursed electronically to your bank account of choice within one up to four business days.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF UPGRADE PERSONAL LOANS?
Similar to other reviews we made in different lending companies in the past, this Upgrade personal loans review will not be complete without us tacking the pros and cons of getting an Upgrade personal loan.
This, we hope, will help borrowers have clarity when it comes to what to expect on Upgrade’s personal loans, at the same time, be able to make an informed decision in the end.
Having said that, below are some of the major thing to like and not to like about Upgrade personal loans:
- Payment Flexibility – The lending company lets borrowers change the payment date to fit their monthly budget, which is not common among other lenders.
- Allows Co-Signers – Upgrade lets borrowers apply for a personal loan with a co-signer provided that the co-signer has a good or excellent credit score to ensure approval of the loan. The general rule when it comes to lending applies to have a co-signer, which means if your co-signer does have a good credit score, the likely you are to have a better interest rate. Unfortunately, co-signers are for personal loans only. It does not apply for personal lines of credit applicants.
- Prequalification Option – Unlike other online lending companies, Upgrade does provide a prequalification process, which allows borrowers to check rates and loan amounts. It conducts a soft pull on the borrower’s credit, which does not impact his or her credit score at all.
- Quick Disbursement of Funds – Similar to a lot of online lending companies, Upgrade also provides funding for as soon as one business day after getting approved of a personal loan. Otherwise, expect to have access to the funds within four business days.
- Loans for Less-than-Perfect Credit – Although Upgrade is known to provide loans for a good or excellent credit score, the company is also ideal for borrowers with not so perfect credit. Although of course, having such credit standing means a higher interest rate.
- Fees – Although Upgrade does not charge prepayment penalties, it does charge origination (amounting to 2.9% to 8%) and late fees ($10).
- Less Competitive APR – To be honest, other online lending companies do have better APR as compared to what Upgrade offers. Upgrade charges 7.99% to 35.97% APR depending on your creditworthiness.
- Average Loan Amount – Upgrade offers personal loans of up to $35,000 only, which means, if you need more than that, you may need to find other options.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON UPGRADE PERSONAL LOANS REVIEW
Upgrade is an online lender that provides fairly affordable personal loans as well as lines of credit to consumers who have decent credit scores or even way better. However, Upgrade may or may not be the best option depending on your needs.
As you know by now, we have provided some of the things we like and we do not like about Upgrade, which means, based on that list, it shows that it may or may not fit certain types of borrowers.
As we always say, ideally, it is always best for borrowers to shop and look around and compare before deciding where to borrow money from to be able to get the best deals possible.
With Upgrade, based on the information we shared, we thought it’s best for people with good or excellent credit scores who need money worth not more than $35,000. Otherwise, other lending company may be ideal for you.
How about you? How do you find Upgrade? Did it meet your expectations?