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Upstart Loans Review: How It Leveled Up The Online Lending Game

One thing we can assure you — this Upstart loans review will provide you the essential information you need to be able to gauge whether it is the right online lending company for you or not.

Upstart loans review

In a 2019 report published by CNBC online, it says that personal loans in the United States increased to a record-breaking $138 billion that year. One of the reasons behind the surge, experts believe, is the advent of financial technology or more popularly known as fintech companies.

In the same report, it says that currently, fintect companies comprise 38 percent of their personal loan market, which is up from just 5 percent five years ago at the time according to data presented by TransUnion.

Well, fintech companies are known to be more convenient, easy, simple, needless to say, quick to provide cash. These factors definitely have triggered the rise of people using it to borrow money from instead of a typical financial institution like traditional banks and credit unions.


With almost everything going online, it’s expected already that online lending companies will be a hit. Well, given the factors we mentioned a while ago, who would not give in into that, right?

Now, as mentioned, there are a lot of online lending companies out there to choose from, and the number is expected to rise more in the coming years, which makes fintech really competitive. No wonder why fintech companies have their respective ways or ideas on how to make each of them attractable to borrowers.

One of the companies that we thought has managed to play the game right and made steps ahead from other online lending companies is Upstart. Having been built by founders who were once was part of the ever famous, phenomenal, Google, well, what do you expect, right? It got to be something really good.

Are you excited to know more about Upstart?

Well, hang in there as we are going to provide you some of the most essential information every borrower needs to know. In particular, we are going to provide answers to the following questions:

  • Who is Upstart?
  • What are the different personal loans offered by Upstart?
  • What do borrowers need to know about Upstart personal loans?
  • Who qualifies for an Upstart personal loan?
  • How to apply for an Upstart personal loan?
  • What are the pros and cons of Upstart personal loans?


We always say this, first and foremost, borrowers need to make time to get to know the lending company they are eyeing for before dealing with them. It is important to research about them, get to know them, so you get to establish how credible the company is, plus the reputation they have when it comes to the business or industry they’re in.

Learning about the lending company will also help build trust and confidence on the borrowers’ part, knowing that should he or she encounters unexpected circumstance during the life span of the loan, he or she is assured that the company has programs to help them up.

Anyway, having said that, here’s a short overview of who Upstart is and what the company does:

Upstart was founded in 2012 by former Google executives. With founders having such background, it is not surprising that Upstart leveled up its game in the online lending industry.

The company provided consumers a unique experience being the first-ever online lending platform to use artificial intelligence to automate the whole lending process. Upstart goes the extra mile to offer loan products and services to a wider range of consumers.

Since the birth of the company, Upstart has already originated $3.2 billion in loans, and that 60 percent of which have been automated.

Furthermore, while other online lenders or even traditional lending companies focus on the borrower’s FICO score when approving a personal loan application, Upstart, meanwhile, uses their advanced technology to look way beyond the borrower’s credit score in quantifying the risk involved.

Based on the calculations, the company believes that lenders using a more intuitive credit model may be able to approve twice as many borrowers without having increased defaults, which is the usual concern among lenders.

As with consumers, Upstart was able to offer high-quality personal loan options that come with low rates as well as fair terms particularly to borrowers with unattractive credit.

To date, Upstart has earned mostly good reviews from its users. Well, with so much promise based on the information we provided so far, having good reviews is not surprising at all.

Now, before we continue with our Upstart loans review, here’s one from How To Get An 800 Credit Score LLC, which we thought is an informative resource you may want to check:


One feature that keeps Upstart ahead, rather set apart from its competitors is its borrowing flexibility.

According to Upstart, as advertised, their personal loans can be used for any occasion. Some of which are as follows:

  • Pay off credit cards
  • Start or expand a business
  • Pay medical bills
  • Make a large purchase
  • Relocate
  • Travel
  • Athletic training
  • Make home improvements
  • Other

In addition, borrowers can also use an Upstart personal loan to cover educational expenses (pay for college or graduate school, take a course or boot camp) as well as in paying off existing student loans. This feature, however, is not applicable in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Washington, or Washington, D.C.


By now, you already know what Upstart is all about and the personal loans it offers. At this point in our Upstart loans review, we are going to look deeper into the details.

In particular, let’s get to the following one by one:

  • Loan Amounts
  • Interest Rates
  • Loan Terms
  • Loan Fees
  • Disbursement of Funds
  • Personal Loan Features
  • Refinancing Options

Loan Amounts

Before anything else, borrowers need to determine how much they actually need. Next, is to check the lending company they are eyeing for if the amount they have in mind is within the range of the lender’s loan amounts. Doing this will definitely help trim down your options, needless to say, will help save time and energy.

Anyway, for Upstart, the lending company provides personal loans to borrowers amounting from $1,000 up to $50,000.

Considering that many other lenders usually lend up to around $30,000 only, Upstart’s loan amount range is definitely ideal for people who need a larger amount of cash.

Interest Rates

When deciding where to borrow money from, another important consideration that a borrower needs to look into is the annual percentage rate for the loan. The APR varies from one lending company to another, so, it’s best to really shop around and compare.

With Upstart, the company provides fixed interest rates ranging from 8.13% up to 35.99%. Of course, as a general rule, the APR will depend on the qualification of the borrower. The more attractive your credit records are the better rates. Otherwise, the higher the rates will be charged.

Unfortunately, as of June 2020, Upstart does not offer variable rate loans to borrowers.

Loan Terms

Loan terms refer to the length of time you are required to pay off the loan. Lending companies have varying loan terms.

As for Upstart, repayment terms come in two options — three years and five years.

If you are a borrower, consider this factor as well before applying for a personal loan at Upstart. If you think you are capable to pay off the loan within the above-mentioned terms, then, go ahead and submit your loan application. Otherwise, if you think you cannot afford to repay the loan in 3 to 5 years, then consider other lenders out there.

Loan Fees

While there are a lot of good things about Upstart, as the saying goes, nothing is perfect.

When it comes to fees, this probably is where Upstart is beat by its competitors.

Getting a personal loan through Upstart may come with a few fees attached, which borrowers need to be prepared of.

The potential costs include the following:

Origination Fee – Unlike other online lending companies, Upstart charges an origination fee that ranges between 0% and 8% of the loan amount. The fee will come directly out of your loan proceeds. So, better take that into consideration when deciding the loan amount you are going to borrow.

Late Payment Fee – Upstart charges 5% of the monthly past-due balance or $15, whichever is greater. Late fee is charged to your account once you are more than 10 days past your payment due date.

ACH Return or Check Refund Fee – The company charges $15 for ACH or check returned due to insufficient funds. Take note that Upstart considers each payment attempt to be a separate transaction, which means you will be charged $15 each time your payment fails.

Paper Copies – If you prefer paper copies of your records, you will be charged a one-time fee of $10.

The good thing though is, if you wish to pay off the loan sooner than expected, you can definitely do so without being charged with a prepayment penalty.

Disbursement of Funds

Do you need the money as soon as possible?

If your answer is yes, then Upstart may be the right online lending company for you. The company is a good fit for those who need fast access to the money they borrow.

According to Upstart, 99% of the company’s approved loan applicants receive their loan proceeds as soon as one business day after accepting their loans.

For the fast funding to be possible though, borrowers need to accept their loan by 5 pm EST, except on weekends and holidays.

Meanwhile, if you plan to use the loaned amount for educational purposes, please note that there is a three business day waiting period as required by federal law.

Personal Loan Features

We figured there are three Upstart personal loan features that borrowers need to know. These are:

  • Online Application
  • Soft Initial Credit Inquiry
  • Second Loan

Online Application

Upstart is an all-online lending platform, which means there are no other ways to apply for a loan but online.

The online process, however, makes it easier for loan applicants as they can apply anywhere, anytime they want.

For borrowers who prefer loan applications done either over the phone or in-person, this may not work for you.

Soft Initial Credit Inquiry

Similar to most lenders, Upstart lets borrowers see if they prequalify for a loan, at the same time, check the possible rate through a soft credit inquiry process.

Do not worry as such a credit check will not affect your credit score. It will not appear on your credit reports at all.

Now, should you accept the rate and decide to continue on with an official application, the company will then perform a hard credit inquiry, which could potentially affect your credit score temporarily.

Second Loan

What’s nice about Upstart is that even if you already have an existing loan with them, you may still be able to acquire a second loan. However, to qualify for the second loan, you must be able to meet the following criteria:

  • The last six monthly payments you had must have been made on time.
  • You should have no more than one outstanding loan with Upstart.
  • The total of both the first and second loans should not be higher than $50,000.

Refinancing Options

As mentioned earlier, Upstart personal loans can be used for almost anything, which includes refinancing other debts.

However, Upstart specifically note that borrowers can use the loan proceeds only for the following reasons:

  • Paying off student loans
  • Paying off credit card debts


Knowing the qualifications set by Upstart is key to learn if you can apply for a personal loan is not.

Of course, this Upstart loan review will not be complete without us providing you with the right information.

To qualify for an Upstart personal loan, you must be able to meet the following requirements:

  • Must have a permanent street address in the U.S. (unless active duty military)
  • Live in a state other than West Virginia or Iowa
  • Must be at least 18 years old in most states or at least 19 in Alabama and Nebraska
  • Must have a valid email account, name, date of birth, and Social Security number
  • Must have a valid U.S. bank account
  • Must have at least 620 credit score (in most states)
  • Must earn an annual income amounting to at least $12,000
  • Must have a full-time job or offer starting in six months, a regular part-time job or another source of regular income
  • Should not have a recent bankruptcy or outstanding delinquencies

If you pass all the requirements set, then, it’s time to work on your loan application process.


Once you are ready to pursue a formal personal loan application with Upstart through its online platform, all you have to do is proceed to Upstart’s online portal.

You will have to first get “pre-qualified for a loan” through their interface. This can be done after the following information is submitted:

  • Name
  • Income
  • Employment details
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address

Once the system says you are prequalified, you may not decide whether you like the loan terms offered or not. Now, if you are happy with the terms, you may now proceed by completing the application process.

Additional information such as the following will be required:

  • Social Security number
  • Employment verification
  • Academic credentials
  • Bank statements

If the personal loan application is approved, you will immediately receive an instant notification verifying your new loan details. Upstart also provided an option for borrowers to have their loan funded with an automatic deposit in their bank accounts. Funds are disbursed as soon as the next business day.


This Upstart loans review will not be complete without our list of what to like and what not to like about the personal loans offered by Upstart.

Having said that, here’s what we found —


  • Borrowing Flexibility – Unlike some lenders that are restrictive when it comes to where borrowers can use the money, Upstart personal loans lets you spend your loan for almost anything.
  • No Prepayment Penalty – While some lenders charge prepayment penalties, Upstart lets you pay off the loan as soon as you can without having to worry about being charged with a prepayment penalty.
  • Fast Fund Disbursement – As stated by Upstart, 99% of their loan applicants were able to access the funds in just one business day after they have accepted their loans. However, those who are using the money for education-related expenses, as required by the federal law, funds will be disbursed after three business days.
  • Bigger Loan Amount – Upstart lets you borrow up to $50,000, which is definitely bigger as compared to other lenders out there.


  • Fees and Charges– While it does not charge prepayment penalties, Upstart comes with a lot of fees, which borrowers need to be prepared of.
  • No Secured or Co-Sign Option – Unfortunately, if you are looking at having a co-signer for the loan, Upstart does not have an option for that.
  • High Average APR for Three-Year Loan – APR for a three-year loan can go as high as 20%. The APR can in fact, equal to monthly payments of $35 per $1,000 you borrow.
  • High Maximum APR – Compared to other lenders that offer personal loans to fair credit borrowers, Upstart has a high maximum APR.


Surely, Upstart leveled up their game by being the first online lending platform to use artificial intelligence to automate the whole lending process. Needless to say, the company has definitely provided consumers a very convenient lending platform.

While there are a lot of things or features to like about Upstart personal loans, it does have its share of downsides, too, which is normal. Nothing is perfect, remember?

To end this Upstart loans review, we hope that you got all the information you need in order to come up with a final decision about getting a loan from Upstart or consider looking out elsewhere. Yes, the decision is all yours now.

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