Upgrade Personal Loans Review

Kailey is an industry specialist covering bank accounts, credit cards, and all things personal finance. Her work has appeared on USA Today, CNN Money, Fox Business, and MSN Money.

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With low minimum and high maximum loan amounts, Upgrade offers fixed-rate personal loans to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit. It also has a rare option to lower your interest rate by using your vehicle as collateral. Keep reading to learn more about its loan terms, fees, and qualification requirements to decide if Upgrade is the right lender for you.

Ratings Methodology
Lending Partner Best For Min. Credit Score Loan Amounts APR Range

Upgrade

Best For:

Very small or very large loans

Min. Credit Score:

620

Loan Amounts:

$1k - $50k

APR Range:

6.98%-35.89%

Top perks

Borrow a range of amounts: Upgrade enables you to borrow as little as $1,000 or as much as $50,000. There are only a few other personal loan providers with such a low minimum, so it's a good fit if you don't need large amounts of cash. Its maximum personal loan amount is also higher than many of its competitors, so it's a wise choice whether you need to borrow a little or a lot.

Check your rates without impacting your credit: You must provide your Social Security number to get a quote from Upgrade so it can check your credit, but it does a soft inquiry on your credit report which won't lower your credit score at all. This is ideal if you're not ready to commit to any single personal loan provider quite yet and want to shop around for the best deal.

Get your funds within one business day: Once your application is approved and your information verified, Upgrade will send the funds to the bank account you provided within one business day. However, it could take up to four business days for your bank to make your funds available to you, depending on how quickly it processes the transaction.

No prepayment fees: Upgrade does not charge you any additional fees if you choose to pay your loan back ahead of the three- or five-year repayment period you initially signed up for.

Discounts for autopay: Upgrade personal loan customers who enroll in autopay will receive a discount on their loan's interest rate, which can save them money over the lifetime of the loan.

Auto secured loans available: While collateral is not required on Upgrade personal loans, the lender gives some customers the opportunity to lower their interest rate or improve their odds of loan approval by offering their vehicle as collateral. If you choose to do this, Upgrade will consider the current value of your car when evaluating your application and it will require you to mail the company your car's title to finalize the loan. It's not an option everyone will be interested in, but it may appeal to those who are struggling to get a personal loan elsewhere without collateral.

What could be improved

Not available to residents of all states: Upgrade does not offer personal loans to residents of Iowa, Vermont, or West Virginia at this time. If you live in one of these states, you'll have to explore other options.

APRs can be very high: Individuals with poor credit could get saddled with an APR as high as 35.89%, which is very high. But many people will be offered much lower interest rates and you may be able to reduce yours by enrolling in autopay or offering your vehicle as collateral, as discussed above.

Origination fees: In addition to interest, you could pay as much as 6% of your loan's balance in origination fees. This amount is deducted from the loan proceeds. While Upgrade's origination fees aren't unusual, they can make borrowing money a little more expensive than you anticipated.

How to qualify for an Upgrade personal loan

In order to get approved for an Upgrade personal loan, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident
  • Be at least 18 years old (19 in some states)
  • Have a bank account where Upgrade can transfer the funds
  • Have a valid email address
  • Have some form of income

Beyond that, Upgrade doesn't have any stated rules. Like any personal loan company, it will look at your income, credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and whether you have any delinquencies on your record. The company typically sends its mailers to individuals with credit scores of 620 or above, according to a company representative, but it has accepted borrowers with lower credit scores. If you're unsure whether you qualify, you can use its online quote tool to check.

Application process

Upgrade's online quote form enables you to see how much you can borrow and what your rates would be without impacting your credit. It may give you several options to choose from. Once you've decided on an offer and accepted it, Upgrade will verify your application information and send you your funds within one business day after the verification is complete.

Alternatives to consider

It's always good practice to shop around before applying for any personal loan to make sure you're getting the best possible terms. Here are a couple of other lenders you may want to consider as well:

  • Upstart has similar qualification requirements to Upgrade, offering loans between $1,000 and $50,000 to borrowers with credit scores as low as 580 in some states. You can choose from three- or five-year repayment terms.
  • SoFi offers personal loans between $5,000 and $100,000 with no origination fees or late fees. Borrowers should have a credit score of 660 or more.

This personal loan is right for you if:

Upgrade is worth considering if any of the following apply to you:

  • You need to borrow small amounts of money (under $5,000) or large amounts of money (over $35,000).
  • You want a personal loan and your credit isn't great.
  • You're interested in using your vehicle as collateral to lower your interest rate.
  • You don't want to get penalized for paying your personal loan off early.

If you're interested, you can get a quote on Upgrade's website. Compare that to a few other personal loan providers and then decide which one gives you the best deal based on its rates, fees, and loan terms.

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