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Upstart Personal Loans Review: Top Lender for a Range of Credit Scores

Review Updated March 17, 2023
Dana George
By: Dana George

Our Loans Expert

Nathan Alderman
Check IconFact Checked Nathan Alderman
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Whether you're consolidating debt or making a big purchase, Upstart's personal loans have got you covered -- and the credit score requirements are more flexible than those of some other lenders. Check out our in-depth Upstart personal loans review for this lender's advantages, drawbacks, and to find out if you should apply.

Logo for Upstart
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
Minimum Credit Score
Loan Amounts
$1,000 - $50,000
APR Range
6.70% - 35.99%
Term Length
36 or 60 months

Upstart has flexible credit requirements and offers loans as small as $1,000. Well qualified borrowers can get a very low rate. On the downside, Upstart charges fees, including an origination fee and a late fee.

  • Accepts borrowers with low credit scores
  • Wide range of loan amounts
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Payment grace period
  • High upper-range interest rate
  • High origination fees
  • No cosigner allowed

Full Upstart personal loans review

This personal loan is a good fit for: Borrowers with low or no credit score looking for a small loan.

Top perks

You can qualify with a low or no credit score: You don't need good credit to apply. Borrowers can apply for a loan with a FICO® Score of 300. Upstart also offers loans to people with no credit history -- it will take education and employment into account when underwriting your loan. But keep in mind that Upstart's loan interest rates will be higher if your credit score is low.

Wide range of loan options: Upstart personal loans range from $1,000 to $50,000. As such, it offers some of the best personal loans for people looking to borrow smaller amounts of money.

Next day funding: According to Upstart, 99% of the time, you should get your money within one business day. That means if you need money to cover an emergency expense, funds will be in your account quickly.

Repayment options: You have a choice of a three-year or five-year loan repayment term. The five-year term will keep your monthly payments lower, but the three-year term will save you money in the long run.

No prepayment penalty: If you want to pay Upstart personal loans off early, you can. Since Upstart loans have no prepayment penalty, you can make additional payments to reduce the loan principal. This will save you money long term.

Check your rate without impacting your credit score: Curious applicants can submit basic details and get a quoted loan rate without impacting their credit scores.

Payment grace period: If you don't make your loan payment by the due date, Upstart will send you a reminder. You won't be charged a late fee until your payment is 15 days late. That's in contrast to many lenders and credit card issuers who slap an automatic late fee on your account the day after you miss a payment. A grace period is a handy benefit, especially for borrowers who are working hard to get a handle on their finances. You want to get that payment in ASAP, though. On day 15 the late fee is 5% or $15 of your payment amount, whichever is greater.

What could be improved

High APRs: Upstart's upper end of its APR range is higher than some competitors. If you can only qualify for the higher APR, be aware the highest rate offered is one of the higher interest rates you'll find. Depending on your credit card, it's unlikely to help if you're looking to consolidate credit card debt.

Origination fees: Upstart charges an origination fee of 0% to 10% on its personal loans. This one-off fee is one of the highest origination fees. (Note: It will be factored into the APR you are quoted.) It's a good idea to prequalify for several lenders before making a final decision to ensure you find the best loan for you -- fees, interest rate, and all.

Cosigners not allowed: You will need to qualify on your own.

How does Upstart work?

Upstart is not a bank. It's an artificial intelligence lending platform started by former Google employees. It uses AI to make lending decisions, with the goal to approve more borrowers while helping lenders experience fewer losses.

To determine which borrowers are creditworthy, Upstart looks at many nontraditional variables that traditional lenders don't consider. For example, your education, the cost of living in your city, and even how you interact with your loan application. In contrast, traditional lenders are usually concerned with your FICO® Score, your debt-to-income ratio, and your assets. As a result, lending decisions are more accurate, it approves more applicants, and its borrowers default on their loans less often.

Leaning on AI doesn't make it risky for consumers. Since its inception, Upstart has worked with state and federal regulators to make sure its algorithms don't create unintended bias that could further harm disadvantaged groups of people.

Does it work? Upstart's data says yes. For instance, it approves 30% more Black applicants compared with traditional big bank lending models, and offers Black borrowers interest rates that are on average 11% lower.

How to qualify for an Upstart personal loan

Here are the minimum qualification requirements to get a personal loan with Upstart:

  • Upstart requires at least a 300 FICO® Score if you have a credit score at all. Anyone can apply, including people with no credit history.
  • Make sure your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is reasonable. In Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Vermont, your DTI needs to be 45% or lower. In all other states, Upstart allows a DTI up to 50%.
  • Your credit report should not show bankruptcy or adverse public records within the past year.
  • You may not have any delinquent accounts on your credit report.
  • You can't have more than six credit inquiries on your credit report in the last six months. A credit inquiry is an application for credit, like a credit card, loan, HELOC, or similar. Having several in a short space of time could show you're in over your head.

Application process

Upstart makes applying for a personal loan easy. Here's how it works:

  • Apply online. (Residents of West Virginia and Iowa are not eligible to apply.) Upstart loans conducts a soft credit check that will not impact your credit score.
  • Once you've submitted your basic info, Upstart uses factors like your credit score, debt, income, education, and work experience to determine your rate. The loan term could also affect your rate and the total amount you pay.
  • If you're satisfied with the terms, you can submit a full application. You can apply online, and you'll need to provide Upstart with basic information, including your Social Security number and some details about your academic background, career, and other creditors. Upstart then makes a hard inquiry to verify the accuracy of your financial information. This generally lowers your credit score by a very small amount.
  • Unless Upstart asks you to submit additional documents, you can expect a decision right away. Once the loan is approved, you may obtain your personal loan funds within one business day.

Alternatives to consider

You owe it to yourself to shop around before deciding on the right personal loan. Upstart isn't the best personal loan for everyone. Take a look at these other lenders before you make a final decision.

  • SoFi is a great option for people with good credit looking to borrow up to $100,000.
  • Marcus charges no extra fees -- ever. It accepts credit scores that are at least fair or average and offers repayment terms of three to six years.
  • Achieve is another good choice for those with an average credit score. In fact, you can qualify with fair or average credit.
As of Mar. 28, 2023
Min. Credit Score
Loan Amounts
APR Range
Next Steps
Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
$5,000 - $100,000
Fixed: 8.99%-23.43% APR (with all discounts)
Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
720 FICO
$3,500 - $40,000
6.99% - 24.99%
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
$5,000 - $50,000
7.99% - 35.99%

*SoFi Personal Loan Disclaimer

Fixed rates from 8.99% APR to 23.43% APR reflect the 0.25% autopay interest rate discount and a 0.25% direct deposit interest rate discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 03/06/23 and are subject to change without notice. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, and a variety of other factors.

Loan amounts range from $5,000– $100,000. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0%-6%, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive.

Autopay: The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.

Direct Deposit Discount: To be eligible to potentially receive an additional (0.25%) interest rate reduction for setting up direct deposit with a SoFi Checking and Savings account offered by SoFi Bank, N.A. or eligible cash management account offered by SoFi Securities, LLC (“Direct Deposit Account”), you must have an open Direct Deposit Account within 30 days of the funding of your Loan. Once eligible, you will receive this discount during periods in which you have enabled payroll direct deposits of at least $1,000/month to a Direct Deposit Account in accordance with SoFi’s reasonable procedures and requirements to be determined at SoFi’s sole discretion. This discount will be lost during periods in which SoFi determines you have turned off direct deposits to your Direct Deposit Account. You are not required to enroll in direct deposits to receive a Loan.

*Marcus by Goldman Sachs Disclaimer

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. Rates range from 6.99% to 24.99% APR, and loan terms range from 36 to 72 months. For NY residents, rates range from 6.99%-24.74%. Only the most creditworthy applicants qualify for the lowest rates and longest loan terms. Rates will generally be higher for longer-term loans. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. The availability of a loan offer and the terms of your actual offer will vary due to a number of factors, including your loan purpose and our evaluation of your creditworthiness. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans). Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. Receive a 0.25% APR reduction when you enroll in AutoPay. This reduction will not be applied if AutoPay is not in effect. When enrolled, a larger portion of your monthly payment will be applied to your principal loan amount and less interest will accrue on your loan, which may result in a smaller final payment. See loan agreement for details.

This Upstart personal loan is right for you if:

Upstart is one of the top lenders for a reason, as it offers quite a few benefits. In particular, Upstart personal loans are worth a look if:

  • You have a low credit score or limited to no credit history.
  • You want to borrow a lower amount of money.
  • You need a loan as soon as possible -- Upstart normally funds loans within one business day.

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