Upstart Personal Loans Review
Christy Bieber is a personal finance and legal writer with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured on major outlets including MSN Money, CNBC, and USA Today.
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Upstart offers fixed interest rate personal loans that you can use funds for almost anything. Whether you're consolidating debt or making a big purchase, you can borrow from Upstart -- provided you have a reasonable credit score and meet other qualifying requirements.
Upstart has some big advantages, including fast funding and flexibility in the amount you can borrow. Its loan minimum is below many competitors, making Upstart an ideal choice for borrowers who need only a small amount of money. But, its interest rates are higher than some competitors offering personal loans, so borrowers will need to shop around to make sure they're obtaining the lowest-cost loan they can qualify for. If you're not sure whether or not an Upstart personal loan is right for you, this review will help you decide if it's worth applying with this lender.
What you need to know about Upstart personal loans
When you're deciding which personal loan lender to secure a loan from, it's important to consider all of the features that affect your total loan cost. This includes interest rates, fees, and repayment timeline.
Here are a few of the key things you need to know about Upstart personal loans:
- You can borrow between $1,000 and $50,000.
- APRs range from 4.73% to 35.99%.
- Interest rates are fixed, so your rate and payment don't change over the life of the loan.
- You'll have a choice of a three-year or five-year repayment term.
- You can receive your funds as fas as one day.
- There's no prepayment penalty so you can repay the loan early.
- Borrowers can qualify with credit scores in the low 600s, depending upon income and other debts. Upstart also considers your career and educational history and is willing to provide loans to borrowers who are still working on building credit.
- Upstart charges an origination fee between 0% and 8% of the borrowed amount.
Applying for Upstart personal loans
Upstart makes applying for a personal loan easy. You can visit the website to check your rates and explore loan offers without getting a hard inquiry placed on your credit report. Hard inquiries could affect your credit score, as they remain on your credit report for two years and scores drop with too many inquiries.
When you've submitted your basic info, your rate will be determined by your credit score, education history, and work experience. The loan term could also affect your rate -- and it will impact the total you pay. A loan with a longer term costs more in the long run, although each monthly payment will be lower, due to paying interest for a longer duration. If you want to pay the minimum in interest, you should opt for the shorter-term loan if you can afford the monthly payments.
If you're satisfied with the rate you're offered, you can proceed with submitting a full application -- at which time a hard inquiry is made to verify the accuracy of your financial information. The application can be submitted online, and you'll just need to provide some basic information including your Social Security number and details about your academic background, career, and other lenders you owe.
Most borrowers get a decision right away, unless you're asked to submit additional documents such as college transcripts. Once your loan has been approved, 99% of borrowers obtain their personal loan funds within one day.
What I like about Upstart personal loans
Upstart's fast funding is a major benefit. Other lenders may take much longer to provide your funds. LendingClub, for example, delivers funds within seven days and Prosper provides funding within five days of the time you accept your loan offer. A long delay in receiving your money may be a problem if you're taking out a personal loan to cope with an immediate financial need such as repairing a vehicle that's not drivable.
Upstart also offers lots of flexibility in the amount you can borrow, including loans starting at just $1,000. Most lenders have higher minimum loan requirements, and many lenders have lower maximum loan limits than Upstart's $50,000 maximum.
Upstart's interest rates are competitive with similar lenders that offer loans to people with scores in the low 600s. The fact Upstart considers education and employment, meaning the lender is willing to lend to people still building credit, sets it apart from many competitors that focus on credit score alone.
Finally, the fact there's no prepayment penalties gives you the chance to pay off your loan early and the fixed interest rate provides you with certainty as to what your loan payments will be. While variable rate loans from competitors may have lower starting rates, variable rates create risk because your rate and payments could rise.
What I don't like about Upstart personal loans
The big downside of Upstart is its origination fee. The higher end of their range is well above competitors. You could pay less with Upstart if you qualify for the 0% fee, but the higher end is a lot of money to lose to fees.
Are Upstart personal loans right for you?
If you can qualify for a low origination fee -- or no origination fee -- and a reasonable APR with Upstart, these loans are a great choice. That's especially true if you want to borrow only $1,000, as most lenders have higher loan minimums. But be careful that you look at total loan costs, including upfront fees, and that you comparison shop with other lenders to get the cheapest loan overall.