Discover vs. Upgrade: Which Personal Loan Is Right for You?

Updated: July 25, 2023

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The best personal loan for you will depend on your financial situation and goals, but if you need cash now, Discover or Upgrade may be suitable options. Though Discover has a lower maximum APR, it’s high minimum credit score requirement may make it challenging to get approved. Because of this, those with fair or bad credit should choose Upgrade.

To help you determine which lender is the best option for you, MoneyGeek’s comprehensive and trusted guide includes key information about each lender’s personal loan terms.

Key Takeaways

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For those in the U.S. who have excellent credit and need a small, flexible loan, Discover is the best option, whereas Upgrade provides personal loans to borrowers with fair and bad credit.

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Personal loan lenders should be evaluated for their APR, repayment plan, loan size and fund disbursement time to ensure that the loan’s terms meet your financial objectives.

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Lenders use your credit history to calculate your interest rate. Understanding this will make it easier to choose between lenders based on their APR range, as a low credit score makes it more likely that you’ll receive a high APR.

Discover or Upgrade: Overview

Your particular financial needs and goals will determine which loan is ideal for you. For instance, Upgrade provides a higher maximum loan amount, but Discover has a lower APR range. Before choosing a lender, it’s crucial that you thoroughly compare Discover vs. Upgrade's APRs, credit score requirements, loan amounts and payback schedules.

Discover


  • Discover

    Discover personal loans require an excellent credit score for borrowers looking for a small but flexible loan.


    • 5.99% to 24.99%APR Range
    • 720Minimum Credit Score
    • $2,500 to $35,000Loan Amount Range
    • 36 to 84 monthsRepayment Terms
    • Next DayTime to Receive Funds

    Discover offers no-fee personal loans with a 30-day money-back guarantee. After approval, loans may be disbursed the following business day, making it an ideal lender for borrowers that need cash quickly. To be eligible for a Discover personal loan, you must have a minimum credit score of 720 and minimum annual income of $25,000 per year.

    If you're looking for a small loan with flexible terms, Discover may be a suitable option for you. Discover offers personal loans between $2,500 and $35,000 with loan repayment options from 36 to 84 months. In comparison to other lenders, Discover personal loans have a lower maximum APR.

    Though the minimum eligibility requirements for a Discover personal loan are more strict than some lenders, its low maximum APR, flexible loan repayment terms and fast loan disbursement time make it a great choice for borrowers that qualify.

    Pros

    • Money-back guarantee up to 30 days
    • No penalties for paying in advance
    • No origination fees
    • No employment requirement
    • Flexible repayment terms

    Cons

    • Small loan amount range
    • Late fees
    • High credit score requirement
    • No autopay discounts
    • No co-signer or joint loan
    • Loan amount: $2,500 to $35,000
    • Repayment terms: 36 to 84 months
    • Minimum credit score: 720
    • Time to receive funds: Next day
    Discover

Upgrade


  • Upgrade

    For borrowers with credit scores of at least 560, Upgrade provides personal loans in fixed monthly installments.


    • 5.94% to 35.47%APR Range
    • 560Minimum Credit Score
    • $1,000 to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • 36 to 60 monthsRepayment Terms
    • Same DayTime to Receive Funds

    Upgrade, a fintech company, is one of MoneyGeek's top recommendations for borrowers with modest incomes searching for a personal loan. Since it provides financing for personal loans the same day your loan application is approved, an Upgrade personal loan is a fantastic option for those with fair or bad credit who need cash urgently.

    Upgrade accepts candidates with credit scores of at least 560 and has no minimum income criteria. It provides loans up to $50,000 with flexible repayment plans that last no more than 60 months. But because Upgrade accepts applicants with bad and fair credit, its interest rates are generally higher than other lenders. Additionally, its loans have origination and late payment fees.

    Pros

    • Soft credit check
    • Excellent customer service
    • Autopay discount of 1%
    • No prepayment penalty fee
    • Joint loans available

    Cons

    • Restrictions on fund usage
    • Late payment fee of $10
    • Origination fees
    • Co-signers not allowed
    • Borrowers with new or bad credit not accepted
    • Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,000
    • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
    • Minimum credit score: 560
    • Time to receive funds: Same day
    Upgrade

APR Range

Lender
APR Range

Discover

5.99% to 24.99%

Upgrade

5.94% to 35.47%

The annual percentage rate (APR) is the sum of the annual interest that a borrower will be required to pay on their loan, as well as any other fees assessed by the lender. Your credit score, loan type, loan size and the underwriting strategy the lender uses all impact your APR.

Because so many factors are taken into account when assessing your APR, you may not receive a lender’s lowest advertised rate. It’s also important to highlight that APRs are extremely variable and regularly fluctuate.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

Discover has a more favorable range than Upgrade. Typically, personal loans with a smaller APR range accrue less in interest and other costs during the duration of the loan.

However, a low APR is only one factor to take into account when choosing a loan. You should also consider the lender's repayment plan, loan amounts and credit requirements.

Minimum Credit Score

Lender
Credit Score

Discover

720

Upgrade

560

When assessing your eligibility for loan, lenders place a high importance on a borrower’s credit score. A higher score will make it easier for you to obtain a loan with better terms. By developing sound financial habits, like paying your credit card balance in full each month, you can build credit and improve your score.

Discover's minimum credit score requirement of 720 is relatively high, while Upgrade's is lower at 560. Because Upgrade accepts borrowers with fair and bad credit, its personal loans feature somewhat higher interest rates.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

A Discover personal loan isn’t an option for customers with bad credit because it requires a high minimum credit score of 720. Because of its lower credit score requirements, Upgrade is the better choice in this case.

Borrowers must ensure that the loan's terms are reasonable and appropriate for their needs since consumers with poor credit will likely receive high interest rates.

Loan Amount Range

Lender
Loan Amount Range

Discover

$2,500 to $35,000

Upgrade

$1,000 to $50,000

The loan amount range is the minimum and maximum amount a provider will lend to a borrower. While Discover only permits customers to borrow between $2,500 and $35,000, Upgrade has the higher ceiling of the two lenders, allowing borrowers to obtain up to $50,000.

Since Upgrade provides higher loan amounts, it is a better option for urgent and large purchases. However, Upgrade and Discover both provide smaller maximum loan amounts when compared to other lenders that provide loans up to $100,000.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

Loan amount is one of the main factors to consider when choosing a lender to ensure that your financial needs are met.

Upgrade personal loans feature a more variable range between $1,000 and $50,000 than Discover personal loans. But Discover might be a better choice if you need minimal funds and want to save money with lower interest rates. The best option for you will ultimately depend on your interests and needs.

Repayment Terms

Lender
Repayment Terms

Discover

36 to 84 months

Upgrade

36 to 60 months

A loan’s repayment period refers to the time period you have to pay back a loan. Lower interest rates are often associated with shorter repayment periods, but other considerations, like your credit score, may impact this.

Discover offers more repayment term options than Upgrade; personal loans from the former feature repayment terms of 36 to 84 months, while the latter has 36 to 60 months. However, a longer repayment term will likely cost you more money, as interest is accrued over the life of the loan.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

With Discover, borrowers have more discretion over how long it will take to pay back their loans because of the lender's flexible repayment options.

However, if you have a bad credit score, your provider may limit your repayment options. Moreover, if you have the financial means to make higher monthly payments, a shorter payback period is advised to reduce the amount you’ll pay in interest.

Time to Receive Funds

Lender
Time to Receive Funds

Discover

Next day

Upgrade

Same day

While most lenders take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to provide funds, both Upgrade and Discover provide cash faster than their competitors. If you have fair or poor credit and a pressing need for a loan, Upgrade is a better option because of its same-day funding record.

However, unless you need cash now, there’s no significant advantage in choosing one lender over the other; both provide funds within one day of approval.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

In an emergency, a fast loan disbursement time is critical. Upgrade provides your loan the same business day after you sign. Meanwhile, Discover will send your money the following business day.

Although a quick loan disbursement is an advantage, you shouldn't make your choice purely based on when you’ll receive your funds. The repayment terms, APR and loan amount are just a few of the other considerations that will determine which lender is best for you.

Final Thoughts

Although Upgrade and Discover both offer personal loans with swift funding times, Upgrade personal loans stand out as the better option for most people due to its lower minimum credit requirement, flexible loan amounts and prompt fund disbursement. Your particular scenario should still determine how much importance each item is given.

MoneyGeek lists various borrower types who might choose an Upgrade personal loan as the best option for them:

  • For borrowers with poor credit. Personal loans from Upgrade are ideal for those who require immediate cash but have fair or bad credit, as the minimum credit score requirement for this lender is 560.
  • For borrowers seeking joint loans. Upgrade permits joint loans, which might improve applicants' prospects of loan approval.
  • For hesitant borrowers. The prequalification procedure for Upgrade merely entails a soft inquiry. When applying for an Upgrade personal loan, borrowers don’t have to worry about their credit score being impacted.

In the event of debt consolidation, Upgrade pays creditors directly, but this is only advantageous to those seeking a personal loan for this purpose.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Loan Lenders

Be sure to carefully weigh your options before applying for a personal loan. To assist you, MoneyGeek has provided answers to frequently asked questions concerning personal loan lenders.

What documents do I need to provide to personal loan lenders?
How do I know what my credit score is?
Do lenders conduct a hard inquiry?
Are interest rates on personal loans the same for all lenders?
Do lenders charge fees for personal loans?
What are the advantages of applying for a personal loan online?
Is prepayment allowed on personal loans?
sources
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The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the rates mentioned may have changed. We recommend visiting the lender's website for the most up-to-date information available.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, lender or other entity. Learn more about our editorial policies and expert editorial team.