Upgrade Personal Loan Lender Review

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ByChristopher Boston
Edited byVictoria Copans
ByChristopher Boston
Edited byVictoria Copans

Updated: February 14, 2024

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Upgrade stands out as a personal loan lender with its quick funding, mobile app for easy management and options for both secured and unsecured loans. It's particularly well-suited for those needing fast access to funds and valuing technological convenience. However, potential borrowers should consider the origination and late payment fees and high APR cap. Upgrade's flexibility, including the Short-Term Hardship program and joint loan options, makes it a strong choice for many. It may not be the best choice for those needing loans above $50,000 or for educational purposes.

  • Upgrade

    • 8.49% to 35.99%APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • $1,000 to $50,000Loan Amount Range
    • 24 to 84 monthsRepayment Terms
    • Within a dayTime to Receive Funds

    Upgrade could be an excellent personal loan lender for several reasons. First, the absence of prepayment penalties is a big plus, allowing you to pay off your loan earlier than scheduled without extra charges, potentially saving you money on interest. Second, Upgrade's quick online rate check lets you explore loan options without impacting your credit score. It gives you the freedom to consider your choices carefully without any pressure.

    Another benefit is the fast funding post-approval. Once Upgrade gives the green light, the funds reach you quickly, making it a great option for urgent financial needs. The convenience of its mobile app allows for easy account management right from your phone.

    Upgrade also offers a Short-Term Hardship program, which is particularly beneficial for those facing financial challenges during the loan term. This program can provide much-needed flexibility and support in tough times.


    • No prepayment penalties
    • Quick online rate check without credit impact
    • Fast funding post-approval
    • Mobile app for account management
    • Short-Term Hardship program


    • Charges origination fees and late payment fees
    • Potential for high APR (up to 35.99%)
    • Not suitable for educational expenses or investments
    • Relatively low maximum loan amount

Upgrade Features

Upgrade personal loans offer flexibility for various needs, whether for home improvement, debt consolidation or unexpected expenses. Its personal loans come with clear terms and fees, helping you avoid surprises. It provides repayment assistance options, offering support during times of financial hardship, and its customer service team and online tools make managing your loan straightforward and hassle-free. By considering these aspects — from usage options to support services — you can better assess if Upgrade aligns with your financial goals, ensuring you make a well-informed decision for your personal loan needs.

What You Can Use Your Funds For

Different lenders have rules on fund usage, and knowing these helps you plan better. With a personal loan from Upgrade, you have the freedom to manage various financial needs effectively. Here’s how you can use your funds:

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    Pay Off Credit Cards

    An Upgrade loan can be a strategic tool to tackle high-interest credit card debt. By paying off this debt with a lower interest loan from Upgrade, you could potentially reduce the total interest paid and streamline your payments into one manageable monthly amount.

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    Debt Consolidation

    If you're juggling multiple loans or debts, an Upgrade loan can consolidate these debts into one loan with a single, fixed interest rate. This simplifies tracking your payments easier and could also lead to lower overall interest costs.

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    Home Improvement

    If you're planning a home renovation or repair, you can use an Upgrade loan to fund these projects. Investing in your home can increase its value and enhance your living space, all without relying on high-interest credit options.

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    Large Purchases

    For significant expenses like new appliances, furniture or other big-ticket items, an Upgrade loan provides a financially savvy alternative to credit cards. This way, you can make the purchase upfront and pay it off over time at a potentially lower interest rate.

Despite its varied uses, there are restrictions to Upgrade loans. They're not suitable for school-related expenses, investments or gambling. Choosing the right use for your loan is a big step in managing your finances wisely.

Loan Terms for an Upgrade Personal Loan

Upgrade offers loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. However, in Hawaii, the minimum amount you can borrow is $1,505; in Georgia, it's $3,005; and in Massachusetts, $6,600.

The annual percentage rates (APRs) for Upgrade's personal loans vary depending on your credit score, how you've used credit in the past, the loan term and other factors. Remember, Upgrade has fixed rates, so your rate stays the same throughout the life of the loan.

Repayment terms with Upgrade can range from 24 to 84 months. Once approved, you can choose the best term for you, balancing how much you can pay each month against the total cost over time. You can adjust your payment date if needed, but extending the loan duration could mean paying more interest overall.

Understanding these terms allows you to better assess how an Upgrade loan can fit into your financial planning. It's about finding the right balance between what you borrow, the rate you're charged and how long you take to pay it back.

Fees and Discounts for an Upgrade Personal Loan

Understanding the fees associated with an Upgrade personal loan is important since different lenders have varying fee structures.

Upgrade doesn’t penalize you for paying off your loan early, so you can settle your debt sooner without extra costs. However, expect to run into the following fees:

  • Origination Fee: 1.85% to 9.99% of the loan amount, deducted from your loan funds.

  • Failed Payment Fee: $10 for each failed electronic or check payment.

  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $10 if your payment is over 15 days late.

  • Title Transfer Fee: A one-time fee for loans secured by a car, charged by your local motor vehicle agency (only for secured personal loans).

Upgrade also offers discounts. If you set up autopay, use your loan for debt payoff or secure your loan with your car, you could get a lower rate. These discounts make Upgrade loans more affordable and flexible for your financial needs.

Upgrade Personal Loan Welcome Bonus

If you're new to Upgrade, keep in mind that you might be eligible for a Welcome Bonus. Here are the criteria you must meet to qualify:

  • Add a Rewards Checking Plus Account: Include a Rewards Checking Plus account when applying for your loan.

  • Receive Your Loan: You must be approved and receive the Upgrade loan.

  • Open the Account: Open the Rewards Checking Plus account after your loan is approved.

  • Direct Deposit: Deposit at least $1,000 into your new account within 45 days of opening it.

That said, there are some key points to remember. First, you won't be eligible for this bonus if you've already opened a checking account with Upgrade. Additionally, your account needs to be in good standing, and all your loans with Upgrade, including any auto refinance loans, must be current. Unfortunately, joint loan applications don't qualify for this welcome bonus, and it's a one-time offer that can't be combined with other promotions or applied retroactively. However, if you meet these conditions, you can expect your bonus in your Rewards Checking Plus account within 60 days.

Upgrade Personal Loan Repayment Assistance

Upgrade understands that life can bring unexpected financial hardships. It offers a helping hand through its Short-Term Hardship program, which allows for reduced payments for a period, depending on your situation.

If you're struggling with your payments, reaching out to Upgrade can make a big difference. It has a dedicated team ready to answer your questions and explore payment options that work for you. Contact them as soon as you anticipate difficulties. Remember, late or missed payments can affect your credit score. Keeping your account in good standing is key to maintaining a healthy financial record.

You can contact Upgrade's support team at their toll-free line, (888) 873-5960, available Monday to Friday from 5 am to 6 pm and Saturday-Sunday from 6 am to 5 pm Pacific Time.

Upgrade Customer Service

When choosing a personal loan lender, consider how easy it is to get help when you need it. In addition to addressing your concerns, Upgrade's customer service is also about being proactive and supportive throughout your loan journey.

You can reach Upgrade easily. Email them at support@upgrade.com for any queries or guidance, or call them at (844) 319-3909.

Good customer service means having someone there to assist, whether you have questions about your loan, need financial advice or face unexpected challenges. Upgrade ensures you're supported at every step, making your loan experience smoother and more reassuring.

Upgrade Personal Loan Online Resources

When choosing a personal loan lender, its online resources are crucial for easy loan management and financial planning. Upgrade's mobile app allows you to manage your account conveniently, offering features like balance checks, bill payments, rewards tracking and loan management. The app is available for iPhone users (7 or newer, iOS 9 or later) and Android users (Android 6 or later).

Upgrade also uses Zendesk, a customer service platform that enables quick and efficient problem resolution and support. Additionally, its "Check Your Rate" feature on the website is a valuable tool. It lets you preview your potential loan offers without affecting your credit score, offering a clear picture of the loan amounts and terms you might qualify for. These resources enhance your ability to manage and understand your loan, contributing to a more informed and controlled financial experience.

Qualifying for an Upgrade Personal Loan

Understanding what Upgrade looks at when assessing your eligibility for a personal loan is key. It helps you gauge your chances of approval before you apply, saving you time and potential impact on your credit score. Let's break down the factors that play into your eligibility.

  • Credit Score: Though Upgrade doesn't publicly state a minimum credit score, several reports say it considers a score around 580 or higher. This number represents your creditworthiness and influences your loan terms.

  • Income Requirements: Personal loan lenders generally check your income to ensure you can repay the loan. While Upgrade doesn't specify a minimum requirement, having a stable income source improves your chances.

  • Credit Usage and Payment History: Lenders assess how you've used credit in the past and if you've made timely payments. Responsible credit usage and a good payment history can strengthen your application.

  • Loan Amount and Term: The amount you wish to borrow and the loan term you choose are also considered. They must align with your ability to repay.

A co-applicant might help if your credit score or income is lower than desired, as they can increase your chances of approval and potentially get you better loan terms. However, it also means your co-applicant is equally responsible for the loan, which can be a significant financial commitment.

Is an Upgrade Personal Loan Right for You?

A key step to managing your finances wisely is selecting the right personal lender for your needs. By considering factors like loan terms, interest rates and your financial goals, you can determine if Upgrade aligns with what you’re looking for. Evaluating if Upgrade is the right lender for you can lead to a more positive and beneficial borrowing experience in the long run.

Who Can Benefit From a Personal Loan From Upgrade

Individuals needing quick funds will find Upgrade's fast funding post-approval attractive. They can expect their money to be in their account quickly, often within a day of completing necessary verifications. If you appreciate the convenience of technology, you'll find Upgrade's mobile app useful. It allows you to manage your loan easily from your phone, including checking balances, making payments or tracking your loan status.

Upgrade also offers a Short-Term Hardship program, which can benefit those who value having a safety net. In times of financial difficulty, this program can offer reduced payments for a set period, providing much-needed support and flexibility.

Lastly, borrowers who are cautious about their credit score may appreciate Upgrade's check your rate feature. It allows you to explore your options and understand the potential loan terms you qualify for without any commitment or impact on your credit history.

Who Shouldn’t Secure a Personal Loan From Upgrade

Individuals looking to finance educational expenses or investments might need to look elsewhere, as Upgrade's personal loans are not designed for these purposes. For those who require a loan amount exceeding $50,000, Upgrade may not be a suitable option. Since this is the most you can borrow, those needing more significant funding may need to seek alternative lenders that can meet their higher financial requirements.

Applicants who wish to avoid fees should be aware of Upgrade's loan structure. Upgrade charges origination fees ranging from 1.85% to 9.99%, and there are late payment fees to consider as well. If avoiding these is a priority, exploring other lenders may be beneficial.

How to Apply for an Upgrade Personal Loan

Applying for a personal loan from Upgrade is a straightforward process, and knowing the steps involved can make it even smoother for you. Let’s explore the steps to securing a personal loan from Upgrade:

Check Your Rate

Begin by applying online. This step lets you view your potential loan rates without affecting your credit score or creating any obligation. It's a useful way to see what loan terms you might qualify for.

Choose Your Personal Loan

Once you've checked your rate, Upgrade will present you with various loan offers. Review these carefully to determine the best fit for your financial situation.

Undergo the Verification Process

After choosing your loan, Upgrade may request certain documents to verify your income and identity. Providing them promptly can expedite the process. Keep an eye on your email or your Upgrade dashboard for any requests.

Get Funding Fast

Following the verification and acceptance of your loan offer, Upgrade works quickly to process your funding. Typically, you can expect to receive your money within one business day after all verifications are complete. If the loan involves paying off creditors directly, it may take up to two weeks for the funds to clear with them.

By following these steps and being prepared, especially during the verification stage, you can ensure a seamless application process with Upgrade, leading to quicker access to your funds.

What to Do If You’re Denied

Being denied for a personal loan with Upgrade can be disappointing, but it's not the end of the road. There are things you can do to understand the decision and improve your chances in the future.

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    Understand the Reasons for Denial

    Find out why your application was denied. Upgrade will provide reasons, such as a low credit score or insufficient income. This information is crucial because it tells you what areas need improvement.

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    Boost Your Financial Profile

    Work on improving the factors that led to your denial. Be prepared to pay down existing debts, improve your credit score or increase your income. Taking these steps can enhance your financial health and your chances of approval in the future.

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    Consider a Co-Applicant

    Upgrade accepts joint applications. If you apply with another person, both your credit profiles are considered. It could help you qualify for a larger loan or a better rate. However, it means both of you are responsible for repaying the loan, so choose your co-applicant wisely.

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    Look for Alternative Financing Options

    If Upgrade isn't the right fit, explore other lenders. Credit unions, other online lenders or traditional banks might have different criteria or loan products that suit your needs.

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    Seek Professional Financial Advice

    If you're unsure how to proceed, speaking with a financial advisor can be helpful. They can provide personalized advice based on your financial situation.

Remember, a denial is not a permanent setback. It's an opportunity to reassess your financial situation and make necessary improvements. With the right approach and understanding of your options, you can position yourself better for future financial endeavors.

FAQ About Upgrade as a Personal Loan Lender

If you're considering Upgrade for your personal loan needs, you might have some questions about their services and requirements. MoneyGeek provides answers to common queries, helping you have a better understanding of what Upgrade offers and how it might fit into your financial plans.

Does Upgrade have restrictions on how you can use your funds from a personal loan?
What is the minimum credit score requirement for an Upgrade personal loan?
How long does Upgrade take to approve a personal loan?
Does Upgrade have a mobile app?
Is an Upgrade personal loan secured or unsecured?
How much can I borrow using an Upgrade personal loan?
What fees will I encounter with an Upgrade personal loan?
How does applying for an Upgrade personal loan affect my credit score?
Does Upgrade offer an autopay discount for personal loans?
Can you have co-signers on an Upgrade personal loan?

About Christopher Boston

Christopher Boston headshot

Christopher (Croix) Boston was the Head of Loans content at MoneyGeek, with over five years of experience researching higher education, mortgage and personal loans.

Boston has a bachelor's degree from the Seattle Pacific University. They pride themselves in using their skills and experience to create quality content that helps people save and spend efficiently.

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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.