Upstart Personal Loan Lender Review

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ByChristopher Boston
Edited byCasie McCoskey

Updated: December 20, 2023

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Upstart stands out as a personal loan lender by using AI to consider more than just credit scores, making it a good option for borrowers with lower scores or unique financial backgrounds. It also offers flexibility in loan uses, quick funding and helpful resources. However, its potentially high origination fee and lack of co-signer options may not suit everyone. Overall, Upstart is ideal for borrowers who value a quick, personalized loan process and can manage the fees and terms it offers.


Features of Upstart Personal Loans

Upstart personal loans offer flexibility and support for various needs, whether it's consolidating debt, paying for education or covering unexpected expenses. Its loans come with a transparent fee structure, diverse loan terms and helpful repayment options. Customers appreciate Upstart's easy-to-use online platform and responsive customer service. Familiarizing yourself with these features can help you decide if Upstart matches your financial goals. For instance, if you value online convenience and personalized loan options, Upstart could be your ideal lender. Considering how these elements align with your needs is helpful and ensures you choose a loan that best supports your financial journey.

What Can You Use Your Funds For?

While Upstart offers flexibility, knowing what's allowed and not will help guide your decision-making. This knowledge enables you to plan effectively and use the loan for suitable purposes. Here are some acceptable uses of an Upstart personal loans:

  • Debt Consolidation: Simplify your finances by combining multiple debts into one loan, potentially lowering your overall interest rates and making repayments more manageable.

  • Medical Expenses: Use the loan to pay for medical bills, treatments or procedures not covered by health insurance, easing the financial burden of health care.

  • Home Improvement: Invest in your home with renovations, repairs or upgrades, increasing its value and enhancing your living experience.

  • Student Debt: Pay off existing student loans, providing a pathway to financial freedom from educational debts. However, for California, Connecticut, Illinois, Washington and Washington D.C., Upstart restricts using loan proceeds for education-related expenses.

  • Relocating: Cover the costs associated with moving, such as moving services, rental deposits or transportation, making the transition smoother.

  • Significant Life Events: Finance important personal events like weddings, anniversaries or milestone celebrations without the stress of immediate expenses.

  • Vacation: Fund travel expenses for a much-needed getaway or a dream vacation, creating memorable experiences.

  • Business: Invest in your business ventures, whether for starting up, expansion, operational expenses or supporting your entrepreneurial goals.

When it comes to what you can't use your Upstart loan for, it's about legality and safety. You can use the funds for any illegal activities or transactions, including the purchase or promotion of narcotics, steroids and other controlled substances that could be harmful. Using the funds for things related to illegal activities, stolen goods or those that promote hate, violence or intolerance are also prohibited. Firearms, ammunition and related accessories are off-limits, too. Avoid transactions indirectly supporting criminal or terrorist activities, including dealings with entities or individuals on U.S. sanctions lists.

Remember, a personal loan is a responsibility. Choosing Upstart means you agree to use the funds responsibly and within these guidelines, ensuring you maximize your loan for personal growth and well-being.

Loan Terms for an Upstart Personal Loan

Knowing the terms of an Upstart personal loan can help you plan your finances better. You can borrow from $1,000 to $50,000, but the amount depends on your credit score, income and other details you provide. Not everyone will qualify for the maximum amount, and some states have higher minimum loan amounts. These are as follows:

  • $2,100 in Hawaii
  • $3,100 in Georgia
  • $7,000 in Massachusetts

Upstart only offers two repayment terms — three or five years. It offers competitive APRs, although the ceiling of 35.99% is relatively high. Your creditworthiness and other information in your application determine your specific rate. Remember, a lower figure means less interest to pay, so having a good credit score is beneficial. Understanding these details helps you pick a loan that fits your financial situation, just like finding the right pair of shoes for your feet.

Fees for an Upstart Personal Loan

Understanding the fees involved in a personal loan allows for thoughtful financial planning. Knowing Upstart's fee structure helps you manage your budget and avoid unexpected expenses, just like being aware of the extra costs in any big purchase. While you won't encounter any prepayment penalties, giving you the freedom to pay off your loan early, there are several other fees to take note of:

  • Origination Fee: This is charged for processing your loan and ranges from 0% to 12% of the loan amount. For instance, on a $10,000 loan, you could pay up to $1,200 as an origination fee.

  • Late Payment Fee: Missed a payment? Upstart charges 5% of the monthly past due amount or $15, whichever is greater. For example, if your overdue payment is $300, you'll pay a $15 late fee.

  • ACH Return or Check Refund Fee: If your payment is returned due to insufficient funds or other reasons, there's a $15 charge per occurrence.

  • Paper Copies Fee: If you prefer paper copies over electronic documents, Upstart charges $10 per request after withdrawing your consent for electronic documentation.

Keeping these fees in mind helps you calculate the total cost of borrowing more accurately. It empowers you to make informed decisions, ensuring you choose a loan that aligns with your financial capabilities.

Upstart Personal Loan Repayment Assistance

When you get a loan from Upstart, it's good to know there's help if you hit a rough patch financially. Just like having a safety net, Upstart's repayment assistance offers support during tough times. Here's the kind of support Upstart offers its customers:

  • Grace Period: Each payment has a 15-day grace period. The lender only adds a fee on the 16th day.

  • Flexible Payment Options: You can make multiple smaller payments throughout the month that add up to your total due, and you can make these online or over the phone. Remember, interest adds up daily, and one-time payments don't stop recurring ones unless you change them in your account.

  • Hardship Assistance: If you're facing financial difficulties, Upstart offers assistance. You'll need to fill out a form and potentially submit documentation, but if approved, you'll get an email and dashboard update within 10 business days. Accepting a hardship plan can affect your credit score since your lender reports it as a loan modification or forbearance.

Understanding these options helps you plan better and gives you peace of mind, knowing that Upstart has measures to assist you during unexpected financial challenges.

Upstart Customer Service

Good customer service is like having a reliable friend to turn to if you have questions or concerns about your loan. That's why it's helpful to have Upstart's contact information handy. Here are the ways you can get in touch:

  • Contact Form: Send a message through Upstart's contact form on its website.

  • Phone Calls: Call locally at 650-204-1000 or toll-free at 1-855-438-8778. It's available Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

  • Email: Drop an email at for assistance.

Choosing a lender with responsive customer service, like Upstart, means you have support whenever needed.

Upstart Personal Loan Online Resources

When choosing a personal loan lender, getting your funds is only one aspect to consider. It's best to also explore the extra help it offers, like online resources that can guide your financial journey. Here's what Upstart provides:

  • Learn Center: This is your go-to hub for various guides. Whether you plan to save more, pay off debt or handle unexpected bills, you'll find valuable tips here.

  • Educational Articles: Upstart has articles covering various financial topics. You can learn about using collateral for loans, refinancing options and even how to secure a second loan through Upstart.

  • Online Calculators: Handy tools like the loan calculator can help you understand your loan's monthly and total interest costs. Meanwhile, its payment calculator estimates monthly payments and total interest for different scenarios.

Upstart's resources empower you to make knowledgeable decisions, offering more than just a loan — it provides the information necessary to manage your finances more effectively.

Qualifying for an Upstart Personal Loan

Understanding Upstart's eligibility criteria before applying for a personal loan sets you up for a better chance of success. Remember, this lender looks at more than just your credit score — it considers your education and job, offering a more personalized assessment.

Here's what you need to qualify:

  • Basic Requirements: You must have a verifiable name, date of birth and social security number, be at least 18 years old, and have a U.S. address, a valid email account and a personal bank account in a U.S. financial institution.

  • Credit Score: A minimum credit score of 300 is required. If you don't have one, enrolling in or having graduated from a degree program can help.

  • Employment and Income: You should have a job or an accepted job offer starting within six months or another regular income source.

  • Debt-to-Income Ratio: Your total monthly debt payments (excluding rent or mortgage) should not exceed 45% to 50% of your pre-tax income, depending on your state. However, the DTI ratio requirement may not apply if you enroll in certain vocational training programs.

  • Credit History: No bankruptcies or public records in the last 12 months, no current delinquent accounts and fewer than six credit inquiries in the past six months (excluding inquiries for student loans, auto loans or mortgages).

Knowing these standards can help you gauge your eligibility and prepare you for the application process, increasing your chances of getting an Upstart personal loan that suits your needs.

Is an Upstart Personal Loan Right for You?

Deciding if an Upstart personal loan is right for you is a big step because it ensures that it fits your financial situation and needs. You don't want to end up with a financial obligation that's hard to manage or doesn't serve your purpose. Evaluating Upstart's terms, fees and requirements helps you make a thoughtful decision. Remember, beyond getting a loan, choosing the right lender affects you now and in the future.

Who Can Benefit From an Upstart Personal Loan?

Upstart is an appealing option for borrowers with lower credit scores. A minimum credit score requirement of just 300 opens doors for individuals who might struggle to secure loans from other lenders. This inclusivity is a key aspect of Upstart’s approach, making it an accessible choice for many.

It can also be an excellent choice for borrowers who plan to repay their loans early. Since there are no prepayment penalties, you can settle your loan ahead of schedule without extra costs. Flexibility in loan repayment is another area where Upstart shines. It offers hardship assistance, which can be a lifesaver during unexpected financial difficulties. This support demonstrates Upstart’s understanding that life can be unpredictable, and sometimes borrowers need a bit of extra help.

Upstart’s quick funding process is ideal for borrowers needing fast financial assistance. This lender funds most loans as soon as the next business day after approval, making it a solid choice for borrowers requiring timely financial support. This efficiency ensures that you can address your financial needs without unnecessary delay.

Who Shouldn’t Secure a Personal Loan From Upstart?

This lender may not be the best choice for everyone. One consideration is Upstart's relatively high origination fee, which can be as much as 12% of the loan amount. That can become a significant upfront cost, making Upstart less appealing for individuals seeking to minimize additional loan expenses.

Another aspect where Upstart may not align with everyone's needs is the lack of flexibility in negotiating loan terms and rates. What Upstart offers based on your application is final. Upstart might not be the best fit for borrowers who prefer to have a dialogue about their loan terms or those who want to negotiate better rates based on their financial standing.

Lastly, Upstart's loan terms are limited to three or five years. It can be restrictive for borrowers seeking more diverse term options — either shorter terms for quicker repayments or longer terms for smaller monthly payments. Borrowers needing more options may need to explore other lenders.

How to Apply for an Upstart Personal Loan

Applying for an Upstart personal loan is a straightforward process, but knowing the steps in advance can save you time and confusion. You’ll know where to go and what to expect at each turn. It can help you prepare the necessary information and documents, making the application smoother and quicker.

When undergoing Upstart’s application process, here’s what you can expect:


Checking Your Rate

Your journey begins on Upstart’s website. Here, you click the “Check Your Rate” button, which leads to a soft credit inquiry. This step is reassuring as it doesn’t affect your credit score, allowing you to see the potential loan terms without any commitment.


Choosing Your Loan

Once you receive your rate and if it aligns with your expectations, select the loan amount and the term. Upstart presents different options based on your application, but remember, this lender firmly sets these terms and is not open for negotiation.


Completing the Application

With your loan choice made, the next phase is filling out the application form, which involves providing detailed personal and financial information. You'll also need to verify your bank account and, in some cases, upload additional documents to support your application.


Application Review and Approval

After submission, Upstart reviews your application. It includes a hard credit inquiry, which might impact your credit score. It’s a deeper evaluation to determine your final loan eligibility.


Getting Funded

Upstart will ask you to review and sign the final documents upon approval. If you accept your loan terms before 5 p.m. ET on a weekday, the funds are typically transferred to your account the next business day. Loans intended for education-related purposes have an additional waiting period of three business days due to federal regulations.

An important caveat for borrowers who have previously borrowed and repaid an Upstart loan: a 60-day waiting period is required before reapplying, particularly if you had any late payments or paid off the loan quickly.

By understanding each step in this process, you can navigate your application with Upstart smoothly, making informed decisions at every point.

What to Do If You’re Denied

Receiving a denial on your loan application is not the end of your financial journey. Although it can be disappointing, there are steps you can take to understand and potentially improve your situation.

  • Understand the Reasons for Denial: Check the Adverse Action Notice in your Upstart account. It explains why your application was denied and provides your credit score when you applied. Knowing the reasons can help you address specific issues. If things change for the better, you can reapply after 30 days.

  • Boost Your Financial Profile: Work on improving your credit score and financial standing. This process might involve paying down existing debts, maintaining a good record of timely payments and managing your finances more effectively.

  • Consider Alternative Financing Options: Since Upstart doesn't offer the option of a co-signer or co-applicant, explore other lenders that do. You might find a lender more suited to your current financial profile.

  • Seek Professional Financial Advice: A financial advisor can provide personalized guidance on improving your creditworthiness and financial management. They can also suggest the best course of action based on your specific situation.

Remember, a loan rejection is not a reflection of your worth. It's an opportunity to reassess and strengthen your financial standing. With the right approach and tools, you can work towards a position where securing a loan becomes more feasible. Keep exploring your options and stay informed about your financial health.

FAQ About Upstart as a Personal Loan Lender

Understanding the specifics of a personal loan lender like Upstart before applying can enable a positive financial journey. We answered borrowers' common questions about Upstart's loans, providing clarity and insight into its services.

Yes, Upstart has some restrictions. While you can use the loan for expenses like debt consolidation, medical bills or home improvements, you cannot use the funds for illegal activities, purchasing controlled substances or transactions involving firearms and related accessories. Additionally, you cannot use the loan in certain states for education-related expenses.

Upstart requires a minimum credit score of 300. However, it also considers other factors like your education and employment history.

Approval times can vary, but Upstart is known for its quick process. Most applicants find out if they're approved within a few minutes of completing the application. The actual funding of the loan typically happens within one business day after loan acceptance.

Upstart does not currently have a mobile app. However, customers can manage their loans and applications through Upstart’s website.

Upstart offers unsecured personal loans. This means you don’t need to provide collateral (like a car or a house) to get a loan.

With Upstart, you can borrow between $1,000 and $50,000. The exact amount depends on your creditworthiness and other factors considered in your application.

Upstart charges an origination fee of up to 12% of the loan amount. Other fees include late payment fees and charges for returned payments. However, there are no prepayment penalties, so you can pay off your loan early without extra charges.

Initially, Upstart performs a soft credit inquiry, which doesn't affect your credit score. However, if you proceed with the application, a hard credit inquiry will be conducted, which can impact your credit score.

Upstart does not currently offer a discount for setting up autopay on personal loans.

No, Upstart does not allow co-signers or co-applicants on personal loans. You must qualify for the loan based on your own creditworthiness and other factors.


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.

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