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Upstart Personal Loans Review 2023: AI Based Lending

Racheal Vazquez

Upstart is an online lending platform that partners with banks to provide personal loans with a fast application process and one-day funding for borrowers. Using leading AI technology, the Upstart underwriting model considers other key variables in addition to your credit score to determine the outcome of your loan application.  

Overall rating

4.5

Summary: Upstart uses leading artificial intelligence techniques to make lending decisions based on additional variables such as income, education, and employment.

Upstart Personal Loans

upstart logo

5.40% - 35.99%

Est. APR

300

Min. Credit Score

$1,000 - $50,000

Loan Amount


Reviews

5

Application Process

5

Loan Requirements

3

Loan Terms, Fees & Rates

5

Repayment Options

5

Loan Purpose

3

Credit Building

5

Customer Service

5

Safe & Secure

Pros

  • No prepayment fees  
  • Low minimum credit score requirement  
  • Rate check with a soft credit inquiry

Cons

  • Limited loan terms  
  • Origination fee  
  • Late payment fee  
  • Co-signer not allowed  
  • No discounts

Best For

  • Loan disbursement within one business day  
  • Fast application process
  • Additional factors are taken into consideration for loan approval

Features

HQCalifornia, United States
Loan Amount$1,000 – $50,000
Loan Terms 3 or 5 years (subject to change, see Upstart’s personal-loans page for latest rates, subject to state restrictions)
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Loan SecurityUnsecured
Min. Credit Score300
Min. Annual Income$12,000 
State RestrictionsAvailable in all States

In depth review on Upstart Personal Loans  

Founded with the mission to improve access to affordable credit, Upstart uses leading AI technology to assess the risk of lending money to a borrower. Unlike the traditional credit score model, this allows Upstart to consider additional factors such as education and employment during the loan application process.   

By leveraging AI technology, Upstart can approve more loan applications with fewer losses, benefiting borrowers with poor or limited credit history.   

Upstart Personal Loans is best for  

  • Loan disbursement within one business day: With Upstart, you can have your loan paid into your bank account within one business day, provided you meet the requirements. Educational loans can take up to three business days. 
  • Fast application process: Check your rate online in as little as 5 minutes.   
  • Additional factors are taken into consideration for loan approval: Upstart considers variables such as income, education, and employment, during the application process. These variables are in addition to your credit score. 

Upstart Personal Loans benefits   

  • No prepayment fees: There are no fees or penalties for paying off your loan early.   
  • Low minimum credit score requirement: You’ll need a minimum credit score of 300 to apply for a personal loan from a lender on the Upstart platform. In addition, Upstart accepts applications from borrowers with limited or no credit history. 
  • Rate check with soft credit inquiry: Upstart will carry out a soft credit inquiry to provide you with an initial quote. This does not impact your credit score.   

Upstart Personal Loans drawbacks   

  • Limited loan terms: Upstart offers fewer loan terms, where borrowers can choose between 3 or 5 years.   
  • Origination fee: There is an origination fee of 0% – 10% of the desired loan principal. This is high relative to other competitors.   
  • Late payment fee: There is a late payment fee of 5% or a maximum of $15 if a payment is made after 10 calendar days of the due date.   
  • Co-signer not allowed: You cannot apply for a loan with a co-signer. Only individual loans are permitted.   
  • No discounts: Upstart does not offer an AutoPay discount.   

Application process  

5

You can apply for personal loans through Upstart in as little as 5 minutes with three simple steps. It’s a good idea to have the following information during the loan application:  

  • Name   
  • Date of birth  
  • Social security number  
  • US bank account  
  • Government-issued ID  
  • Proof of income  
  • Employment information  

Step 1: Prequalify  

Head over to the website and fill out the application to check your rate online. This does not affect your credit score as Upstart will apply a soft credit inquiry.  

Step 2: Review loan offers  

You can select your loan amount and preferred loan term. You need to fill out a formal application and provide supporting documents. At this point, a hard credit inquiry will be carried out, which could temporarily ding your credit score.   

Step 3: Disbursement  

Once you’ve received approval and signed your loan agreement, you’ll receive a disbursement of your loan proceeds within one business day.  

Loan requirements 

5

Upstart considers many factors during a personal loan application. Some of these include:  

  • Credit score  
  • Loan amount  
  • Loan Purpose  
  • Education  
  • Employment  
  • Credit history  

To be eligible to apply for a loan, the following requirements must also be met:  

  • You must be residing in the United States
  • Be over 18 years old (19 years old if you are from Alabama or Nebraska)  
  • Meet a minimum credit score of 300
  • No bankruptcies or public records on your credit report
  • No accounts that are currently in collections or delinquent
  • You must be in full-time employment  

It’s important to note that the minimum loan amount of $1,000 varies by state. There is a $3,100 minimum for residents of Georgia, $2,100 minimum for Hawaii, $7,000 minimum for Massachusetts, $5,100 minimum for New Mexico, and $6,000 for Ohio.   

Loan terms, fees, and rates   

3

Loan terms can be 3 or 5 years, and rates vary on multiple factors. Typically, the lowest rates are for borrowers with an excellent credit score.   

While there are no prepayment fees, it’s important to keep in mind origination fees and late payment penalties during the application process.   

Origination fees can go up to 10% of the loan principal, and the fee is deducted from your loan proceeds. Late payment fees are 5% or a maximum of $15.  

In addition, there is an ACH return or check refund fee of $15 and a paper copy fee of $10.  

You can view the fees for an Upstart Personal Loan on their website.   

Repayment options  

5

You can make repayments with Upstart either by ACH, manual ACH, or check.   

Monthly repayments can be split into two installments that are either reoccurring or manual. With reoccurring payments, you can schedule two automatic payments per month. If you cannot set up an automatic payment, you can set up manual payments by visiting your account dashboard.  

Loan purpose   

5

Personal loans can be used to finance a range of projects, including (but not limited to):  

  • Debt consolidation  
  • Medical expenses  
  • Relocation or moving  
  • Education  
  • Wedding  
  • Vacation  
  • Athletic training  
  • Starting or expanding a business  

In addition, Upstart supports funding for education for most states. If you’re applying for a coding boot camp, you could be eligible to apply for a personal loan without a 4-year degree or job offer.

Residents of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Washington, or Washington, D.C. are not eligible to apply for a personal loan for educational purposes.   

Credit building  

3

While Upstart does not offer any credit-building tools, a personal loan calculator can be used to estimate repayments according to your loan principal and term.  

This can help you understand how much you can afford to borrow and your monthly repayments before you apply for a loan.   

Customer service  

5

To get in touch with Upstart, you can call 650-204-1000 (local) or 1-855-438-8778 (toll-free) from Monday to Sunday 6:00 AM PST to 5:00 PM PST. Alternatively, you can email [email protected] or send a message via the contact form on their website.  

There is also an extensive FAQ section on their website which can answer most questions about a personal loan application.   

On Trustpilot, Upstart has an excellent 4.9 rating with over 34,000 reviews. Many of the reviews advise that the process is really simple and easy and the support team is very knowledgeable.   

Safe and secure  

5

Upstart is committed to your privacy and security and takes measures to safeguard personal information and data.   

Is Upstart Personal Loans right for you?  

Upstart Personal Loans is best for borrowers with poor or insufficient credit history. Leveraging AI technology, Upstart considers non-conventional variables, such as education and employment, to determine the risk of lending to a borrower.   

With a fast application process and an overwhelmingly positive customer service experience, you can expect to receive a disbursement of your loan proceeds within 24 hours, provided you have met the requirements.   

However, Upstart charge high origination fees (0 – 10% of loan proceeds) and late payment fees. Borrowers with good to excellent credit looking for low fees should consider alternative lenders.   

Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Minimum loan amounts vary by state: GA ($3,100), HI ($2,100), MA ($7,000), NM ($5,100), OH ($6,000).

The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 5-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 24.74% and 60 monthly payments of $26.35 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $15,808 including a $591 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 5-year rates offered in April 2022. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.

While most loans through Upstart are unsecured, certain lenders may place a lien on other accounts you hold with the same institution. It is important to review your promissory note for these details before accepting your loan.

Although educational information is collected as part of Upstart’s rate check process, neither Upstart nor its bank partners have a minimum educational attainment requirement in order to be eligible for a loan.

If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.