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Personal Loans

Upgrade Personal Loans Review

Best for Small Loans

4.9 /5
LendEDU Rating
Personal Loans
  • Choose your monthly payment and term length
  • Ability to adjust your payment date during repayment
  • Funds can be available within one day
  • Accepts joint applications
  • Check your rate without impacting your credit score
  • 1.85% to 9.99% origination fee
Rates (APR)8.49%35.99%
Loan amounts$1,000 – $50,000
Repayment terms24 – 84 months
Min. credit score580

You generally need good or excellent credit to qualify for affordable personal loans, but not everyone’s fortunate enough to be in those shoes. If that’s the case for you, Upgrade is a good option to consider.

Upgrade personal loans offer a wide range of loan types with several options for lowering your rate even further. It’s also a fast lender, an important consideration if you need funds now. We’ll help you decide if Upgrade is the right choice for you, or if another lender might be better. 

Table of Contents Skip to Section

  • Our Upgrade personal loan review
  • More about Upgrade

About Upgrade

Upgrade is a relatively new lender, having launched in 2017 out of San Francisco, California. Since then, it’s extended more than $24 billion in credit cards and loans, primarily to people who may not qualify for the best rates with other lenders. 

In addition to personal loans, Upgrade also offers a few other financial tools of note: a rewards checking account, a high-yield savings account, and a few different cash-back credit cards. This makes it a good option if you’re looking to keep all of your financial accounts with one digital bank. 

It’s important to note that Upgrade isn’t actually a true lender on its own. It’s a fintech company that pairs up with Cross River Bank and Suttons Bank to offer its loans, cards, and bank accounts. 

Upgrade personal loan at a glance

We’ll go more in depth with everything you need to know about Upgrade personal loans, but here are the quick highlights:

Minimum credit score580
Minimum incomeNot disclosed
Fixed rates (APR)8.49%% – 35.99%%
Variable rates (APR)Not available
Rate discountsAutopay, debt payoff, and offering a vehicle for collateral. Discount amount unspecified. 
Loan amounts$1,000 – $50,000
Repayment period24 – 84 months
Unsecured or secured?Unsecured and secured available
Joint loans?Yes
Time to funding after approvalOne business day
Repayment assistance?Short-term hardship program
FeesOrigination fee: 1.85% to 9.99%

Late or returned payment fee: $10
Unique features$200 bonus for signing up for a checking account

Adjustable monthly due date

Can send funds directly to other creditors for debt consolidation loans

How does an Upgrade personal loan work?

Upgrade is an online-only lender, meaning you’ll have the best loan experience managing your loan digitally. If you run into problems or want to apply over the phone, you can also call the company.

Upgrade works by directing you to check your rate on its personal loans page. From there, it’ll show you a few different funding options. If you accept, you’ll need to submit a few more documents for a final verification check. 

If you’re approved, Upgrade will disburse your funds to your bank account. You’ll start repaying your loan with monthly payments until the entire balance is paid off. 

What can an Upgrade personal loan be used for?

Like most personal loans, you can use Upgrade personal loans for just about anything you want, with a few restrictions. You can’t use your loan funds for gambling, investing, post-secondary education expenses, or any illegal purposes. 

Upgrade will ask you what you’re planning to use the funds for during the first stage in applying for the loan. You can choose from several popular options like “pay off credit cards,” “debt consolidation,” “business,” and the handy catch-all, “other.”

Who’s eligible for an Upgrade personal loan?

One of the Upgrade’s biggest hallmarks is that it’s more accepting of lower credit scores than most other personal loan lenders. If you don’t qualify on your own or if you want lower rates, you have two options available: applying with a co-borrower or using a vehicle that you own for collateral. 

Keep in mind that if you default on an auto-secured loan, Upgrade can repossess your car. Applying with a co-borrower also means that the person is responsible for repaying the loan with you right from the start, rather than only having to pay it back for you if you default. 

CitizenshipU.S. citizens, permanent residents, or temporary residents with a valid visa
Employment statusEmployed or self-employed
State of residenceAll states and Washington, D.C.
Minimum age18 years (19 years in Alabama)
Minimum credit score580
Minimum incomeNot disclosed

What are the costs and fees of an Upgrade personal loan?

Upgrade takes several factors into account when calculating how much to charge you for a personal loan, such as your credit score, loan amount, term length, loan use, and more. 

  • All Upgrade personal loans are charged interest, ranging from 8.49%% to 35.99%%
  • You’ll also be charged an origination fee ranging from 1.85% to 9.99% of your loan amount, which will be taken out of your loan itself. 

For example:

  • If you apply for a $10,000 loan and Upgrade charges you a 9.99% origination fee, you’ll only receive a deposit of $9,001 in your bank account. 
  • Upgrade pockets the other $999 as its fee for offering you the loan, separate from the interest you pay. 

If you need a specific amount of funds, it’s a good idea to calculate your loan amount request in advance to account for the origination fee. The lower your qualifications, the more you’ll potentially pay in fees and interest. These, in turn, increase your monthly payment and make it more expensive to repay your loan.

For example:

  • If you paid the maximum interest rate (35.99% APR) over the course of three years on your $10,000 loan, you’d owe $458 per month.
  • By the time you paid off your loan, you would have made $6,487 in interest payments—that’s more than half of the amount you borrowed in the first place.

Upgrade is far more expensive than most lenders with stricter credit requirements. Even so, compared to alternatives like payday loans, it’s very affordable if you have fair credit. If you repay your loan without a hitch, it can even help you grow your credit so you can qualify for better rates later on.

How do you repay a personal loan from Upgrade?

Upgrade, like most other personal loan lenders, requires monthly payments until your loan is paid off. The amount of time it takes to pay off your loan depends on what type of loan you apply for, and what Upgrade offers you. Upgrade offers repayment periods from 24 to 84 months if you qualify. 

As with any personal loan, opting for a longer loan term means your monthly payment will be smaller and more manageable because you’ll be spreading your payments out over a longer period of time. 

A longer term length will be more expensive for you in the long run, however, since longer-term loans typically come with higher interest rates that you’ll be paying for a bigger stretch of time. That’s why most experts recommend choosing the shortest term length with monthly payments you can afford. 

Of course, you can always pay your loan off early if you like. Upgrade is similar to other lenders in that it doesn’t charge you any prepayment penalties.

Pros and cons of Upgrade


  • Quick funding times

    If you’re approved, Upgrade will send your money out by the next business day. Keep in mind your bank’s policies can also affect when you see it in your account.

  • Credit-inclusive lender

    You can qualify for a solo personal loan with a credit score as low as 580. If you’re not approved, or if you want lower rates, you can also offer a vehicle as collateral for a secured loan, or apply with a more creditworthy joint applicant. 

  • Free credit score updates

    Upgrade doesn’t offer free FICO score updates, but it does offer the next-best thing—your VantageScore, a close approximation. You can also get insights on ways to improve your credit score, and access to a credit score simulator.

  • Combined loan/checking bonus offer

    You can get up to $200 if you sign up for Upgrade’s Rewards Checking account at the same time as your loan and receive at least $1,000 in direct deposits within the first 45 days.


  • Lots of fees 

    Unlike some lenders that don’t charge origination fees, Upgrade does—and they’re rather expensive, too. You’ll pay a minimum of 1.85% of your loan amount for an origination fee.

  • No cosigner option

    You can use a car as collateral or apply with a joint applicant to qualify for lower rates, but you can’t apply with a cosigner. Not everyone will be comfortable with being a co-applicant because it’s more legally binding. 

  • Potentially high interest rates

    You may qualify for good rates if you have excellent credit. But if you don’t, you could pay rates more than twice as high as the average credit card rate. 

  • Poor customer satisfaction ratings

    Upgrade has many positive customer reviews on third-party websites, but consumer advocacy groups like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and J.D. Power give Upgrade a below-average score due to lots of complaints. 

There’s a lot to like about Upgrade if you don’t have stellar credit. It offers many other financial products to choose from, offers lower rates than alternative ways of borrowing cash, and can get your money to you fast. 

That said, increasing reports of complaints are a bit worrying, and unless you’re able to qualify for the lower end of the range of rates Upgrade offers, it could still be expensive. Furthermore, if your credit score is below 580 and you don’t have any other ways to qualify, you’re out of luck. 

The similarly-named Upstart may be a better personal loan choice in some cases. It offers a similar range of interest rates but it has no minimum credit score, making it a good choice if you’re totally new to credit-building. 

Is Upgrade a reputable lender?

SourceCustomer rating# of reviews
Trustpilot4.5 out of 539,580
Google4.8 out of 58,078
Better Business Bureau4.49 out of 52,874

Collected on October 2, 2023.

Upgrade certainly has an overwhelmingly positive reputation online among popular review websites, garnering thousands of five-star reviews. 

Some independent sources, such as J.D. Power, give Upgrade a rather low score, however. In 2023, Upgrade was ranked sixth from last in terms of overall customer satisfaction for personal loans. 

Consumer complaints against Upgrade have also been increasing over the past few years with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Does Upgrade have a customer service team?

Upgrade’s customer service team can help with any problems from start to finish for an Upgrade loan, including applying over the phone. 

The customer support team is based out of Phoenix, Arizona, and operates Monday through Friday from 5:00 a.m. PT to 6:00 p.m. PT, and on the weekends from 6:00 a.m. PT to 5:00 p.m. PT. 

Here are the various routes you can use to get ahold of someone:

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Live chat: Available in your online account
  • Phone number: 844-899-9931
  • Mailing address: Upgrade, Inc. 1 North Central Ave, Flr 10, Phoenix, AZ 85004

How to apply for an Upgrade personal loan

Upgrade’s personal loan application process works much the same as with other companies. You’ll get prequalified first to see your loan options, which won’t impact your credit score. If you’re happy with the options presented, you can proceed with a full application which may impact your credit score. 

Here’s how it works, step by step:

  1. Get prequalified: Head to Upgrade’s personal loan page. Enter in the amount you need to borrow and the reason why you need the loan, then click “Check Your Rate.”
  1. Fill out the prequalification form: Enter a few basic details about yourself such as your name, contact information, and Social Security number. 
  1. Receive a preliminary loan offer: Upgrade will present you with a few loan options based on the information you provided. This only takes a few minutes.
  2. Check with other lenders: It’s always a good idea to check your rate with at least two other personal loan lenders; ideally more. Each lender may offer very different pricing. 
  3. Complete a full loan application: If you’re happy with Upgrade’s loan offer, you’ll need to provide copies of a few documents, such as your ID, bank statements, and pay stubs.
  4. Receive a loan decision: Upgrade will do a final check of your documents and notify you whether you’ve been approved for a loan or not.
  5. Receive funds: If you’re approved, Upgrade will send the funds to your bank via ACH transfer by the next business day. It may still take a day or two to see the funds in your account, however, depending on your bank’s funds availability policy. 

What if I’m denied a personal loan from Upgrade?

Upgrade doesn’t look at the entire picture to see whether you meet the loan requirements until you complete a full loan application. That means it’s possible you could be prequalified, but then denied if you don’t meet Upgrade’s requirements for credit history, employment and income, other debt payments, and more. 

If that happens, Upgrade will issue you an Adverse Action Notice that will list out the exact reason why you were denied for a personal loan. You can reapply for another Upgrade loan in as little as 30 days if your situation has changed. You can also consider applying with another personal loan lender. 

Upgrade personal loan FAQ

Can you have more than one Upgrade personal loan?

It’s possible to have more than one Upgrade personal loan out at once if you qualify. Upgrade doesn’t provide any details on who qualifies for multiple personal loans, but you may stand better odds if you have a good credit score, a strong income, and haven’t missed any previous Upgrade loan payments. 

Can you pay off an Upgrade personal loan early?

Yes, you can pay off Upgrade personal loans at any time without any prepayment penalty, either in full or in part. You can find the information to pay off your loan in your online account under the “Manage Payments” section. 

How we rated Upgrade

We designed LendEDU’s editorial rating system to help consumers identify companies that offer the best financial products. Our experts spend hours researching these companies each year to ensure our ratings are fresh and accurate.

Our most recent evaluation compared Upgrade to several personal loan lenders across a number of factors, including rates, loan amounts, customer reviews, repayment details, and eligibility requirements. We weighted, scored, and combined these factors to produce a final editorial rating. This rating is expressed on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest possible score. We round all ratings to the nearest tenth decimal place.

ProductBest forOur rating
Personal loanBest for fair credit4.9 out of 5View rates