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Personal Loans

Upstart Competitors and Alternatives for Personal Loans

Upstart is an online lender that offers personal loans to borrowers across the credit spectrum by partnering with dozens of banks and credit unions. Founded in 2012, the platform provides loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000.

Upstart offers flexible credit requirements and a low minimum loan amount, but it might not be the best fit for everyone. 

We recommend you check several Upstart competitors before signing on the dotted line to ensure you’re getting the most affordable loan. If you’re trying to find the best personal loan for your needs, check out the Upstart alternatives below.

Why you may consider Upstart alternatives

Upstart’s loans offer plenty to like, but no single lender is the best fit for everyone. 

It might be wise to shop around and consider Upstart competitors for the following reasons:

  • Origination fee: Upstart charges an origination fee, which can be as high as 10% of the loan amount. Because this fee is deducted from your loan disbursement, you may need to borrow more money to ensure you get the amount you need. You may be eligible for a personal loan from another lender with no upfront origination fee if you have excellent credit.
  • No cosigners allowed: You can get approved for an Upstart personal loan even if you have a 300 credit score—the lowest possible. But if the interest rate you qualify for is too high, you can’t get a lower one by adding a cosigner to your application.
  • Inflexible repayment terms: Depending on the lender, you can often get a personal loan with repayment terms ranging from one to 12 years. With Upstart, however, your options are three years and five years, giving you less flexibility with your monthly payment.

Upstart alternatives for personal loans

LenderBest forRates (APR)
UpgradeFair credit8.49%35.97%
LightStreamExcellent credit7.99%25.99%
SoFiGood credit8.99% – 23.43%
Happy MoneyCredit card debt10.50%29.99%

Best for fair credit: Upgrade

LendEDU rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • Credit health tool to monitor your credit score and get personalized recommendations
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 – $50,000
  • 15-day grace period before late fee is assessed

Upgrade offers personal loans to those with poor or fair credit. The lender offers flexible loan amounts and repayment terms, but its upfront origination fee can be pricey.

Its interest rates aren’t the best on the market, but it allows cosigners, which can make it easier to get approved with a favorable rate. 

Qualify for a lower rate by signing up for autopay and using a portion of your loan to pay down other debts. You can also get up to 20% off your rate with an Upgrade Rewards checking account.

Best for excellent credit: LightStream

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Rate Beat program: Will beat a competitor’s offer by 0.10% APR if approved for a lower rate elsewhere
  • Unique satisfaction guarantee: Borrowers who are not satisfied with their loan experience can get a $100 refund
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000

LightStream is a subsidiary of Truist Bank that offers online personal loans for various  purposes.

The lender doesn’t charge an origination fee, and its repayment terms can go as long as 12 years for home improvement loans and boat, RV, and aircraft loans. However, the minimum loan amount is somewhat higher than other Upstart alternatives.

Another feature that sets LightStream apart from its competitors is that it will beat any qualified competing interest rate by 0.10%. It doesn’t offer prequalification with a soft credit check, so you must undergo a hard credit inquiry to gauge your approval odds and interest rates.

Best for good credit: SoFi

LendEDU rating: 5 out of 5

  • Fast, easy application: Get a decision in minutes
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000

Social Finance, SoFi for short, started as a student loan refinancing company in 2011 but has evolved into a full-fledged bank.

The lender’s personal loans are designed for borrowers with good and excellent credit, and it offers flexible loan amounts and repayment terms—but its minimum loan amount is high.

Best for credit card debt: Happy Money

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Checking your rate is free and won’t affect your credit score
  • 4-star average rating on Trustpilot
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $40,000

Happy Money, formerly Payoff, is an online lending platform that works with a handful of credit unions to provide loans for credit card consolidation. As of March 2023, the company has made $5.2 billion in loans since it was founded in 2009. 

Depending on your eligibility and preference, you may be able to get your loan funds into your bank account or have the lender pay off your credit cards. Happy Money does not offer loans in Massachusetts or Nevada.

Additional alternatives to Upstart

Upstart personal loans may be a viable option for borrowers in specific scenarios, but you might consider other alternatives to get financing for significant expenses or debt consolidation:

  • Other personal loans: As we detailed above, many other personal loans for borrowers with fair credit exist. And if you have a great credit score, you may qualify for a lower rate with one of the best personal loan companies.
  • Home equity loan or line of credit: For homeowners, a home equity loan or home equity line of credit may be more beneficial in terms of the cost of borrowing than an Upstart personal loan. Interest rates for home equity products are often in the single digits—unlike Upstart loans, which can be as high as 35.99%. Just watch out for closing costs and other fees.
  • Credit cards: If you have good credit, you may qualify for a credit card with a 0% APR promotion. These promotions can last six to 21 months, giving you time to make a large purchase or transfer a balance and pay it off interest-free.

Take your time to research and compare all your options to determine which is the best fit.

Recap of Upstart alternatives

LenderRates (APR)Credit score
SoFi8.99% – 23.43%Good to excellent
Happy Money10.50%29.99%640+