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Personal Loans

Upstart Personal Loan Review

Best for Thin Credit

4.8 /5
LendEDU Rating
Personal Loans
  • Rates are determined by more than just your credit score
  • Funds can be available in as little as one business day
  • Checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
  • An origination fee of up to 12%
Rates (APR)7.80% – 35.99%
Loan amounts$1,000 – $50,000
Repayment terms36 or 60 months
Min. credit score580

Upstart is a leading choice for personal loans, especially for borrowers with thin or minimal credit histories, because of its innovative approach to credit assessment. 

Unlike traditional lenders primarily focusing on credit scores, Upstart employs an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven model that considers various factors beyond credit history, such as education and employment. This method opens doors for young adults and first-time borrowers with a limited credit history but other strong credentials.

Our editorial team rates Upstart personal loans at 4.8 out of five. It earns this high rating with its user-friendly application process, quick funding times, and flexible loan options. The ease of applying and the broader criteria for loan approval make Upstart an excellent option for those starting their financial journey.

About Upstart

Founded in 2012, Upstart aims to leverage AI and machine learning to streamline the personal loan borrowing process, making it more accessible and fair. 

Upstart’s unique model opens up the possibility of obtaining a loan for borrowers other personal loan lenders might overlook due to a lack of extensive credit history. This includes young professionals, recent graduates, or anyone just beginning to establish their financial footprint. Upstart’s system also evaluates education, job history, and potential earning capacity for a more holistic view of an applicant’s financial health.

The ideal borrowers for Upstart are diverse, but the platform resonates with those who are tech-savvy and seeking a fast, efficient loan application process. It’s well-suited for individuals with limited credit history but strong educational or professional backgrounds. 

Upstart’s approach aligns with the needs of modern borrowers who value speed, convenience, and a more comprehensive assessment of their financial standing.

Upstart personal loan at a glance

Keep reading because we’ll delve into the specifics of Upstart’s personal loan terms and details. Here’s a quick snapshot:

Minimum credit scoreNone 
Fixed rates (APR)6.40% – 35.99%
Loan amounts$1,000 – $50,000 
Repayment period36 or 60 months
Unsecured or secured?Unsecured
Time to funding after approvalNext business day
FeesOne-time origination fee of 0% – 12%
Unique FeaturesFast online application

Approval for those with little to no credit history

How does an Upstart personal loan work?

Upstart personal loans offer a modern, streamlined approach to borrowing, making them an attractive option for many borrowers. Here’s how these loans work:

  • Credit assessment: Upstart stands out with its AI-driven credit evaluation. Its minimum credit score is 300—the lowest possible. The platform considers factors beyond traditional credit scores, such as education and employment. This approach broadens accessibility, especially for those with limited credit history.
  • Loan terms: Borrowers can choose loan amounts ranging from $1,000 to $50,000, accommodating various financial needs. Choose from a 36- or 60-month repayment term, which provides flexibility in managing repayment schedules.
  • Interest rates: Upstart offers fixed APRs ranging from 6.40% to 35.99%. This rate depends on multiple factors, including creditworthiness and the loan term. Upstart doesn’t use variable interest rates or disclose any rate discounts on its website.
  • Fees: An origination fee of 0% to 12% of the loan amount applies. This is typical for personal loans. This fee is often deducted from the loan amount before disbursement.
  • Repayment: Borrowers benefit from a 15-day grace period on late payments, offering a buffer in case of unexpected financial hiccups.
  • Loan management: Managing an Upstart loan is convenient and user-friendly. Borrowers can handle their loans on Upstart’s secure website or mobile app, available in the Apple and Google Play stores. These platforms allow borrowers to easily track balances, make payments, and access loan statements.
  • Funding speed: One of Upstart’s most valuable unique features is the speed of funding. Once approved, borrowers can expect funds as soon as the next business day—much faster than many traditional lenders.
Image from Upstart's website of a user managing their loan on their smartphone

Source: Upstart

What can an Upstart personal loan be used for?

Upstart personal loans offer flexibility, but like most lenders, Upstart has a few guidelines on how you can use the funds. 

  • Application disclosure: During the application process, Upstart requires borrowers to indicate the purpose of the loan. This information helps it tailor the loan offer to the borrower.
  • Permitted uses: You can use Upstart personal loans for many purposes, including debt consolidation, medical expenses, and home improvements. These loans provide a financial boost for significant life events or necessary expenditures.
  • Restrictions: Restrictions on the use of loan funds include:
    • Using the loan for illegal activities.
    • Investing the loan amount in stocks, bonds, or other securities.
    • Using the loan for gambling or speculative purposes.
  • Penalties for misuse: Borrowers who use the loan for any restricted purpose could face significant legal and financial repercussions. Upstart’s terms of service include clauses that address misuse of funds, which might lead to legal action or loan recall.

Be transparent about your intended use of the loan, and adhere to Upstart’s guidelines. This ensures a smooth borrowing experience and avoids any potential complications.

Who’s eligible for an Upstart personal loan?

Upstart uses criteria to help it ensure borrowers can repay, but it doesn’t rely solely on credit scores. Upstart’s approach is inclusive, considering various aspects of a borrower’s profile.

Upstart’s lack of a minimum credit score sets it apart from many traditional lenders. This aligns with its broader approach to credit assessment, considering factors including employment and education. 

You’ll need proof of a job or a verifiable job offer that starts within six months, highlighting Upstart’s focus on future earning potential. Upstart doesn’t allow joint applications or cosigners, so eligibility is based on the individual applicant’s credentials. 

CitizenshipSocial Security number required
Employment statusMust have a job or verifiable job offer within 6 months
State of residenceNot disclosed
Minimum age18
Minimum credit scoreNone 

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

Understanding the costs and fees of a personal loan is crucial. Be sure you grasp all the financial implications of your loan.

What affects loan costs?

  • Interest rates: Your APR from Upstart—falling in a wide range of 6.40% to 35.99%—depends on various factors, including creditworthiness, income, and loan amount. These rates affect the overall cost of borrowing.
  • Rate calculation: Upstart uses its AI-driven assessment model to calculate rates. This goes beyond traditional credit scores and can result in more favorable rates for borrowers with a limited credit history.


  • Origination fee: Upstart charges a one-time origination fee ranging from 0% to 12% of the loan amount. It’s unclear from our research how Upstart determines the origination fee. Upstart will deduct the fee, if applicable, from the loan amount before disbursement. This reduces the amount you receive.
  • Other fees: Upstart doesn’t assess prepayment penalties if you repay the loan early, but late fees may apply.

How Upstart compares with other lenders

Upstart’s rates are competitive, especially considering its broader credit assessment criteria. However, the origination fee can be higher than some lenders, which might affect the attractiveness of the loan for certain borrowers.

For example, say you take out a $10,000 loan with an APR of 15% and an origination fee of 5%.

  • Origination fee: 5% of $10,000 = $500. You’ll receive $9,500 because Upstart deducts the fee from your proceeds.
  • Monthly payment: For a three-year term, the monthly payment would be around $347.
  • Total cost over loan term: Including interest, the total repayment amount would be around $12,492—almost $3,000 more than the amount you receive.

You can see how the interest rate and the origination fee contribute to the total cost of the loan. Upstart’s approach can benefit those with limited credit history, but we recommend considering these costs when you get a quote from Upstart and comparing it to your other available options.

How do you repay a personal loan from Upstart?

Upstart designed repayment to be as straightforward and flexible as possible, accommodating various borrower needs.

Here’s how.

  • Payment options: Upstart offers multiple ways to make payments, including automatic electronic payments (ACH), checks, and even phone payments. This variety ensures convenience for borrowers, catering to different preferences.
  • Loan terms: Choose a fixed repayment term of 36 or 60 months—but once you sign the loan, these terms are no longer customizable. You’ll have set terms based on your initial agreement.

The term you choose affects the monthly payment amount and the total interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan. A shorter term means higher monthly payments but lower total interest, and a longer term spreads out payments but increases the total interest cost.

Upstart doesn’t assess a prepayment penalty for borrowers who pay off their loans early. Its fixed terms and the option for early repayment without penalties provide a clear repayment path. 

Borrowers can plan their finances accordingly, choosing to stick to the regular schedule or pay off the loan early if their financial situation allows. This makes Upstart a practical choice for borrowers seeking control over their loan repayment.

Pros and cons of Upstart

Before deciding on a financial product, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons to ensure it aligns with your financial goals and circumstances. 

Here’s a comprehensive look at Upstart’s strengths and weaknesses.


  • Innovative credit evaluation

    Upstart’s use of AI to assess factors beyond credit scores, such as education and employment, is a significant advantage for borrowers with limited credit history.

  • Fast funding

    The ability to get funds as soon as the next business day is a standout feature for those needing quick financial assistance.

  • No prepayment penalty

    This offers flexibility and potential interest savings for borrowers who might want to pay off their loan early.

  • User-friendly process

    Upstart’s online application is straightforward and efficient, appealing to those who value simplicity and speed.

  • Accepts lower credit scores

    Catering to individuals with scores as low as 300, Upstart is accessible to a broader range of borrowers.


  • High origination fees

    Upstart’s origination fee, which can be up to 12%, might make the loan more costly.

  • Limited term options

    Offering only three- or five-year loan terms may not suit everyone’s financial needs

  • Higher APR for some borrowers

    Individuals with lower creditworthiness might face higher rates, which can raise the overall loan cost.

Upstart might appeal to young adults and those with thin credit histories because of its innovative credit evaluation and fast funding. However, factors such as high origination fees and limited term options are potential downsides. 

Upstart is a strong contender in the personal loan space, but consider several alternatives so you can ensure you get the best deal, including:

LenderEditorial rating (out of 5)Best for
SoFi5Good credit
LendingClub4.7No best-for designation
Upgrade4.9Fair credit

Is Upstart a reputable lender?

To assess Upstart’s reputation, we’ve compiled customer ratings from several review platforms.

SourceCustomer ratingNumber of reviews
Trustpilot4.9 out of 544,750
Better Business Bureau (BBB)1.24 out of 5228
Google4.3 out of 5157

Reviews collected on December 21, 2023.

Upstart’s earns a mix of high and low ratings across different platforms. Trustpilot and Google reviews are positive, with many customers highlighting the ease of applying and qualifying for a loan. These positive experiences reflect Upstart’s commitment to user-friendly processes and accessibility for borrowers with diverse credit histories.

However, the low BBB rating suggests areas of concern. Common issues noted include high interest rates and difficulties in adjusting payment terms. Despite these criticisms, Upstart’s proactive approach to responding to every complaint logged by the BBB—495 in the last three years and 168 in the previous 12 months—indicates a lender willing to engage with customer feedback.

Upstart earns high marks for its application process and accessibility but could improve areas such as interest rates and payment flexibility. These insights, derived from various reputable sources, offer a well-rounded view of what to expect from Upstart as a lender. 

Does Upstart have a customer service team?

Upstart’s customer service team supports borrowers throughout their loan experience by assisting with applications and questions about loan repayment.

Here are the ways to contact Upstart’s customer service:

  • Send a message via the website (must have a login)
  • Call the toll-free number: 855-438-8778 (available 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific, seven days a week)
  • Email [email protected] 

How to apply for an Upstart personal loan

Applying for a personal loan from Upstart is user-friendly, with the ability to prequalify without affecting your credit score. This prequalification process allows applicants to check their rate and potential loan terms based on basic information, providing a glimpse of what they might expect without a formal credit inquiry. 

Only when proceeding with the formal application does Upstart conduct a credit check, which can affect your credit score.

Here are the steps to apply for an Upstart personal loan:

  1. Go online: Visit Upstart’s website and select the “Check your rate” option.

Source: Upstart

  1. Input information: Provide details such as your academic background, work experience, and the intended use of the loan. This step helps Upstart tailor the loan offer to your specific situation.

Source: Upstart

  1. Prequalification: Upstart will present you with potential loan terms based on the information provided. This stage does not affect your credit score.
  2. Formal application: If you agree with the offered terms, you can apply for the loan. At this stage, Upstart will perform a credit check.
  3. Document submission: Depending on your situation, you might need to submit additional documentation, such as proof of income or employment verification.
  4. Approval and funding: Once approved, the loan is typically funded as soon as the next business day, making the process quick and efficient.

The entire process, from checking your rate to getting funds, is fast—often within a few days.

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

If your application is denied, Upstart provides the reasons so you’ll understand what aspects of your financial profile need improvement. Knowing why you were denied can guide you in making the necessary changes before reapplying.

Applicants can reapply for a loan with Upstart, but we only recommend this after addressing the reasons for the initial denial. This might involve improving your credit score, stabilizing your employment history, or adjusting the requested loan amount.

Here are common reasons for loan denial:

  • Unfavorable credit history: Credit history isn’t the only area Upstart bases approval on, but it’s a consideration. If you’re denied for this reason, focus on improving your credit by paying bills on time, reducing debt, and avoiding new credit inquiries.
  • Insufficient income: A low income might not meet Upstart’s requirements (which weren’t disclosed on its website). Consider applying again once you have a higher or more stable income, or explore lenders with lower income requirements.
  • High debt-to-income ratio: This indicates that a significant portion of your income goes toward repaying debt. Work on paying down current debts before reapplying.
  • Incomplete application or documentation: Ensure you completed all required fields accurately and submitted the necessary documents. Missing or incorrect information can lead to a denial.

Understanding and addressing these issues improves your chances with Upstart and enhances your overall financial health.

Upstart personal loan FAQ

Can you have more than one Upstart personal loan?

Typically, a borrower can only have one active loan with Upstart at a time. However, Upstart may permit a borrower to have more than one under certain circumstances. 

This decision is based on various factors, including the borrower’s creditworthiness and financial history. Contact Upstart to understand its specific criteria and your eligibility for multiple loans.

Can you pay off an Upstart personal loan early?

Yes, borrowers can pay off their Upstart personal loan early without incurring any prepayment penalties. This flexibility allows borrowers to save on interest if they choose to settle their loan before the end of its term. 

Early repayment is an option that can benefit those who find themselves in a better financial position than they expected and wish to reduce their debt burden sooner.

How we rated Upstart

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 Upstart 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 borrowers with thin (little to no) credit4.8 out of 5View rates