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Upgrade Personal Loans: 2018 Review

Sept. 19, 2018
Loans, Personal Loans, Personal Loans Reviews
NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

4 stars out of 5

NerdWallet rating: 4.0 / 5.0
Good for: Debt consolidation

Upgrade personal loans are designed for mainstream appeal across demographics, supporting a wide range of credit scores and incomes.

Upgrade is a good fit for borrowers who:

  • Have a credit score of 620 or higher. Borrowers’ average credit score is 685.
  • Have $1,000 or more left over after paying your bills each month
  • Do not reside in the following states where Upgrade loans aren’t available: Connecticut, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Vermont or West Virginia

Upgrade loan terms and rates

Loan amounts$1,000 - $50,000
Typical APR6.99% - 35.97%
Origination fee1% - 6%
Time to funding24 hours
RepaymentsMonthly over 3 or 5 years (payment plans can be renegotiated)
Soft credit check?Yes
How to qualify
  • Minimum credit score of 620
  • $1,000 of free cash flow after monthly expenses
  • Debt-to-income ratio of less than 40%
Best forDebt consolidation, borrowers with strong cash flow
Click "Check Rates" to apply on Upgrade.

» MORE: Best loans for debt consolidation

Upgrade personal loan review

To review Upgrade, NerdWallet collected more than 30 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives, completed the online loan application process with sample data, and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. Loan terms and fees may vary by state.

To qualify for an Upgrade loan, you must have at least $1,000 left from your monthly income after your expenses are paid. Upgrade’s attention to this metric, known as free cash flow, is intended to keep people from borrowing more than they can afford by “having a pretty high bar in terms of how much free cash you really have at the end of the month,” says Upgrade co-founder and CEO Renaud Laplanche. (Leplanche is the former head of online lending pioneer LendingClub.)

Here’s a closer look at features offered by Upgrade:

  • Credit health tools: Upgrade offers tools to help consumers understand their credit, including credit monitoring, alerts, a credit simulator and access to free educational content.
  • Programs for hard times: Consumers who experience a sudden hardship, like a job loss, may qualify for a temporary reduction of their monthly payment or a permanent loan modification that extends the length of the loan.
  • Line of credit: Upgrade offers a personal line of credit up to $50,000, a unique product among online lenders. Advances on the line will have fixed rates and terms that will vary from 12 to 60 months. You can join the waitlist here.  

Loan example: For a borrower with good credit, a $5,000 personal loan with a repayment term of 36 months at 18% APR would carry monthly payments of $181, according to NerdWallet’s personal loan calculator.

How Upgrade compares



6.99% - 35.97%

Min credit credit score


Max debt-to-income ratio


Best for

Borrowers with strong cash flow


6.95% - 35.99%

Min credit score


Max debt-to-income ratio


Best for

Good credit


5.81% - 15.37% (with autopay)

Min credit score


Max debt-to-income ratio


Best for

New credit borrowers

Compare rates on NerdWallet. Click to see estimated rates from multiple lenders.

Prosper’s credit score requirements and rates are similar to Upgrade’s. However, Prosper has a higher maximum debt-to-income ratio, helpful for borrowers who have more debt.

SoFi is one of the few other online lenders that considers free cash flow when reviewing applications. SoFi may be better than Upgrade for people with thin credit files because it doesn’t have a credit history requirement.

Upgrade does not accept co-signers. FreedomPlus and LendingClub are two lenders that do, with credit score requirements similar to Upgrade’s.

How to apply for an Upgrade loan

You can check rates on Upgrade’s website with no impact on your credit score. You’ll need to enter your address, date of birth, income and other details to see individualized loan offers. To apply, choose the amount and length of the loan you want and fill out the detailed application. Upgrade does a hard credit check before finalizing the loan.

NerdWallet recommends comparing loans to find the best rate for you. Click the button below to see estimated rates from multiple lenders on NerdWallet.


Before you shop for a personal loan:

Personal Loans Ratings Methodology

NerdWallet’s ratings for personal loans awards points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks, no origination fees, payment options, short time to funding, interest rate caps of 36%, and absence of prepayment penalties. Features are considered for their positive impact on consumers’ credit history and financial health. We only review lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation of any sort for our reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

5 stars out of 5 — Among the very best for consumer-friendly features

4.5 stars out of 5 — Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features

4 stars out of 5 — Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features

3.5 stars out of 5 — Good; may not offer something important to you

3 stars out of 5 — Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features

2.5 stars out of 5 — Poor; proceed with great caution

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