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Upgrade Personal Loans: 2019 Review

May 20, 2019
Loans, Personal Loans, Personal Loans Reviews
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.
4.0 NerdWallet rating

Good for: Debt consolidation

Upgrade personal loans are designed for mainstream appeal, 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 strong cash flow. Upgrade requires applicants have $800 or more left over after paying bills each month.
  • Need to consolidate debts. Upgrade’s fixed-rate loans allow borrowers to pay off credit cards or consolidate other high-interest debts.

Upgrade loan terms and rates

Loan amounts$1,000 - $50,000
Typical APR7.99% - 35.89%
FeesOrigination fee: 1.5% - 6%

Late fee: Up to $10

Prepayment fee: None
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: 620
  • Minimum annual income: None, but most applicants have more than $30,000
  • Minimum monthly free cash flow: $800
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 60%
  • Unavailable to borrowers in: Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Vermont or West Virginia.
Best forDebt consolidation, borrowers with strong cash flow
Click "Check rates" to get started with 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 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.

Upgrade was founded by Renaud Laplanche, the former head of online lending pioneer LendingClub. The company offers personal loans, lines of credit, and credit monitoring and educational tools.

It’s one of few online lenders that considers loan applicants’ free cash flow. The idea is 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,” Leplanche says.

Best of 2019: NerdWallet recognized Upgrade among our list of Best Personal Loans of 2019 in the category of bad credit.

Pre-qualify with soft credit pull: Upgrade lets you check your rate and offers with a soft credit pull, which does not impact your credit score. If you accept the offer, a hard pull is triggered.

High debt-to-income ratio allowed: Upgrade requires borrowers to have a maximum DTI ratio, which is monthly debt payments divided by income, of 60%.

Line of credit: Upgrade offers a personal line of credit up to $50,000, a unique product among online lenders. Advances on the line have fixed annual rates of 6.49% to 35.89% and repayment terms that vary from 12 to 60 months.

Credit health tools: Upgrade offers tools to help consumers understand their credit, including credit monitoring, email alerts, a credit simulator and access to free educational content.

Hardship programs: 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.

Loan example: For a borrower with good credit, a $25,000 loan with a repayment term of 36 months at 18% APR would carry monthly payments of $904, according to NerdWallet’s personal loan calculator.

How Upgrade loans compare



7.99% - 35.89%

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


5.74% - 16.24% (with autopay)

Min credit score


Max debt-to-income ratio


Best for

High income, debt consolidation

Click “Check Rate” to pre-qualify and receive a personalized rate from multiple lenders on NerdWallet.

Prosper’s rates are similar to Upgrade’s. However, Prosper has a slightly higher minimum credit score requirement and a lower maximum DTI ratio.

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, although it borrowers typically have strong credit and income.

Like Upgrade, FreedomPlus and LendingClub also accept co-signers, with similar credit score requirements.

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 pull before finalizing the loan.

NerdWallet recommends comparing loans to find the best rate for you. Click the button below to pre-qualify and receive a personalized rate from multiple lenders on NerdWallet.


Before you shop for a personal loan:

NerdWallet’s ratings for personal loans award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks, no fees, transparency of loan rates and terms, flexible payment options, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus, and financial education. We also consider the number of complaints filed with agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This methodology applies only to 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.

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