Upstart Personal Loans: 2017 Review

Loans, Personal Loans, Personal Loans Reviews
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4 stars out of 5

NerdWallet rating: 4.0 / 5.0
Good for: Good credit, debt consolidation


Upstart makes personal loans to young borrowers who have short or no credit histories, but promising degrees and financial futures. The tech-focused company offers perks to those who take loans to learn how to code.

Upstart may be a good fit if:

  • Your FICO score, if you have one, is at least 620.
  • You have no credit history or too little to get a FICO score. Upstart considers other factors such as education, employment and income when approving loans.
  • You have a regular, verifiable source of income — a full-time job, part-time job or job offer letter.
  • You want a loan to build technical skills. Upstart partners with more than a dozen coding boot camps. If you’re accepted by one, you may qualify for a loan to cover tuition even if you don’t have a regular source of income, as long as you have a college degree.

Upstart at a glance

Typical APR6.37% – 29.99%
Loan amounts$1,000 – $50,000
Time to fundingTypically one day; three days for education loans
Origination fee0.0% – 6.00%
Soft credit check with application?Yes


»MORE: Fixed-rate loans for debt consolidation

Upstart personal loan review

To review Upstart, 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 product. Loan terms and fees may vary by state.

Upstart’s alternative approach to underwriting helps younger applicants or others who have little to no credit history but high earning potential, according to a company spokesperson. That’s because, in addition to using traditional factors like FICO scores and credit history to determine creditworthiness, the company uses computer models that assess factors like college degrees, area of study and job history.

Upstart’s average three-year loan has a 17% APR with monthly payments of $28 per $1,000 borrowed, according to the company’s website.

Accepted applicants typically get their funds the next day, except for loans for educational expenses, which are subject to a three-day waiting period. Students may need to supply additional documents, such as college transcripts, SAT scores or pay stubs.

If you’re new to credit, Earnest and SoFi also consider your academic background and job history in their loan decisions. But both lenders typically approve borrowers with excellent credit scores and very high incomes. Pave also considers those with thin credit histories and rewards borrowers who take a loan to improve their career or education with a lower interest rate.

»MORE: Other lenders for people who have good credit

How to apply for an Upstart loan

You can enter the amount you want to borrow on Upstart’s site and answer questions about your credit score, level of education and other details in order to see an estimated rate for a loan.

If you want to compare an offer from Upstart with those from other lenders, you can check rates with multiple lenders on NerdWallet using the button below. NerdWallet will check its lender marketplace and display the loans for which you qualify, so you can compare rates in one place. Checking your rate won’t affect your credit score.

More about Upstart

Upstart loan requirements

  • Minimum credit score: 620
  • Minimum income: None
  • Minimum credit history: None
  • Debt-to-income ratio: None, but generally 18%

Upstart terms

  • APR range: 6.37 – 29.99%
  • Loan amount: $1,000 – $50,000 (Minimum of $6,000 in Ohio and $7,000 in Massachusetts)
  • Loan duration: Three or five years

Upstart fees and penalties

  • Origination fee: 0% – 6.00%
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late fee: $15 or 5% of past-due amount
  • Insufficient funds fee: $15 per returned check or rejected ACH transfer

Before you take a personal loan

Consider other debt consolidation options

Check your credit report and know your financial strengths

Learn how personal loans work

Calculate payment scenarios

Have a plan for getting out of debt

Amrita Jayakumar and Jeanne Lee are staff writers at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: or Twitter: @ajbombay or @jlee_jeanne.

Updated April 28, 2017.

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. To ensure accuracy and consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Personal Loans team.

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