Advertiser Disclosure

Upstart Personal Loans: 2018 Review

Loans, Personal Loans, Personal Loans Reviews
You can trust that we maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments; however, we receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners and get approved. Here's how we make money.

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 of $12,000 or more annually — 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 APR9.48% – 29.99%
Loan amounts$1,000 – $50,000
Time to fundingTypically one day; three days for education loans
Origination fee0% – 8.00%
Soft credit check with application?Yes

Clicking the button below will take you to a pre-qualification form on NerdWallet. You’ll find out whether you qualify for an Upstart loan and at what rate.


»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 personal loans 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 an annual percentage rate of 16% with monthly payments of $33 per $1,000 borrowed, according to a company spokesperson.

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.

»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, click the button below to fill out a pre-qualification form. NerdWallet will check its lender marketplace and display the loans and rates for which you qualify. Pre-qualifying won’t affect your credit score.

More about Upstart

Upstart loan requirements

  • Minimum credit score: 620
  • Minimum income: $12,000
  • Minimum credit history: None
  • Debt-to-income ratio: 45%

Upstart terms

  • APR range: 9.48% – 29.99%
  • Loan amount: $1,000 – $50,000 (minimum of $3,000 in Georgia, $7,000 in Massachusetts and $6,000 in Ohio)
  • Loan duration: Three or five years

Upstart fees and penalties

  • Origination fee: 0% – 8.00%
  • 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 shop for a personal loan

Updated Jan. 2, 2018.

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

About the authors