The bottom line:
Best for applicants who would benefit from a more holistic view of their creditworthiness, including criteria like highest level of education and occupation.
Pros & Cons
Offers pre-qualification with a soft credit check.
Works with a network of lenders to find the best offer.
Bases loan approval on a wider range of criteria.
Customer service available seven days a week.
Provides Spanish version of website.
Not available in all states.
Maximum loan amount is lower than other lenders.
Compare to Other Lenders
Among lenders that offer auto loan refinancing, Upstart is unique in its approach to loan underwriting and approval. While other lenders rely most heavily on an applicant’s credit score, Upstart considers over 1,000 data points for a more comprehensive view of a borrower’s creditworthiness. According to Upstart, this approach, combined with an artificial intelligence platform and predictive modeling, results in approvals for more applicants.
Upstart also works with a network of lenders to match applicants to the best possible loan rate for which a borrower may qualify. To obtain these estimated rates, Upstart does a soft credit check which does not affect an applicant’s credit scores. When an applicant selects an offer and applies, a hard credit check is done.
Upstart stands out for simplifying the borrower’s end-to-end application process, which it says takes six minutes to complete from starting the application to seeing rates. Through integrations with the Department of Motor Vehicles in all states where Upstart offers loans, it can automatically pull vehicle details, such as VIN or license plate number, and existing loan information for auto refinancing applicants. Later in the refinancing process, Upstart also handles the title transfer and disbursement of funds to the borrower, dealership or the prior lender.
Upstart also services the loans it arranges, maintaining a relationship over the life of the loan. Borrowers have access to Upstart customer service seven days a week as well as an online portal.
Upstart may be a good fit for those who:
Have a thin credit history. Upstart accepts applicants who have an insufficient credit history to produce a credit score. Factors such as highest level of education or degrees in which an applicant is currently enrolled are taken into account.
Want to compare rates and terms. Upstart requests offers from its lending partners and determines the best lender match. Within minutes of submitting their information, applicants see multiple offers with various terms and rates from a single lender.
Speak Spanish. Upstart offers a Spanish-language version of its website, and Spanish-speaking representatives are available to assist.
Upstart at a glance
Note that lending platforms like Upstart work with many different lenders, so the information provided is general and can reflect the high or low end available among its lending partners.
» MORE: Auto loan refinancing lenders
More from Upstart
Some consumer advocates have concerns that AI-based lending and the use of nontraditional criteria can introduce bias to the credit decision process. In response, Upstart worked with government regulators in developing its lending platform and has implemented ongoing reporting procedures.
Because Upstart is new to auto loan refinancing, data specific to auto loan approval rates isn’t available yet. However, in 2019, a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau blog post stated Upstart’s underwriting model resulted in more approvals for personal loan applicants at lower rates than a traditional underwriting model. The CFPB noted that consumers with FICO scores between 620 to 660 were approved for personal loans twice as often as with a traditional credit model, and applicants younger than 25 were 32% more likely to be approved.
Upstart auto loan rates
Lenders set their own requirements, but Upstart’s lowest rates are typically available only to borrowers with good or excellent credit (a FICO score of 690 and above). Borrowers with bad or fair credit won’t qualify for the lowest interest rates.
You can check your credit score before applying for a car loan.
Loan example: According to NerdWallet's auto loan calculator that uses the VantageScore credit model, a borrower with a credit score of 501 to 600, a $10,000 car loan, repayment term of 36 months, interest rate of 12% and $0 down payment would have monthly payments of $332.
To review Upstart, NerdWallet sent a survey requesting more than 60 data points and followed up with company representatives. The information was compared with other lenders that seek the same customer or offer a similar product.
on Upstart's website
Frequently asked questions
In 2017, Upstart received the CFPB’s first no-action letter, which indicates the CFPB will not bring supervisory or enforcement actions against a company for unfair credit practices as it pertains to using alternative data for evaluating creditworthiness. Upstart uses alternative data, artificial intelligence and machine learning for loan underwriting and approval. In 2020, Upstart received a new no-action letter from the CFPB when the first one expired.
Upstart is an online lending platform that offers personal loan products, including auto loan refinancing. It is based in San Mateo, California. Upstart is accredited by the Better Business Bureau with a B+ rating.
Upstart offers a range of loan products, including personal loans and credit card consolidation. In 2021, it began offering auto loan refinancing through its artificial intelligence lending platform.