Upstart Auto Loan Refinancing: 2023 Review

Upstart offers auto loan refinancing, doesn’t require a minimum credit history, and matches you to the best lender with multiple offers.
By Shannon Bradley and  Whitney Vandiver 

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Our Take

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.

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Learn more

on Upstart's website

Pros & Cons


  • Offers pre-qualification with a soft credit check.

  • Works with a network of lenders to find the best offer.

  • Does not charge an origination fee.

  • Bases loan approval on a wider range of criteria.

  • Fully online application.

  • Customer service available on Saturdays

  • Provides Spanish version of website.


  • Not available in all states.

  • No co-borrowers or co-signers allowed.

  • No APR rate discount with automatic payment.

Compare to Other Lenders

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Full Review

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 says they consider over 1,000 data points for a more comprehensive view of a borrower’s creditworthiness, and that this 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 just 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 handles the title transfer and disbursement of funds to the borrower, the dealership or the prior lender.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Upstart is an auto loan aggregator, meaning it works with a network of lenders to match borrowers to loans. Aggregators can connect you to several lenders with one application. However, you should be aware that aspects of your loan — such as fees, customer service and how your personal information is used — will depend on the lender.

Upstart may be a good fit for those who:

  • Have a thin credit history: Upstart accepts applicants who don't have enough credit history to produce a credit score. Factors such as highest level of education 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 or 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.

Application process
  • Origination fee: None.

  • Personal information needed: Social Security number or ITIN, address, phone, email, date of birth, employment status, employer name, vehicle and insurance information and highest level of education.

  • Pre-qualification available: Yes, but borrower does not see multiple lender offers for comparison. Upstart presents the best lender match, with various rates and terms to choose from. Offers are good for 14 days.

  • Online, in-person or both: Process is 100% online including document upload.

  • Approval speed: After choosing an offer, approval can take up to two weeks for all information to be verified if additional documentation is required.

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 510.

  • Minimum credit history: Upstart accepts applicants with insufficient credit history to produce a credit score.

  • Minimum annual gross income: $12,000.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.

  • Bankruptcy-related restrictions: Yes, but Upstart did not disclose what they were.

  • States covered: All except NV and MD.

  • Maximum vehicle age: 12 years.

  • Maximum vehicle mileage: 140,000 miles.

  • Other vehicle restrictions: Vehicles registered as or used for commercial purposes.

  • Loan amount minimum: $5,000.

  • Loan amount maximum: $60,000.

  • Maximum loan-to-value ration: 185%.

  • Refinance restrictions: None.

  • Loan terms: 24-84 months.

  • Rate discount: None.

  • Greater-than-minimum payments: Yes, and can be made through automatic payment.

  • Biweekly payments: Yes, and accepted by automatic payment.

  • Late payment fee: Yes, the greater of $15 or 5% of past due amount.

  • Prepayment penalty: None.

  • Co-borrowers allowed: No.

  • Co-signers allowed: No.

  • Payment options: Mailed-in check, phone, online and ACH.

  • Selected payment due date: No.

  • Hardship plans: Yes. Upstart says it may be able to defer one month’s payment or reduce two months’ payments by up to 50%. Hardship information is provided on its website.

  • Offers cash-out refinancing: No.

  • Existing loan payoff: Upstart disburses funds to prior lender.

  • Assistance provided: Customer support team is available by email and phone six days a week to help applicants during the application process. Upstart also provides a Help Center on its website.

  • Availability: Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. ET; Sat, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET.

  • Contact options: Phone and email.

More for Upstart

Based in San Mateo, California, in addition to refinance loans, Upstart offers personal loans, small business loans and debt consolidation.

Its website offers resources for borrowers to assist in navigating the financial world, including articles to learn more about loans, interest and loan calculators and an FAQ page to better understand the loan application and payment process.

Many lenders quantify how much money they save their customers, and Upstart says it saves clients an average of $103 monthly in car payments. NerdWallet is unable to verify any of these claims.

Upstart auto loan rates

Credit requirements vary by auto lender, but Upstart’s lowest rates are typically available only to borrowers with good or excellent credit (a FICO score of 690 and above). With fair or bad credit you won’t get the lowest interest rates, which means your monthly payment and total interest paid will be more. 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 300-499 (considered deep subprime), a $20,000 used car loan, repayment term of 72 months, interest rate of 18% APR and $0 down payment would have monthly payments of $456. One year later, if all payments were made on time, the borrower will have paid the loan down to a balance of $17,963. If the borrower is able to then refinance at 12% APR for the remaining 60 months, the payment would drop to $399 and result in interest savings of $3,394 over the life of the loan.

To review Upstart, NerdWallet sent a survey requesting more than 60 data points and followed up with company representatives. This information was compared with other lenders that seek the same customer or offer a similar product.

Learn more

on Upstart's website

Frequently asked questions