Editorial Review

Upstart Personal Loans: 2020 Review

Upstart is an online platform that partners with banks to provide personal loans to borrowers with short credit histories but regular income and high earning potential.

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Our Take


NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Upstart is a good option for those who have short credit histories and promising financial futures.



Min. Credit Score


Est. APR

6.27 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $30,000

Pros & Cons


  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Fast funding.


  • Origination and late fees.

  • No secured or co-sign option.

Full Review

To review Upstart, 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.

Upstart personal loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including debt consolidation, medical expenses, home improvements and college tuition. Most borrowers use their funds to consolidate debt, according to the company.

Upstart’s underwriting helps younger applicants or others who have thin or no credit history but high earning potential qualify for a loan, according to a company spokesperson. The company uses machine learning models to assess factors such as college degrees, area of study and job history when reviewing loan applications.

Best for: NerdWallet recognizes Upstart among our list of best personal loans for borrowers with fair to bad credit.

Credit requirements: For applicants with a credit history, Upstart requires a minimum credit score of 580 in most states, no recent bankruptcy or delinquent loans and fewer than six inquiries on a credit report in the past six months, not including inquiries related to student loans, car loans or mortgages.

Fast funding: Upstart provides quick loans that typically fund the next business day after approval, except for loans for educational expenses, which are subject to a three-day waiting period.

Direct payment to creditors: For personal loans used to pay off credit cards, Upstart sends your loan proceeds to your credit card issuers to simplify the debt consolidation process.

Hardship program: Borrowers may be able temporarily suspend payments in the event of economic hardship (such as a job loss), subject to Upstart's approval.


  • Origination fee: 0.0% - 8.0%.

  • Late fee: 5% of past due amount or $15, whichever is greater.

  • Unsuccessful payment fee: $15 per occurrence.

How to qualify:

  • Minimum credit score: 580 (in most states).

  • Minimum credit history: None.

  • Minimum annual income: $12,000.

  • Must have a full-time job or offer starting in six months, a regular part-time job or another source of regular income.

  • No recent bankruptcy or outstanding delinquencies.

  • Loans aren't available in Iowa or West Virginia.

Loan example: Upstart’s average three-year loan has an annual percentage rate of 20%, according to the company. For a borrower with fair credit, a three-year, $10,000 personal loan at 21.8% APR would have monthly payments of $381, according to NerdWallet’s personal loan calculator.

Before you shop for a personal loan

Pre-qualify on NerdWallet

NerdWallet recommends comparing loans to find the best rate for you. Click the button below to pre-qualify on NerdWallet. You may receive personalized rates from multiple lenders that partner with us, including Upstart. Pre-qualifying will not impact your credit.

How to apply with Upstart

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

Personal Loans Rating Methodology

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.