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Updated: Jan 04, 2024

Upstart Personal Loans 2024 Review

Learn about personal loans from Upstart, an online lender that also considers your education, career prospects, and job history when reviewing your application.
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Upstart website
Upstart website

Upstart Personal Loans Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Considers your education, area of study, and job history for loan approval
  • Quick and easy application process
Cons
  • No borrowing terms greater than 5 years
  • Origination fee applies
  • Potential for a high interest rate

Amount and Duration

Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $50,000, so you can use it to help with large and small expenses.

Depending on the loan size, your payback period will be either 3 or 5 years. Larger loans will have a more extended payback period.

There's no prepayment fee, so you can repay the loan as quickly as you'd like.

Qualification Requirements and Fees

Upstart does not publish minimum requirements for a loan, but its unique risk assessment protocol might give you a better chance of qualifying through Upstart than another lender.

The only fee you'll have to pay on an Upstart loan is a 2.8% - 8% origination fee.

Upstart Personal Loan Calculator 

Get Approved Based on Future Potential, Not Just Credit Score

What sets Upstart apart from other personal loan providers is how the company approves your loan.

Most companies will do little more than look at your credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio before deciding. Upstart considers those factors as well as your future earning potential.

Research has long shown a correlation between educational attainment and lifetime income.

College graduates are likely to make more than $1 million more than those who do not attend college throughout their careers.

When looking at a loan application, Upstart considers your educational attainment. You can qualify or secure a low-interest rate better if you're well-educated.

Similarly, if the field you're educated in is in high demand and tends to pay high salaries, Upstart considers that even if your current income level is on the lower end.

Job history matters too

Another factor that the lender considers is your job history.

Most lenders just check to ensure you're currently employed and make the amount you claimed on the application. They don't care how secure your job is or that you've held it for the past ten years.

Upstart understands that if you have a secure job that you've stuck with for a while, you're less likely to lose your source of income.

That makes you a much lower default risk than someone who works seasonal jobs or in an industry with a high turnover.

If you're less likely to lose your income, you're less of a risk for Upstart, giving you a better chance to qualify or pay a lower interest rate.

Because all these extra factors are considered, you can find a better deal with Upstart than other lenders. Of course, if your education or job history is less than stellar, you might be better off with a lender who only looks at your credit report.

How Long Does It Take to Get the Money?

Upstart disburses funds the day after you're approved.

Since most loans are approved the same day you apply, you can get your loan very quickly. That makes Upstart a great choice for emergencies where you need cash now.

How to Get Approved for a Personal Loan

When you apply for a personal loan, the lender must research you and your financial life. That research is necessary for the lender to determine how much risk it is taking by lending money to you.

When you apply for a loan, you'll need to provide information such as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Proof of identity, such as a driver's license
  • Social Security number
  • Annual income
  • Proof of income, such as bank statements or pay stubs.
  • Verification of employment

It can be not very pleasant to have to give so much information.

However, the more info the lender asks for, the better. The more a lender knows about the people who borrow from it, the better it can assess its risk.

If a lender can assess its risk accurately, it can offer lower interest rates as it has a better sense of how many borrowers will default.

Borrowing from a lender that asks for much-identifying information will often get you a better deal than a lender with low application standards.

Improving Your Chances of Qualifying for a Personal Loan

Once you've decided to apply for a personal loan, you can take a few steps to improve your chances of qualifying for the loan.

Lenders always look at your credit score when you apply for a loan, so improving your credit score should be a priority.

Though a long history of on-time payments is the best way to improve your score, there are some short-term steps you can take.

One way is to reduce your credit utilization ratio.

The more debt you have compared to your credit limit across all your credit cards, the lower your credit score will be. This is because maxing out your credit cards is a red flag to lenders.

Your credit card utilization is calculated monthly, and utilization history isn't tracked.

That means that if you pay down your credit card debts or don't use your cards for a month so that they have no balance, your utilization ratio will improve, improving your credit score.

Paying down your credit card balances will also help with your debt-to-income ratio.

The more debt you have compared to your income, the harder it will be to find money to pay your bills.

You can lower this ratio by increasing your income or paying off your debts. Either will make you more attractive to lenders.

If you have derogatory marks on your credit report, such as a late or missed payment, you can try to negotiate a pay-for-delete agreement with the lender.

Under such an agreement, you pay the lender what they are owed, and they remove the mark from your credit report. Most lenders are primarily concerned with getting their money back and will gladly negotiate with you.

Review your credit report for any errors or mistakes that could hurt your chances of loan approval. Dispute these errors to have them removed.

Personal Loans from Other Lenders

If you've decided to apply for a personal loan but don't want to work with Upstart, consider these other lenders:


Lending Club

Lending Club isn't a traditional bank.

Instead, it facilitates peer-to-peer personal loans. That means if you borrow $10,000 from Lending Club, you might borrow $100 from 100 different people.

When you apply for a loan, Lending Club will provide the (anonymized) details of your loan to Lending Club investors, who can decide whether to fund the loan.

Anyone can invest in personal loans through Lending Club, so your money will go to regular people instead of going into the pocket of a big bank. The downside is that it can take longer to get your loan because the funding process can take some time.

When you make your monthly payment, Lending Club divides the payment among the people who lent money to you.

Lending Club offers loans up to $40,000.

Santander Bank

Santander Bank offers personal loans ranging from $5,000 to $35,000.

It authorizes loans for various needs, such as loan consolidation, home improvement, or unexpected bills.

All of Santander's loans have a fixed interest rate, so you'll know precisely what you'll have to pay each month throughout the life of the loan.

If you already bank with Santander, you can take advantage of an interest rate reduction. If you enroll in Autopay using a Santander checking account, your interest rate will automatically be reduced by 0.25%. That can yield significant savings over the life of a loan.

Discover

Discover is well known for its credit cards but also offers banking services, including personal loans.

You can borrow as much as $35,000 with payment plans that last seven years.

That gives you plenty of flexibility to repay the loan on your terms.

Discover offers several benefits for its loans. There is a thirty-day return policy with no penalties or interest.

You also get access to a 100% US-based customer support staff.

Discover's lending experience allows it to fund loans incredibly quickly.

Most loan decisions are made the day you apply, and money can arrive in your account as soon as one day later. Discover is an excellent bank to work with if you need money right now.

Conclusion

Your search for personal loans may be difficult if your credit score isn't unique or you can't get a great rate or loan amount from another lender.

Upstart allows you to use non-traditional approval criteria to secure a better deal on your loan.

This lender could be your best choice if you have a vital education, career trajectory, or job history.