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Upstart Personal Loans: 2021 Review

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Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Updated April 14, 2021

Overview of Upstart

Where many online lenders rely heavily on credit scores, Upstart uses artificial intelligence to assess more than 1,500 data points to offer fixed rate personal loans. It claims to fund 27% more loans than competitors and offer rates that are 16% lower than those of traditional models. In August, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau noted Upstart for expanding access to credit compared to traditional risk-assessment lending models.  Upstart itself isn’t a lender, but rather a lending platform, connecting eligible borrowers with lenders where they can get financing.
Pros and cons


  • Applicants with low credit scores may still qualify for funding
  • Money deposited in one business day, once accepted
  • You may be presented with multiple lending options


  • May have origination fee
  • 3- or 5-year loan terms are the only options offered
  • Other fees, like late payment, check refund, and paper copies, can add up

Upstart Personal Loan Terms, Rates, and Fees

Loan amounts: $1,000-50,000APR range: 6.76% - 35.99% (Updated as of 8/23/2021.)Origination fee: 0-8% of loan amountMinimum credit score: 600Time to funding: 1 business day Co-borrower needed: No

Other Lenders

As you research Upstart loan reviews, be sure to consider these other lenders.

What Types of Loans Does Upstart Offer?

Upstart is a lending platform that connects eligible consumers to lenders and banks offering unsecured personal loans up to $50,000. Qualifying applicants can use borrowed funds for many purposes—including debt consolidation, moving, home improvement, weddings, and more.Many consumers don’t qualify for unsecured personal loans because of their low credit scores, but that’s not necessarily the case with Upstart-connected lenders. The platform claims to use more than 1,500 data points (in addition to your credit score) to determine whether you may qualify for financing. Some of these alternate data points include the industry a person holds a job in, duration of their continuous work, salary increases over time, and education. What industry a person works in, how long they’ve been continuously employed, their salary growth patterns and how much education they have are all additional data points considered. 

Important to Keep in Mind

While your credit score may be less of a primary determining factor for your loan approval here, know that Upstart will look at things like your debt to credit ratio. And, if you have any bankruptcies or public records on your credit report, you may not qualify. The same goes if you have any reports of accounts that are in collections or delinquent, or have any balances past due. Upstart requires that you have fewer than six inquiries on your credit report in the last six months, not counting student loans, vehicle loans, or mortgages.

Applying for an Upstart Personal Loan

With Upstart, you can check your offers in just five minutes. The pre-qualification process is simple and won’t impact your credit score.

Upstart Loan Requirements

Upstart loan requirements are fairly straightforward. Some of their requirements are:
  • You must be a US citizen or permanent resident living in the U.S.
  • You must be 18 years of age or older
  • You must possess a valid email address and Social Security number.
  • You must have a full-time job (or full-time offer), steady income stream, or regular part-time job 
  • You must have a personal bank account
In addition to the requirements mentioned above,  you will generally need a minimum credit score of 600 to qualify. Upstart does, for instance, accept applications from those with insufficient credit histories to create  a FICO® Score. Upstart’s novel machine-learning system evaluates non-credit factors from the application -- including an applicant’s employment sector, income growth trends, educational choices, course of study, and even GPA. 

The Upstart Loan Application

The application form asks for some basic personal information like your name, address, and birthdate. You’ll also need to specify how much you want to borrow. Additional questions you’ll be asked include:
  • What is your highest level of education?
  • What is your primary source of income?
  • How much do you have in savings?
  • Have you taken out any new loans in the past 3 months?
You have the option to create a login so you can access your rate or apply for future loans.If you pre-qualify, you will be presented with loan offer options. Once you select the one you want, you’ll need to add and verify a personal bank account with your name on it.When a pre-qualified individual selects to submit an application to a lender, a hard inquiry will then be run. In most cases, if the application is approved, funds should get deposited by the next business day. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to get a loan online and haven’t found success through traditional lending channels, one of the lenders in the Upstart marketplace might be a better fit. Because it uses so many different data points beyond your credit score, you could stand a better chance of being approved for a loan if you otherwise have a positive financial history.Looking for more personal loan options? With Lantern's help, you can find the right one for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Upstart safe and legit?
What is the minimum credit score for Upstart?
Can you pay off an Upstart loan early?
Does Upstart require collateral?
Will Upstart hurt my credit?
How long does Upstart approval take?

About the Author

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. She enjoys writing about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.
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