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Rates determined based on education and work experience

Upstart is a peer-to-peer lending personal loan company that offers financial solutions primarily for recent college graduates and young professionals. Borrowers can obtain unsecured loans at fixed rates.

What separates Upstart from other personal loan online lenders is its unique approval process. For a recent college graduate, Upstart looks at other factors such as education and employment history instead of only credit history. Because this process is tailored to meet the individual applicant, Upstart states it is able to save its borrowers over 23 percent compared to high-interest credit card rates.

The Good

  • High Likelihood of Approval
  • Flexible Options, Fast Disbursements 

High Likelihood of Approval 

Upstart is an excellent choice of lender for applicants who have little to no credit history and a quality education or a high-paying job. Upstart personal loans are tailored to meet the needs of the individual applicants. This is especially helpful for young professionals or recent college graduates. There is a minimum credit score requirement of 620, but there are no minimum lines of credit or years of credit required in order to apply. Factors that go into determining eligibility include:

  • Education 
  • Areas of Study 
  • Job History 
  • Credit Score
  • Years of Credit 

Flexible Options, Fast Disbursement 

The loan application process is tailored to the needs of the applicant. This enables Upstart to pass on its savings directly to the borrower. This can be seen in its APR Range (lowest rate: 9.57 percent, highest rate: 29.99 percent), low fees, and competitive max loan terms (five years). 

The process is also incredibly fast. Most borrowers are able to receive their funds the day after they apply and are approved (it takes up to three days for education loans). It is at least a day faster than some top personal loan lenders.

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The Bad

  • Not Ideal for Debt Consolidation
  • Fees Can Add Up

Not Ideal for Debt Consolidation

Although the approval process is tailored to meet the needs of the individual applicant, being approved can be challenging. The average Upstart personal loan borrower has the following credentials:

  • Credit Score of Roughly 620
  • Debt-to-income Ratio of 18%
  • Mid-twenties to Mid-thirties

The above credentials can be difficult to meet because most borrowers are looking to consolidate debt, like credit card debt or student loans.

Fees Can Add Up

Upstart unsecured personal loans do have fees to consider. It enforces a loan origination fee of one percent to six percent. The loan origination fee is taken out of the loan before the funds are disbursed to you, so one percent to six percent of the total amount of the loan is taken out. This percentage is determined by how qualified the borrower is. The higher rates go to less qualified applicants.

Upstart also charges late fees at a standard rate of five percent or $15 (whichever is greater) on late payments. It's a good idea to make sure your monthly payments arrive on time. Unlike some of its competitor lending companies, Upstart does not charge a check processing fee or a prepayment penalty. A prepayment penalty is an additional charge for paying off a loan early.

The Bottom Line

When choosing a lending company from the online lenders, Upstart is a solid lender to consider for young professionals with a good credit score, but little to no credit or credit history. Its unique application process allows these individuals to receive competitive terms.

Potential borrowers should be aware of the loan origination fee and late fees. The good news is that there is no prepayment penalty or a check processing charge. Upstart unsecured personal loans are funded the day after an applicant has been approved, which makes them a good choice for someone in need of cash quickly.


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User Reviews


329 Reviews

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June 19th, 2015 New York, NY

Very responsive - but sometimes a little too much contact. Requesting documents I had already submitted several times was a little frustrating as I was worried they hadn't been received. However, everyone I talked to was very nice and the process was incredibly quick.

June 19th, 2015 Wynnewood, PA

The process was quick and simple. My communications with the company were polite and professional. Credit card debt can seem crushing and overwhelming. This changes people's lives. Thank you!!!

Julianne Todd
June 19th, 2015 Arlington, TX

Easy application process. I had my loan in less than 24 hours. Nice team to work with!

antonio sanchez
June 19th, 2015 Cumming, GA

I like that you look just more than the credit score to provide a credit, very easy to get the loan and efficient process.

June 19th, 2015 Clive, IA

Everything was clear and easy to understand. The process was so quick and the person I spoke with was very helpful!

June 19th, 2015 Dallas, TX

Perfect! Just how a loan process should be! Fair, fast, and just an excellent overall experience.

Joe foley
June 19th, 2015 Bryn Mawr, PA

Excellent customer service from everyone that was involved Would do business again in a hearbeat

Sam Eppler
June 19th, 2015 Milwaukee, WI

Overall a great and easy experience. I would suggest being more clear about the up front interest charge, allowing the borrower to set a reoccurring payment that is above there minimum payment, and allowing a borrower to get a lower interest rate based off of there credit score if they have one.

June 19th, 2015 Triangle, VA

Quick process and very friendly staff! Thank you!!!