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LAST UPDATED: November 9th, 2021
Founded in 2012 by a team of ex-Google employees, Upstart is an online lending platform that doesn't just look at credit score when determining financing rates; the company's underwriting model analyzes the school attended, work history, area of study, and a variety of other factors. Upstart is slightly more lenient when it comes to lending.

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The Good

  • Unique underwriting process
  • Student loan refinancing
  • Good customer service
  • Low minimum loan requirement

Unique Underwriting Process

Unlike many other student loan refinancing companies, Upstart does not focus exclusively on credit score to determine interest rates. In fact, borrowers can expect a new and unique underwriting process that bases interest rates on a number of factors, including FICO score, years of credit, school attended, area of study, academic grades, and job history.

Student Loan Refinancing

In addition to a number of other loan services, Upstart offers student loan refinancing help. With Upstart, borrowers can apply for student loan refinancing for unsecured, fixed-rate personal loans.

Good Customer Service

Upstart's Silicon Valley-based customer service team is available to help from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM PST on weekdays, and 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM PST on weekends.

Low Minimum Loan Requirement

Besides a couple of exceptions, Upstart has an incredibly low minimum loan requirement of $1,000. The minimum for Ohio is $6,000, and the minimum for Massachusetts is $7,000.

The Bad

  • Fees
  • No variable interest rates
  • No cosigner option
  • Strict eligibility
  • Not upfront with information


While many leading companies in the industry do not, Upstart charges fees. Any monthly payments that are more than 10 days late will be charged a late fee of the greater of 5 percent of the unpaid amount or $15. Upstart also charges a one-time origination fee of 1 to 6 percent of the target loan amount.

No Variable Interest Rates

Unfortunately, Upstart only offers fixed interest rates. Many of the top companies in the industry offer both variable and fixed interest rates.

No Cosigner Option

Upstart does not allow borrowers to apply with a cosigner because student loan refinancing only takes an individual's personal income into consideration. This could be make it hard to get approved if the applicant is has a low income or is unemployed.

Strict Eligibility

Borrowers can expect strict eligibility requirements from Upstart, including a FICO score of at least 640 and no more than $50,000 in outstanding debt.

Not Upfront With Information

It is difficult and confusing to find information about Upstart's student loan refinancing program. Borrowers must sign up and verify their identity in order to see any specific program details or rates.

The Bottom Line

Upstart offers a variety of financial services, one being student loan refinancing. The company approaches the underwriting process in an interesting way and takes other factors into consideration besides just credit score. However, Upstart does charge origination and late fees and its eligibility requirements are strict.
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Andrea Thomas Tacoma, WA

Upstart helped me get to one payment a month. I saved on interest by 5% too! It made life way easier. They were great to work with and lived their online view. It was easy to manage, especially with automatic payments! I would recommend Upstart

2 years ago