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Is Upstart legit? If you’ve just heard about this direct-to-consumer lending platform, that’s a fair question.
In this comprehensive review, I will share all of the ins and outs of this platform and help you make an informed decision as to if it’s worth considering Upstart for your financial needs.
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What Is Upstart?
Upstart is a popular online platform that offers personal loans to US residents regardless of credit score or credit history.
The platform was founded in 2012 and uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to evaluate work experience, study skills, and other information provided on the loan application.
What sets Upstart apart from other personal loan providers is that its business model focuses on young borrowers or those with little to no credit history.
With Upstart, they prioritize income and the entire picture of the borrowers before approving loans.
As a result, Upstart has become with those who may not have a strong credit history, but have a promising financial future or ability to repay. It is recognized as one of the best personal loan providers for borrowers with fair, bad, or insufficient credit history.
The platform is lenient in terms of why you need the loan. It doesn’t matter whether it is for moving, home improvements, weddings, credit card consolidation, debt consolidation, medical loans. Upstart can offer you a personal loan at a reasonable rate.
How Does Upstart Work?
Upstart works with a number of banks to offer personal loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 to high-quality borrowers. Minimum loan amounts depend on the state you live in.
Upstart offers loans at rates as low as 6.18%. This means borrowers who qualify for the lowest rate may take a personal loan from Upstart and pay off another loan where the rate is higher.
Upstart has positioned itself as a technology-driven personal finance company. Its goal is to bring a change in the way a borrower’s creditworthiness is assessed and evaluated.
Upstart is now planning to sell its AI technologies to banks so that they can integrate them as a new revenue model.
Upstart’s policies are different from other personal loan providers as it isn’t focused on the same qualifications for credit risk. And their data has shown that their model is more efficient.
Therefore, it does not look for a high FICO score or lengthy credit history. Instead, it looks at ones repayment capacity.
How Upstart determines this, is at the core of its business model. It examines the educational background, performance, skills, and employment of the borrower.
If these parameters indicate that the person is likely to have bright financial prospects in the future, the company readily offers a personal loan even at a low interest rate.
How To Apply For A Personal Loan With Upstart
Applying for a personal loan with Upstart is an easy and simple process. All you’ll need to do is visit the Upstart website and make an inquiry for your rate. After that you can apply for a personal loan.
There is a “Check Your Rate” button on the site, which starts the process.
The application fields ask you basic information such as:
- How much would you like to borrow?
- Name, Date of birth, Address.
- 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?
The site claims that checking your rate won’t hurt your credit score.
Once you have provided all the information and submitted the online rate inquiry form, you will receive your rate.
If you are fine with the rate, you will have to fill out an online application form for the loan to be processed.
With your application, you may have to upload some documents pertaining to:
- Your bank account
- Social security card
- Proof of employment
- Work experience
- Credit information
- Academic history
After you have submitted the loan application, if accepted, you will receive an approval. At this stage, you will be asked to review disclosures and provide a promissory note with your signature.
A promissory note is a written legal document where one party promises to pay another party a specified sum of money, based on the terms of the document.
After signing the promissory note, the money will then be credited to your bank account in 1 to 2 business days.
How Much Does Upstart Charge?
The company mainly charges borrowers the following 3 types of fees:
- Origination fees
- Late payment fees and
- Return check fees
The company does not charge a prepayment fee. If you pay off the loan before the loan term, the company does not charge penalties.
Upstart charges between 0% to 8% of the loan amount as the origination fee. This is deducted from the loan amount before the money is credited to your account.
Upstart charges 5% of the amount due or $15, whichever is greater for late payments. Late payments are charged when a borrower fails to pay the minimum amount by the due date.
The platform also charges $15 for every returned check and $10 as copy fees.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Loan From Upstart?
According to Upstart, if approved, 99% of applicants get the loan in their bank account the next business day.
Upstart is an online lending platform that believes in cutting down on the processing time taken by traditional personal loans.
It has an entirely automated process with very limited human contact. It takes a maximum of 1 or 2 days to process and deliver the loan.
After you have made an inquiry for the rate, filled out and submitted the application, as well as the other required documents, you will get notified of the loan’s approval status.
If you accept the loan, it will be credited to your account in a day or two depending on what time of the day you have accepted the loan.
If you accept the loan by 5 pm Monday to Friday, the loan amount will be credited to your account the next business day. But if you accept the loan after office hours of 5 pm, you will receive the loan in your bank account in two business days.
Borrowers can also set up a monthly repayment plan and even pay off the loan before the term, without penalty as I mentioned.
What Credit Score Do You Need For Upstart?
With Upstart, a credit score of 580 is considered sufficient for applying for a personal loan in any state in the US. With the exception being you can’t have bankruptcies or deliquincies.
However, in some cases such as a personal loan for educational purposes, they might require a minimum credit score of 620.
If you don’t have a credit score of 620, you can increase your chances during the application process if you are sure to highlight your current and past employment, as well as academic achievements.
Will Upstart Hurt Your Credit?
According to the Upstart website, your credit score will not be hurt if you apply for a personal loan with Upstart.
However, if you stick to the repayment schedule and pay the monthly installments on time, your credit score stands to increase. And when you pay off the loan in full, your credit should also improve.
Some borrowers have reported that after being denied credit from Upstart, their credit report was negatively impacted. And some borrowers with already poor credit who have tried to use Upstart for debt consolidation have noticed that rejections have hurt their credit standing.
So while it may not hurt your credit if you’re approved, you could see a ding on your credit if you are rejected and already have poor credit.
Upstart states on their site that they only do a soft inquiry first. And then when you accept the loan, they do a hard credit check, which will impact your score.
NOTE: Upstart will report you to the credit bureaus when you do take out the loan as well as your repayment information, so keep this in mind.
Defaulting on a Loan
Your credit score will most certainly take a hit if you default on payments. Or if you fail to pay off the loan in during the timeline set forth in the terms of the loan.
As I mentioned above, the minute you take out the loan you will be reported to the credit bureaus from that point on.
Does Upstart Require Collateral?
An Upstart personal loan does not require any collateral. The only collateral it requires is your personal guarantee (signed promissory note) and some proof of your financial ability to pay back the loan.
Although they don’t require collateral, the do require a few things. Here’s a list of some of the conditions for a personal loan with Upstart:
- The borrower must be at least 18 years of age and 19 for some states, such as Alabama and Nebraska.
- Must be a US citizen or permanent resident.
- You will need to have a valid email account.
- Should be able to verify name, Social Security number, date of birth.
- Proof of a regular income.
- You will need to have a US bank account.
Does Upstart Require Proof of Income?
Upstart or any other lender of a personal loan does require a proof of income to be certain of your ability to repay the loan.
1) Proof of Income
This can usually be accomplished by providing pay stubs, salary slips, bank statements for the past few months, or a letter issued by your employer.
These are all considered to be sufficient for proof of income in order to get a personal loan.
2) Full-time or Part-time Job
The borrower should have a full-time job or an offer of full-time employment to begin within 6 months of getting the loan.
A part-time job that is steady and reliable or any other source of regular income would be sufficient to show the lender that you will have a regular source of income.
3) Loan amount, APR, and Terms
The maximum loan amount that Upstart or any other lender sanctions would be in relation to the income of the borrower.
Upstart states that they make loans from $5,000 – $30,000 at rates from 6.18% – 35.99% APR depending on your state. The terms of the loan that they offer are 3-year and 5-year terms.
Is Upstart Legit?
To date, over 529,000 loans have been taken out with the Upstart platform as of April 1, 2020. According to their own internal surveys, they state that 9 out of 10 people who have used Upstart, reported that they would recommend to others.
Some reviewers pointed out that they received a soft offer, but were denied the loan later after the company did a hard check. Upstart maintains that it cannot guarantee approval after initial soft approval.
Upstart has received $165 million in funding from Google Ventures and some other PE and Venture Capital funds. Its latest market value is $750 million. In terms of finances, it seems to be on firm footing, pacing to be a major player and promising Fintech start-up.
There are plenty of reviews that speak generously about the company’s promptness in processing the applications, giving approvals, and speed at which the funds were delivered.
Upstart currently carries an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has been accredited since 2015.
On the LendingTree and Trustpilot review platforms, a high majority of reviewers recommend Upstart.
Most reviewers have praised the platform’s customer care department for its politeness and courteous behavior. While many reviewers were happy about loan application outcomes, some pointed out that the unsuccessful applications had a negative impact on the credit reports.
The Upstart loan platform has its pros and cons. But for those who have poor credit or lack credit history it might be worth a try.
There are drawbacks such as high origination fees and such, but the platform has a solid reputation in the industry and offers loans to people who might struggle with other platforms.
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Is Upstart loan legit?
To date, over 529,000 loans have been taken out with the Upstart platform as of April 1, 2020. According to their own internal surveys, they state that 9 out of 10 people who have used Upstart, reported that they would recommend to others. Upstart currently carries an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and they have been accredited since 2015.
Will Upstart hurt my credit?
According to the Upstart website, your credit score will not be hurt if you apply for personal loan with Upstart. However, Upstart states on their site that they only do a soft inquiry first and then when you accept the loan they do a hard credit check, which will impact your score. Also, they will report you to the credit bureaus when you do take out the loan as well as your repayment information, so keep this in mind.
What credit score do you need for Upstart?
With Upstart, a credit score of 580 is can get you in the door if you don’t have any bankruptcies or delinquencies. However, in some cases such as a personal loan for educational purposes, they might require a minimum credit score of 620.
How long does it take for Upstart to deposit money?
If all goes well, and you meet the eligibility criteria, you can get the loan money in your bank account by the next business day. Upstart has an entirely automated process, with very limited human contact. It takes a maximum of 1 or 2 days to process and deliver the loan.