Upstart Loans Review: Rates And Options

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When you need extra cash fast, you might feel like someone who has been wedged between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, although a credit card may enable you to access cash instantly without spending hours filling out forms and uploading documents, the ridiculously high interest rates may make you cringe in fear. A personal loan may come with lower interest rates but the funds may not come fast enough for your needs. Upstart attempts to give borrowers a test of both worlds by availing loan funds as early as the next day. In this review, we compare Upstart loans with other personal loan lenders.

What Is Upstart Loans?

Upstart was founded in 2002 and is one of the leading companies in peer-to-peer lending. Upstart loans are available to a wide variety of people including those with less than stellar credit. The company can lend to individuals with average credit scores as long as they have a college degree in a reputable field or are otherwise deemed to have bright financial futures.

Upstart Loans Product Specs  

Requirements and the Application Process

This company lends to people with a credit score of 620 or higher but they will consider the educational background and income of the applicant before making a final decision. The company requires the lender to have a minimum annual income of $12,000 to qualify. Upstart gives personal loans from $1,000 and gives a maximum of $50,000. You must have a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 45 percent to apply for a loan. This company, however, does not make a fuss about credit history and does not have any requirements in that regard.

You can use the cash your get from Upstart for virtually anything, including debt consolidation. Students can also apply for loans from Upstart. You can apply for Upstart loans online at the company’s website. The applications are processed fast, and it is usual for approved applicants to receive funding the next day. Students would have to wait for three days and may be required to supply more documents.

Rates and Fees  

Upstart has an origination fee that ranges from 0.0 percent to  8.0 percent of the loan amount. You’ll also be required to pay a late payment fee of the greater of $15 or 5 percent of the late payment amount. The company, however, does not charge any kind of prepayment penalty for paying off your debt earlier than the agreed schedule. Interests rates for this company are average compared to others in the personal loans industry. Expect to pay rates from 8.89 percent to 35.99 percent APR.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.    

  • Prosper
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs
  • Earnest

Upstart Loans

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  • Interest Rate
  • Loan Options
  • Public Opinion
  • Loan Terms

As mentioned above, Upstart loans come with an origination fee that can be as high as 8 percent of the loan amount. Late payments also attract a late payment fee of at least $$.

At 8.89-35.99 percent APR, the company’s interest rates are not the world’s highest interest rates but they are not among the best rates either.

You can use these loans for virtually anything including consolidation and paying for a college education. We also like the minimum lower amount limit of just $$$. This means that borrowers are not forced to take on more debt than they need.

This company has overwhelmingly positive reviews from its customers online. People seem to like its quick approval process and low credit score requirements.

Upstart only allows for monthly payments and gives loans in terms of three to five years.


  • Allows low-credit-score applicants
  • Fast approval process typically one day
  • Allows borrowers who want low loan amounts
  • Funds can be used to pay for college
  • Can be used for debt consolidation


  • Lacks biweekly payment option
  • Very high fees including origination and late payment fee


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Like Upstart, Prosper is a peer-to-peer lender. The company is one of the pioneers of marketplace lending and does business by connecting borrowers with investors who fund their loans. Proper has its roots in San Francisco and was founded in 2005. The company says that it has facilitated some $12 billion in loans to date. Prosper offers personal loans that can be used for a number of ventures including consolidation.

Unlike Upstart loans, Prosper only lends to people with good or excellent scores and the company requires applicants to have a credit score of at least 640. Their average customer has a FICO score of 710. Although the company has no official minimum income requirement, low-income earners probably should not bother applying at Prosper because the average Prosper borrower has an annual income of $89,000.

Other requirements for applying with Prosper include having a minimum credit history of two years and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 50 percent minus mortgage payments. The company’s interest rates are generally lower than those of Upstart loans and they start at 6.95 percent APR, although borrowers can be charged as much as 35.99 percent APR. Like Upstart loans, expect to pay at least $15 for each late payment. This company offers loans from $2,000 to $40,000.

Prosper takes fees and penalties to a whole new level and charges a $25 insufficient funds fee. To apply for a loan from propers, enter the needed info in the application form on the company’s official website. The funds will be transferred to your account in one to three business days if approved.

  • Interest Rate
  • Loan Options
  • Public Opinion
  • Loan Terms

In addition to a 2.4-5 percent origination fee and a $$ insufficient funds fee, this company will charge the greater of $$ or 5 percent of the amount for late payments. However, like Upstart loans, you’ll not be required to pay a prepayment penalty with Prosper.

Interest rates are from 6.95 percent APR and can be as high as 35.99 percent.

Like Upstart loans, Prosper allows you to use the loan for anything including consolidation. You get get loans from $$$ to $$$.

The company has mixed reviews. The number one complaint is fees.

Prosper allows borrowers to repay in three to five years. The company is pretty rigid when it comes to repayments and does not allow you to modify the repayment schedule.


  • Offers a soft credit check for loan pre-approval
  • Has competitive rates
  • Offers debt consolidation services


  • Has lofty credit score and credit history requirements
  • Doesn’t allow any modification to the repayment schedule
  • Stats show that Prosper only lends to high-income individuals
  • High origination, late payment, and insufficient balance fee

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

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The consumer banking branch of Goldman Sach has a number of personal loan offerings. Marcus by Goldman Sachs loans are commonly used for debt consolidation but you can use personal loans from this company to meet a wide variety of needs. The degree of flexibility and customization this bank gives to borrowers is remarkable and is unmatched by most other lenders.

The bank requires applicants to have a credit score of 660 or more and normally approves people with good or excellent credit. To apply for a loan from this company, you need to fill out an online form and, if approved, funds will be availed in 1-4 business days.

This company doesn’t charge origination, late payment, or prepayment fees. Unlike Upstart loans, you can choose your own repayment schedule from a variety of possible schedules. The company also allows borrowers to skip a payment after making 12 months of on-time payments without incurring a penalty. Marcus is also known for its outstanding 24/7 customer support.

  • Interest Rate
  • Loan Options
  • Public Opinion
  • Loan Terms

We believe that Marcus by Goldman Sachs is among the least expensive lenders on our list in terms of fees. There are no fees associated with loans from this bank whatsoever.

This bank has very low interest rates. Expect to be charged from 6.99 to 24.99 percent APR in interest rates.

You can apply for loans from $$$ to $$$ at Marcus. Like Upstart loans, you can use these loans for debt consolidation in addition to making purchases and home improvement.

Due to its outstanding customer support, this bank has a lot of positive reviews from customers.

The bank gives loans spanning from 36 to 72 years. Unlike Upstart loans, Marcus allows a lot of flexibility in payments and choice of terms.


  • Very competitive interest rates
  • No fees
  • Offers a soft credit check for prequalification
  • Flexible payment schedule
  • Generous skip-a-payment policy


  • High credit score requirement
  • High minimum loan amount limit


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Earnest is a San Francisco-based online lender that is known for its low interest rates and high maximum loan amount limit. The company can give bigger loan amounts than any other lender on our list. Earnest has high standards for its borrowers and requires them to have a minimum credit score of 680 and a history of making payments on time. The company also prefers borrowers who do not have large amounts of income debt. You should also ideally have income saved up to cover at least two months of your regular expenses to qualify for a loan from this lender.

Other requirements by this company include not having a bankruptcy in the past three years and having no open collections account. The company doesn’t serve resident of Alabama, Kentucky, Delaware, Rhode Island, or Nevada. Like Marcus, Earnest offers a measure of flexibility when making payments and you can move your payment due dates at will. In terms of customer service, this company is proactive, and it has an iOS app where you can track issues pertaining to your loan.

Interest rates by this company are low and range from 6.99 percent APR to 18.24 percent APR. Repayment periods offered by Earnest are three to five years and you can get loan amounts from $5,000 to $75,000. This company’s fees are some of the lowest we have seen and you won’t be charged an origination fee or late payment fees. To apply for a personal loan at Earnest, you have to follow a six-step application process on their website.

  • Interest Rate
  • Loan Options
  • Public Opinion
  • Loan Terms


Earnest doesn’t charge any fees for its personal loans,

Interest rates by Earnest are some of the lowest on our list and they are from 6.99 to 18.24 percent APR.

Unlike Upstart loans, Earnest limits what you can do with the loan and you cannot use the funds for college tuition, real estate investments, or business expenses. Although we like the fact that the company has the highest maximum loan amount ($$$), we don’t like its $$$ lower limit because it makes it out of the question for borrowers who want to use it for small casual expenses.

4.5 of 5 stars

This company has predominantly positive reviews.

Repayment terms for Earnest range from three to five years. Like Marcus, you have a measure of flexibility on the timing of the payments.


  • Zero fees
  • Flexibility in the repayment schedule
  • Big maximum loan limit
  • Allows borrowers with no credit
  • Generous skip-a-payment policy


  • High minimum credit score and credit history requirements
  • High minimum loan amount rules out people wanting little amounts
  • No soft credit check for prequalification


Upstart loans can save the day when you are in need of quick cash. The company stands out because of its fast loan processing time and can avail funds as early as the next day. This company has reasonable interest rates and is popular with recent college graduates because of the ability to waive credit score requirements if it is convinced that the lender has a bright financial future. We give Upstart a score of 3.5 stars out of 5.

However, borrowers with high credit scores may get lower interest rates from online lenders like Marcus by Goldman Sachs and Earnest. These companies also beat Upstart loans in the department of fees. Unlike Upstart loans, you won’t be required to pay origination fees and late payment fees with Marcus and Earnest. In addition, the flexibility in payment schedule that Marcus and Earnest offers is miles ahead of Upstart’s policy.

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