Upstart Review

Jacob Parker

In a Nutshell

Upstart is a lending marketplace that harnesses AI and advanced algorithms to provide consumers with affordable financing while reducing risks for lenders. In this Upstart review, we’ll take a close look at how well this system works for borrowers. As you’ll find out, the advanced tech underlying the platform means that Upstart might approve your application even if other lenders have turned you down.


  • Considers borrower’s education* during the approval process
  • Returns a potential rate in under 5 minutes
  • No prepayment penalties


  • Origination fees of up to 8%
  • Terms max out at five years
  • High APRs
Direct lender or marketplace?Marketplace
Loan typesRefinancing (credit cards, student debt, consolidation), education, large purchases, personal expenses, business
Loan amount$1,000 to $50,000
Repayment terms3 or 5-year plans with fixed-rate repayments**
APR8.69% - 35.99%**
Best forGetting approved even if you’ve been turned down elsewhere

Best For?

College grads

Upstart is a unique lending marketplace because it uses the borrower’s level of education* to decide whether or not to approve them for a loan. If you have an advanced degree and a poor credit score, this might mean that Upstart will approve you even if other lenders turn you down. It’s worth noting that although no minimum degree is required to apply, some have alleged that Upstart’s consideration of education level may exacerbate existing inequalities in society. 

Anyone who earns through Airbnb, Lyft, or Uber

The lending industry has, in general, failed to keep up with the expansion of the gig economy. As a result, many lenders don’t take income from apps like Airbnb or Uber into account when approving loan applications. Upstart stands out because it regularly makes loan offers based on income reported from these platforms.

Poor credit holders who can’t get approved elsewhere

Due to its high origination fees and APRs, Upstart isn’t the cheapest place to borrow. Most customers will only begin considering this platform if they’ve already been turned down by fee-free lenders. 

Range of Loans on Offer

Upstart offers personal loans that can be used for a range of different purposes. For example, if you need refinancing for existing debts, you can use Upstart to consolidate your obligations into a single, manageable monthly payment. Besides this, Upstart offers loans for specific purposes such as medical costs, paying for home renovations, and stating a business.

  • Loans for everything from vacations to refinancing 
  • Detailed knowledge base
  • Get your cash within 24 hours of approval
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Approval rate 27% higher than traditional lending models
  • Qualification based on over 1,500 data points

Application Process & Requirements

To qualify for an Upstart loan, you’ll have to meet many requirements. For example, you’ll need to have a Vantage or FICO credit score of at least 600. You’ll also need to adhere to the following:

  • Be a US citizen
  • At least 18 years old 
  • Have a valid social security number
  • Be employed or hold an offer of employment
  • Have no delinquent loans or record of bankruptcies
  • Possess a financial account with a US-based institution

If you meet those minimum requirements, you’ll find that applying for an Upstart quote is a quick and painless process. To get started, simply head over to the Upstart application portal and enter how much you’d like to borrow. Next, add personal information such as your date of birth, education history, and salary.

After that, Upstart will propose a loan plan based on the data you’ve provided. To receive final approval, you’ll likely need to make further documents available for verification, such as a recent pay stub or, if you make income from a rental property, a copy of a lease. You must be able to show a consistent income for at least 6 months. If all goes well, your Upstart cash will be in your account within 24 hours of final approval.

APRs, Loan Amounts & Repayment Terms

Upstart doesn’t charge any application fees, but it does have an origination fee of up to 8% which will be deducted from your loan. APRs offered by this service range from 7.35% to 35.99%.** If your Upstart loan offer is towards the higher end of this range, the amount you pay back in interest could easily exceed the original value of your loan. Upstart states that the average borrower will pay an effective APR of 15%. 

Repayments begin between 20 and 40 days after you receive your loan. Conveniently, Upstart gives the option to change your monthly payment date to better accommodate your needs and never charges prepayment penalties.

Repayment schedules of 36 and 60-months are available (3 or 5 years)**, and repayments are always made at a fixed rate. You can pay by setting up recurring ACH payments directly from your bank account, mailing in a check, or sending a one-time ACH payment. If payment is declined or doesn’t process, there is a $15 fee. 

Privacy & Security

Upstart’s privacy policy makes it clear that the company is serious about maintaining confidentiality. That’s important, especially considering the volume of sensitive information that the service requests you submit when applying for a loan.

The privacy policy states that Upstarts uses electronic, administrative, and physical safeguards to protect your information. Additionally, the BBB (Better Business Bureau) has given Upstart an A+ rating. 

Help & Support

Besides maintaining an informative blog that answers questions about borrowing, the Upstart team provides direct customer support through multiple channels including mail, email, and a toll-free phone line.

Upstart personnel can be reached at 855 438 8778 and are available Monday through Friday, 6 am to 8 pm PT, and weekends from 9 am to 5 pm PT. Alternatively, you can email 

How Upstart Compares

APR8.69% - 35.99%
3.49% - 35.95%
4.99% - 19.99% w/ Autopay*
Minimum credit score600None660
Loan amount$1,000-$5,000***$1,000 to $50,000$5,000 to $100,000
Loan term36 or 60 months3 to 180 months24 to 144 months
Best forGraduates or gig economy workersComparing multipe loan optionsGetting your cash fast

Stacked up against competitors such as LendingTree and LightStream, Upstart could be a better service for graduates and people working through apps like Lyft. That’s because most services don’t approve loans based on educational achievement or gig economy income. 

Nevertheless, Upstart does perform poorly when it comes to the actual cost of taking out a loan. With a minimum APR rate of 7.35%**, Upstart’s cheapest loans are approximately twice as expensive as the most affordable financing options available through LendingTree. 


Q. Can I appeal an Upstart Adverse Action Notice?

A. Yes, you can submit relevant documentation if you believe the notice was erroneous. 

Q. Can I get a loan without any credit score? 

A. You can. Upstart is known for lending to customers with no credit record. 

Q. How fast can I get my money?

A. You could have it within 24 hours of loan approval. 

Q.  Are Upstart repayment rates variable? 

A. No, Upstart only offers fixed-rate loans. 


Recent college graduates and gig workers without an established credit history can benefit from Upstart’s novel way of evaluating applications. All the same, if you’re looking for an affordable place to borrow, Upstart might not be the best option as its APR rates and origination fees are quite expensive.

Physical Address

Upstart Operations Dept.

2950 S. Delaware St.

San Mateo, CA 94403



*Although educational information is collected as part of Upstart's rate check process, neither Upstart nor its bank partners have a minimum educational attainment requirement in order to be eligible for a loan

**The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 15% and 36 monthly payments of $33 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.

***Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. (IF LOAN AMOUNT ISN'T VARIED BY STATE, CHOOSE CORRECT STATES DEPENDING ON MARKETING MEDIUM, STEP IN APPLICATION PROCESS, AND/OR PBU BANK PROGRAM TERMS:

The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000.

The minimum loan amount in OH is $6,000.

The minimum loan amount in NM is $5,100.

The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100.)

****If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), your funds will be sent on the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.

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About The Author

Jacob ParkerByJacob ParkerSep. 06, 2020
Jake is a freelance writer from Britain. After studying climate science, he began writing full time in 2018 and his favorite topics include sustainability and technology. When not travelling and writing, he can be found editing videos or trying to fix some mechanical problem, normally on his latest cheap vehicle.