Upstart has made a name for itself in the personal lending space thanks to its artificial intelligence and machine learning approach to borrower qualification. In fact, Upstart estimates that it’s been able to approve 27% more borrowers than it could with a traditional lending model. With competitive APRs, Upstart is not a top lender for borrowers who may qualify for more competitive interest rates. Despite this, the platform’s credit rating of at least 600 makes it an accessible option for those with fair credit.
Upstart also offers a fairly flexible range of borrowing options, starting at $1,000, so you don’t have to borrow (or pay interest) more than you need. And while Upstart’s loans are $50,000 — lower than some lenders — that should be enough for many potential borrowers.
While Upstarts’ three- and five-year loan terms are more restrictive than other lenders, it’s likely an acceptable trade-off for applicants who may not be admitted in a more traditional lending environment. Plus, it’s available in every state except West Virginia and Iowa, so it’s as widely available as many other top lenders.
Eligibility: Upstart excels at using an AI-based platform to consider a number of unconventional variables when evaluating borrower applications. And while the platform advertises a minimum credit score of 600, Upstart may even accept applicants who don’t have enough credit history to receive a rating. When evaluating potential borrowers, Upstart considers college education, employment history, residency, debt-to-income ratio, bankruptcies and arrears, and number of loan requests.
Borrowers must also have a full-time job or offer of six months or more, a regular part-time job, or another regular source of income — with a minimum annual income of $12,000. Co-signers and co-applicants are not permitted.
Loan Used: Upstart’s personal loans can be used for credit card and other debt consolidation, special events, moving and relocating, medical and dental expenses, and home renovations. Unlike many other traditional and online lenders, Upstart also allows borrowers to use personal loan funds to cover educational expenses (except in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Washington and the District of Columbia).
Merchant borrowers cannot use personal loans to fund illegal activities or to purchase weapons, firearms, or illegal drugs.
change of sides: Upstart offers next-business-day financing to borrowers whose loans are accepted before 5:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Loans approved after 5:00 p.m. are typically funded the following business day or the day after. However, Upstart reports that 99% of loan applicants receive their money one business day after accepting their loan terms. Loans for education-related expenses may take up to three additional business days after the loan is accepted.