Upgrade is an online lender providing individuals with personal loans for a wide range of uses. While you can’t use the funds for tuition or other education-related expenses, you can use them for just about anything else. This includes debt consolidation, renovating your home, making a large purchase, or even growing your business.

Upgrade Personal Loans

If you have fair credit or better, read on to find out if Upgrade is the right online lender for you.

Upgrade Personal Loans

Upgrade offers personal loans starting at $1,000 all the way up to $50,000. You have the choice to pay back the loan over three years or five years. APRs range from 5.96% – 35.97%. This is higher than some of the other online lenders, but you do have the benefit of potentially receiving a larger loan amount.

The APR does include an origination fee. This amount varies and can be as low as 1% of the total loan amount, or as high as 6%. You don’t have to pay the origination fee out of your pocket; instead, it’s deducted from your loan funds before they hit your bank account.

Borrower Profile

All eligible applicants must have a minimum credit score of 620. Still, that’s only considered “fair,” making Upgrade an excellent choice to consider if you don’t have excellent credit.

Throughout the application process, Upgrade also takes into account the following factors:

  • Loan amount
  • Loan term
  • Credit usage
  • Credit history

You’ll also need to meet a few other requirements to get a loan. You must have a verifiable bank account and email address. The minimum age requirement is 18 years old. Additionally, you need to either be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or residing in the U.S. on a valid visa.

Another interesting requirement of Upgrade’s is that you need to have at least $1,000 leftover every month after you pay all of your bills.

Upgrade personal loans are available in most states. However, they’re currently not available in these seven:

  • Connecticut
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia

Application Process

The application process for an Upgrade personal loan is pretty simple. And the best part is that you can check your eligibility without having a hard check performed on your credit report.

You can first enter in just some basic information about your loan request, like your income, how much you want to borrow, and what you’ll use the money for.

From there, you’ll receive several options for your loan funding. You can see what the interest rate and monthly payment amount looks like with different types of loans. This feature allows you to compare different loan amounts and repayment terms before you actually make a commitment.

Once you select your loan, Upgrade works to verify all of your information (along with pulling a hard credit check). When everything checks out, you can receive your funds within a day.

All Upgrade loans are unsecured, so you don’t have to worry about putting up any collateral throughout the process. The application decision is entirely based on your personal and financial information.

If for some reason your application is denied, you can try applying again. You’ll just need to wait 30 days, which is actually one of the shorter wait times among online lenders.

Once You’re Approved

After your loan application is approved, your funds are deposited into your chosen checking or savings account. It can take up to four business days to receive the money. From there, you can use your Upgrade funds for whatever purpose you specified on your loan application.

All of their interest rates are fixed, so whatever monthly payment amount you agreed to is what you’ll see every month. If your payment is late, you get a 15-day grace period. After that point, you’ll be charged a $10 late fee. There’s also a returned payment fee of $15.

You do have options for how you want to pay. If you prefer a check, you’ll appreciate that there’s no check processing fee. You can also pay by phone or online.

Special Features

Upgrade has a couple exceptional things worth noting when comparing it to other lenders. First off, the lender advertises sending the loan money within 24 hours after the loan approval. It might take a little longer to actually be available in your account, but that’s still an incredibly fast turn around time.

Secondly, Upgrade has programs available for borrowers who go through any type of hardship, such as the loss of a job.

Those who qualify are able to either get a temporary monthly payment reduction or, in extreme cases, a permanent modification that lasts the entire length of the loan term. Call early if you feel you may qualify to have the best chance of reaching a good solution.

Upgrade’s History

With offices in Phoenix, Montreal, and San Francisco, Upgrade is truly a part of a global effort to make credit more available and more affordable to the masses. One of Upgrade’s main missions is to educate the public by providing free credit monitoring services and educational courses via their online platforms.

The company believes that when each person understands his or her credit potential, they are then able to make intelligent borrowing decisions.

It’s already well on its way to achieving this, which is unsurprising since two of its founders are Renaud Laplanche and Soul Htite, who are the two founders of LendingClub. LendingClub’s spent a better part of the past ten years lending money with great APR to American families.

Getting a Loan from Upgrade

Whether you want a loan from Upgrade to consolidate debt or pay for a major expense, there are a few different factors that come into play during the application process. Here are the major highlights to help things go more smoothly.

What does a lender look for on your application?

We mentioned earlier that Upgrade considers several different factors, including the following: loan amount, loan term, credit usage, and credit history. All of that information actually comes to play in a few different ways.

Obviously, your credit history is going to give a strong indication as to whether or not you’re likely to repay your loan. Similarly, learning about your income level helps the lender determine your current debt to income ratio by comparing your earnings to your credit usage.

So, if the amount of debt you have is too high for the amount of debt you carry (or would carry if you received the personal loan you want), then your application likely won’t be approved.

Most lenders have a debt to income ratio limit around 40%, meaning that 40% of your monthly income can’t be devoted to debt payments. That includes anything like your mortgage, car loan, student loan, and credit card minimums.

How much you get approved for relates to your current credit usage because the lender wants to make sure you can afford your monthly payments. After all, it’s in everyone’s best interest for you to not only pay on-time every month but also to not feel cash-strapped when you make that payment.

All of these application requirements are in place to protect both you and the lender, whether it be Upgrade or another one.

How can you strengthen your loan application?

One of the best things you can do to help your personal loan application is to work on your credit score. Start off by checking your credit report for any inaccuracies. If you see something that doesn’t look right, file a dispute with the credit bureau to try and get it removed.

It’s also important to pay all of your bills on time because that’s a huge factor in your credit score. This simple act also demonstrates to lenders that you’re trustworthy when it comes to taking care of your financial responsibilities.

If your debt to income ratio is too high to get approved for a personal loan, you have two options: pay down your existing debt or earn more money. You could also do both. Also, pay careful attention to what the lender asks for.

Upgrade, for example, requires that you submit your gross income — that’s the amount you make before taxes and deductions. That’s typically much higher than the paycheck you receive each month.

There’s also a place for you to include “additional” income. This might include your spouse’s earnings that contribute to your household income, investment income, rental property income, or social security earnings.

Disclaimer: *Loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.96%-35.97%. Lowest rates require Autopay. All loans have a 1% to 6% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. For example, a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and an 18.61% APR (which includes a 6% origination fee) has a required monthly payment of $342.70.

The APR on your loan may be higher or lower. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan.