Upgrade Personal Loans Review for 2024

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.


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

Upgrade Personal Loan Offerings: Loan Amounts, Terms, and APRs

Upgrade stands out by offering personal loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000, catering to a wide array of financial needs. Whether you’re looking to consolidate debt, fund a home improvement project, or cover an unexpected expense, Upgrade provides flexibility in loan sizing. This range is competitive and ensures that borrowers with diverse financial backgrounds have access to funding that aligns with their specific requirements.

Flexible Repayment Terms

Borrowers have the option to choose between three- or five-year repayment plans. This flexibility allows you to balance your monthly payment against the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Opting for a three-year term might mean higher monthly payments, but you’ll save on interest compared to a five-year term. This choice gives you control over your financial planning, allowing you to align your loan repayment with your personal budget and long-term financial goals.


Upgrade’s APRs range from 8.49% to 35.99%, which might be higher than some competitors, especially for borrowers with excellent credit profiles. However, the higher end of the APR range makes financing accessible to those with fair to good credit, who might find it challenging to secure personal loans elsewhere. It’s important to compare these rates to other options in the market, as Upgrade’s straightforward approach to loan costs, including origination fees rolled into the APR, offers transparency and ease of understanding for borrowers.

Origination Fees

Origination fees with Upgrade can vary from 1.85% to 9.99% of the total loan amount. These fees are incorporated into the APR, which means they’re accounted for in your overall loan cost rather than requiring an upfront payment. This method simplifies the borrowing process, as it eliminates the need for additional out-of-pocket expenses when securing your personal loan.

No Prepayment Penalties

A significant advantage of Upgrade’s personal loans is the absence of prepayment penalties. If you find yourself able to pay off your loan early, you can do so without incurring extra costs. This feature is particularly beneficial for those looking to manage their debt efficiently and save on interest over time.

Get started with Upgrade on Upgrade’s secure website

Eligibility Criteria for an Upgrade Personal Loan

Upgrade requires applicants to have a minimum credit score of 620. This threshold places Upgrade within the accessible range for those with fair credit, bridging the gap between high-end borrowers and those still working on their credit health. Compared to industry standards, this requirement is relatively lenient, opening doors for a wider array of borrowers who might not qualify for loans with stricter credit demands.

Beyond the Credit Score

While the credit score is a critical factor, Upgrade adopts a holistic approach in evaluating loan applications. This method means considering factors such as:

  • Credit utilization: How much of your available credit you’re using can impact your application. Lower utilization rates can signal responsible credit management, potentially favoring your approval chances.
  • Loan term: The term you choose can affect your eligibility. Shorter terms may lead to higher monthly payments but less interest over time, which could influence Upgrade’s assessment of your repayment capacity.
  • Income and employment: Upgrade looks at your income and employment stability as indicators of your ability to repay the loan. This evaluation aligns with industry practices but with an eye toward inclusivity, considering applicants who might have variable income but demonstrate financial stability.

Additional Requirements

Upgrade also stipulates that applicants must have a verifiable bank account and email address, meet the minimum age requirement of 18, and hold U.S. citizenship, permanent residency, or a valid visa. Furthermore, an interesting twist to their criteria is the need for applicants to have at least $1,000 of free cash flow after monthly expenses. This requirement is unique and underscores Upgrade’s focus on ensuring borrowers have the financial flexibility to manage their loan repayments effectively.

State Availability

Currently, Upgrade personal loans are not available in Connecticut, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, and West Virginia. This limitation is primarily regulatory and is a common consideration among personal loan providers, varying by lender based on state laws and licensing.

Upgrade Personal Loan Application Process

Applying for a personal loan with Upgrade involves a straightforward process. However, understanding what happens after you submit your application can provide valuable insights into how to streamline your experience and potentially avoid common pitfalls that might delay your loan approval.

Step-by-Step Application Walkthrough

  1. Initial application: You start by providing basic information, including your income, desired loan amount, and the purpose of your personal loan. This step is critical as it sets the stage for the preliminary offers you’ll receive.
  2. Loan offers review: Upon submitting your initial details, you’ll get several loan options to review. This opportunity to compare different offers allows you to make an informed decision without impacting your credit score, thanks to a soft credit check.
  3. Selection and verification: After choosing the loan that best suits your needs, the next phase involves verifying your information. This is where Upgrade conducts a hard credit check, which will appear on your credit report.

Behind the Scenes After Submission

Once you’ve submitted your application and selected a loan offer, Upgrade’s internal processes kick into gear:

  • Verification of details: Upgrade verifies your income, employment, and bank details. Ensuring that the information you provide is accurate and easily verifiable can speed up this step. For instance, have your pay stubs, bank statements, and identification documents ready for submission.
  • Credit and risk assessment: Your credit history and the information provided during the application are assessed to finalize the loan offer. Discrepancies in your application or issues with your credit history can cause delays.

Common Reasons for Delays

  • Incomplete information: Missing details in your application can significantly slow down the process. Double-check your application before submitting to ensure all fields are correctly filled out.
  • Verification challenges: If the documents you provide do not clearly support the information you’ve submitted, Upgrade may request additional documentation, leading to delays.
  • Credit report issues: Discrepancies on your credit report, such as unrecognized accounts or incorrect credit utilization, can halt the approval process until resolved.

Tips for a Smooth Process

  • Prepare your documents: Before applying, gather all necessary documentation, including proof of income, employment verification, and recent bank statements.
  • Review your credit report: Check your credit report for any errors or issues that could hinder your application. If you find inaccuracies, dispute them with the credit bureaus before applying.
  • Provide accurate information: Ensure all the information you submit is accurate and truthful. Discrepancies between your application and your documents can introduce unnecessary delays.
  • Respond promptly to requests: If Upgrade asks for additional documentation or clarification, responding quickly can help keep your application moving forward.

Post-Approval Steps: Receiving and Using Your Upgrade Loan

Once your Upgrade personal loan is approved, understanding how to effectively use and manage your funds can significantly impact your financial trajectory. Here are practical steps and examples for optimizing the use of your loan, from debt consolidation tactics to home renovation planning.

Efficient Debt Consolidation

If you’re using your Upgrade personal loan for debt consolidation, the first step is to list all your current debts by interest rate, from highest to lowest. Use your Upgrade funds to pay off the high-interest debts first. This strategy reduces the amount of interest you pay over time, helping you save money and potentially improving your credit score as you lower your credit utilization.

Home Renovation Planning

For home renovations, planning is key. Prioritize projects that increase your home’s value or reduce future maintenance costs. Consider energy-efficient upgrades or minor kitchen and bathroom remodels, which often offer the best return on investment. By budgeting carefully and using Upgrade loan funds for these specific improvements, you can enhance your living space while also increasing your property’s market value.

Establishing an Emergency Fund

If you don’t have an emergency fund, consider using a portion of your Upgrade loan to start one. Having savings set aside for unexpected expenses can prevent the need for future borrowing and help maintain financial stability.

Get started with Upgrade on Upgrade’s secure website

Upgrade Special Features: Beyond the Loan

Upgrade’s commitment to its customers extends beyond just providing personal loans. Their unique features and services are designed to support borrowers throughout their financial journey.

Fast Funding

One of Upgrade’s standout features is the promise of fast funding, often within a day of loan approval. This rapid access to funds can be crucial for urgent financial needs, allowing borrowers to address their situations promptly.

Hardship Programs

Upgrade understands that financial situations can change unexpectedly. Their hardship programs offer temporary payment reductions or permanent loan modifications for those who qualify, demonstrating a commitment to providing support during challenging times.

Customer Support Initiatives

Upgrade’s customer service goes beyond traditional support. Borrowers have access to a dedicated support team ready to assist with any questions or concerns, ensuring a smooth and informed borrowing experience.

Online Financial Management Tools

Upgrade offers an array of online tools designed to help borrowers manage their personal loans and overall financial health. These tools include budgeting aids, financial calculators, and personalized loan management dashboards, empowering users to take control of their finances.

Educational Resources

Through free credit monitoring services and an extensive selection of educational courses, Upgrade invests in its customers’ financial literacy. These resources aim to help borrowers make informed financial decisions, understand credit better, and improve their financial health over time.

Upgrade’s History

Upgrade has become a prominent figure in the personal finance industry. The company, with operations in Phoenix, Montreal, and San Francisco, focuses on making credit accessible and affordable for a wide audience.

The founders, Renaud Laplanche and Soul Htite, brought their vision to life after their successful venture with LendingClub. Their experience and insight into the financial sector fueled Upgrade’s mission from the start. They aimed to not just offer personal loans, but to enhance customers’ overall financial health.

Upgrade sets itself apart by providing a platform that goes beyond lending. It offers free credit monitoring services and educational materials to help customers understand their credit and make smarter borrowing decisions. This approach reflects the company’s broader goal of improving financial wellness and accessibility, inspired by its founders’ original vision.

Upgrade Reviews

Upgrade’s reputation in the personal finance industry is solidified by its A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), signaling strong customer service and reliability. Feedback from the consumer community underscores Upgrade’s commitment to offering user-friendly loan solutions and exceptional support.

Customers often highlight the ease of the application process, the clarity of loan terms, and the responsive customer service team as significant advantages of choosing Upgrade. Many appreciate the lender’s transparent approach to fees, including the absence of prepayment penalties and the inclusion of origination fees within the APR, for a straightforward understanding of loan costs.

Further acclaim comes from the lender’s range of loan amounts and terms, providing flexibility to meet diverse financial needs. The fast funding feature, often within a day of approval, is frequently mentioned as a major benefit for those in need of timely financial assistance.

Upgrade’s efforts to support borrowers during times of hardship, offering programs for temporary payment adjustments, reflect its dedication to customer well-being and financial stability. This level of care and flexibility contributes to positive customer experiences, reinforcing Upgrade’s reputation as a compassionate and reliable lender.

Bottom Line

Upgrade offers a comprehensive suite of personal loan options designed to meet various financial needs, from debt consolidation to home improvements. With competitive APRs, no prepayment penalties, and a range of loan amounts, Upgrade stands out as a flexible and accessible lender.

Through its commitment to financial education and wellness, Upgrade goes beyond traditional lending, offering resources to help customers make informed financial decisions. With a history of innovation and customer-focused services, Upgrade demonstrates its dedication to improving the financial health of its borrowers.

Whether you’re looking to manage debt more efficiently, fund a major purchase, or invest in personal growth, Upgrade provides a solid foundation to achieve your financial goals. The lender’s positive customer reviews and the founders’ track record of success further underscore its reliability and commitment to excellence.

Get started with Upgrade on Upgrade’s secure website

Disclaimer: *Personal loans made through Upgrade feature Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 8.24%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 1.85% to 8.99% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 24 to 84 months.

For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.59% APR (which includes a 13.94% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $341.48. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,293.46.

The APR on your loan may be higher or lower, and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. 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. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early.

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