Struggling to get a loan because you have no credit history? Upstart Personal Loans could be the solution to your problem. Upstart uses artificial intelligence (AI) and alternative data for underwriting personal loans to help borrowers with fair credit or no credit in getting a loan at a relatively low-interest rate. Read on to know more!

What is Upstart?

Upstart is among the first companies to use AI to improve access to affordable credit. This AI-based lending platform connects prospective borrowers with fair or no credit history to partner lenders to provide personal loans at relatively low rates. With the help of AI and non-conventional data like job history, residence, and college education, the company helps younger applicants with thin credit history to obtain a loan.

What services do they offer?

Upstart applies more than 1,500 non-traditional variables to provide personal loans to prospective borrowers. A majority of the loans are approved almost instantly with loan amounts varying from $1,000 to $50,000 available for a 3-year or 5-year term.

Some of the common purposes for Upstart loans include:

  • Debt consolidation
  • Credit Card consolidation
  • Refinancing student loans
  • Medical expenses
  • Home improvement projects
  • Moving costs
  • Wedding costs

There might be state limitations on where the loan amount can be used for student loan repayment or educational expenses. Some of the prohibited uses of the loan proceeds are:

  • Any illegal activity
  • Use for educational purposes by borrowers in Illinois, Washington, Connecticut, and California
  • Purchase of firearms or weapons
  • Prohibited drugs

Unless the funds are used for educational purposes, it takes around one or two business days to receive the loan proceeds from Upstart. The loan amount will likely get credited the next business day if the loan terms are accepted before 5:00 pm.

However, due to federal law, you might be required to wait up to 3 business days if you are using the funds to cover educational expenses.

How does Upstart work?

Several factors determine the approval or rejection of a personal loan application. Different lenders have different underwriting requirements that typically include the credit profile of the applicant and current financial status among others.

Meeting the requirements won’t guarantee loan approval, but it will help you to decide if you are eligible to apply.

Some of the factors influencing the sanction of a loan application at the Upstart platform are:

Credit Score requirement

Borrowers need to have a minimum FICO score of 600 to qualify for a personal loan. Upstart also considers other non-conventional parameters for considering the application. Also, prospective borrowers without enough credit history to obtain a FICO score may apply. The AI-based Upstart platform considers the following factors for determining the credit worthiness of the borrower:

  • The debt-to-income ratio of the borrower
  • Any delinquent account or bankruptcies
  • Any credit report inquiries during the past six months other than inquiries related to a vehicle loan, mortgage, or student loan.

Income requirement

The applicant must have a full-time job, any job offers starting in six months, any part-time job, or any source of regular income of at least $12,000 per annum.

Co-applicants and Co-signers

A prospective borrower with a co-signer is not eligible to apply for a loan at the Upstart platform. Co-applicants are also not permitted since the loan applications are evaluated based on their own merit.

Other conditions

To be eligible for a loan application at the Upstart platform, you need to fulfill a few other conditions. You must:

  • Have a US residential address (unless you are military personnel on active duty).
  • Be at least 18 years old with an active email account.
  • Have a personal bank account with a US routing number.

The entire loan application process at Upstart can be summarized into three steps, i.e., prequalifying for a rate, making a formal application, and waiting for the loan approval. The steps are detailed as under:

Prequalify with a soft credit pull

The first step is to submit an online prequalification form to determine the APR and the interest rate. You need to provide some basic information such as your education details, income, savings, and any ongoing loan. It takes only about a few minutes for a rate quote for which Upstart might make a soft credit inquiry.

Verify your bank details

After obtaining the rate quote, you will be asked to verify your bank details. You will need to upload various supporting documents and may be contacted via phone to verify the information you provided. A hard credit check will be done that will reflect on your credit report.

Sign the loan agreement to receive funds

Using the AI-driven system of Upstart, the loan application will get approved almost instantly. After that, you need to sign the loan documents to receive the loan proceeds to your provided bank account within a maximum of two business days.

Make payments

After disbursal of the loan proceeds, borrowers will be able to find the specific repayment date on the promissory note. The estimated first payment date will be around 20 days from the date of loan origination.

Rates and Fees

All personal loans sanctioned through the Upstart platform carry a fixed interest rate ranging from 5.40% to 35.99%. Unlike other service providers, Upstart does not offer any autopay discount to its borrowers. There is a one-time origination fee of 0% to 8% on the loan amount. If the borrower asks for physical copies of records and withdraws any eSign consent, there is a one-time paper copy fee of $10.

In case of late payment beyond 10 days from the due date, there is a late fee of 5% of the due amount or $15, whichever is higher. While Upstart does not impose any prepayment penalty, there is a $15 charge for any unsuccessful payment or returned checks due to insufficient funds or other reasons.

Repayment terms

Upstart features fixed rates for personal loan amounts ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. In relation to this, the minimum loan amount may vary for different states such as $7,000 in Massachusetts, $5,100 in New Mexico, and $3,100 in Georgia.

Borrowers have access to the personal loan for a period of 3 years or 5 years. The loan amount can be repaid in monthly or quarterly installments as mentioned in the loan agreement.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Accessible to borrowers with no credit history
  • Absence of any prepayment penalties
  • Checking of rates available with a soft credit inquiry
  • Flexible payment options
  • Funds are credited to the personal account within one to two business days

Cons

  • Applicability of origination fee up to 8% of the loan amount
  • Imposition of late fees
  • Does not allow co-signer
  • Loans available only for two-term options

FAQs

Is personal loan refinancing available with Upstart?

While the option for personal loan refinancing is not available with Upstart, it allows consolidation of high-interest debt. Borrowers can use the loan proceeds to pay off credit card bills, title loans, and payday loans since these usually come with a higher APR.

What are the customer support options available at Upstart?

For any general support, users can contact the customer support team between 9:00 am and 8:00 pm ET every day. For any payment-related queries, users can call between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm ET on weekdays and 10:00 am to 7:00 pm on Saturdays. The toll-free number is 855-438-8778. Users can also email their queries to suppor@upstart.com at any time.

How can you manage your account at Upstart?

Upstart features a user-friendly dashboard that will allow you to view all payment obligations, schedule and manage payments, and also change the payment due date. Unfortunately, there is no mobile application to manage payments.

How does Upstart compare to its competitors?

The innovative use of AI and alternative data gives Upstart an upper hand over its competitors. The company even allows borrowers with no credit score t apply for a loan.

How is Upstart rated online?

Upstart has been given a 4.9 rating out of 5 by TrustPilot and has generally received a good rating across various consumer platforms. The positive reviews are focused on the simple application process and the convenience of credit card consolidation loans. The negative reviews are mainly related to bill payments, Covid-19 or Wuhan virus-related assistance, and customer support.

About the author 

Greg Lorenzo

Greg is a financial expert who has been advising his audience on loans for over 10 years. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the area, and he is passionate about helping people get the best possible deal on their loans. Greg is an expert in negotiating loans, and he has a proven track record of getting his clients the best possible terms. He is also a strong advocate for financial literacy, and he regularly gives workshops and seminars on the topic.

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