Upstart vs Upgrade 2024 | Side by Side Comparison

Are you looking for the right lender for your personal loan requirements? This comparative analysis between Upstart and Upgrade will help you to decide which service provider is more suitable for your purpose. It doesn’t matter whether you have a reasonably decent credit history or no credit history at all, this review will provide insights into how you can meet your financial requirements.

What is Upstart?

Upstart is an artificial intelligence-driven lending platform that connects borrowers connect with their partner lenders. With the use of more than 1,500 non-conventional variables, it allows users with fair or no credit in getting access to loan amounts ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. The majority of the loans at the Upstart platform are approved almost instantly.

If you want to know more about Upstart, read our full review here.

What is Upgrade?

Established in 2017, Upgrade offers personal loans, financial education, rewards checking, and credit card services to individuals. It has serviced more than 15 million applicants for loans or credit cards, offering personal loans to prospective borrowers in every state of the USA except West Virginia, Washington D.C., and Iowa.

If you want to know more about Upgrade, read our full review here.

What do they both offer?

Upstart and Upgrade offer loans ranging from $1,000 up to $50,000 to prospective borrowers. However, the minimum loan amount may vary depending on the location of the borrower. 

Neither of the service providers imposes any prepayment penalty which allows borrowers to repay any part of their complete loan amount before the due date. Upon approval of the loan and signing of the loan agreement, borrowers can expect to receive their loan proceeds within one business day. 

The Annual Percentage Return (APR) of both the companies are similar ranging from 5.37% to 35.99% with a marginal difference between them. However, unlike Upstart, Upgrade offers a discount on its APR to borrowers opting for the auto pay mode.

While both the service providers impose a minimum credit score for borrowers having a credit history, those without any credit history can also make a loan application. 

What Upstart uniquely offers?

Hardship Program

Upstart allows its borrowers to temporarily suspend loan payments in case of any economic hardship such as job loss. The interest on the pending amount continues to accrue during such a suspended period.

What Upgrade uniquely offers?

Autopay discount

Borrowers at the Upgrade platform opting for automatic payments get a rate discount which is reported to be 0.5% off the APR.

Educational tools and credit monitoring

Apart from credit cards, personal loans, and checking accounts, Upgrade also features a credit monitoring program called Credit Health. This is a free service that allows borrowers to monitor their VantageScore 3.0 credit score, simulate the score based on various scenarios, and get suggestions on how to improve the same, among other tools.

Flexibility in payment

Borrowers at the Upgrade platform can alter their payment dates depending on their budget.

Mobile app

Both Android and iOS users can benefit from the Upgrade mobile app. It can be used to view the balance, make payments, and update personal information from the dashboard. The Credit Card Health tool can also be accessed from the user-friendly app.

Fees compared

Upstart Fees

Unlike other service providers, Upstart does not offer any autopay discount to its customers. A one-time origination fee ranging from 0% to 8% is deducted from the loan proceeds of the borrower. In case of delay in payment of the monthly installment beyond 10 calendar days from the due date, Upstart imposes a late fee of $15 or 5% of the dues, whichever is higher. 

In case of an unsuccessful payment due to insufficient funds or other reasons, there is a penalty of $15 per occurrence. If the borrower requests a physical copy of the records and withdraws eSign consent, Upstart charges a $10 fee for the paper copy.

Upgrade Fees

Borrowers need to bear a one-time origination fee ranging from 2.9% to 8% of the loan proceeds. Moreover, in case of late payment exceeding more than 15 days, there is a penalty of $10 per late payment. Similarly, there is a non-refundable fee of $10 in case of a failed payment.

Interest rates


The personal loans offered by the Upstart platform have an APR range between 5.4% and 35.99%. This mainly depends on the period for which such a loan is taken among other factors. The service provider offers only two loan terms, i.e., 3 years and 5 years.


Upgrade offers personal loans with APRs ranging between 5.94% and 35.97% which vary based on the credit score of the borrower, loan terms, and other factors. The loan term at Upgrade varies from 24 months to 84 months.

Eligibility compared

To be eligible for a loan application at the Upstart platform, applicants need to meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a permanent resident or a citizen of the US
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Should have a full-time job, a job offer starting in 6 months, a regular part-time job, or any other source of income
  • A credit score of 600 or higher if the borrower has a credit history
  • No bankruptcies or current delinquencies
  • A low debt-to-income ratio
  • Should not have more than 5 credit inquiries during the last 6 months, excluding auto loans, mortgages, or student loans

An applicant at the Upgrade platform should meet the following criteria:

  • Should be a permanent resident or a citizen of the US
  • Must have a verifiable email address and a bank account
  • Must be at least 18 years or older
  • Should have a credit score of at least 560 if the borrower has a credit history

While meeting the above criteria will not guarantee the approval of the loan, it will allow the user to make an application on the platform. The approval or rejection of an application will depend on a host of other factors.

Which has a better reputation?

Based on more than 35,875 reviews by customers, Upstart has been given an excellent rating of 4.9 out of 5 by TrustPilot. The service provider has obtained good reviews across several other customer platforms. The credit card consolidation loan and the ease of the application process contribute to the positive customer reviews. The negative reviews are related to issues with customer support, bill payments, and Covid-19-related assistance.

Upgrade has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 by TrustPilot based on 30,988 customer reviews. The accessibility of the platform combined with the simple application process has contributed to the positive customer reviews.

The user-friendly customer support team makes it easier for new users to apply for a loan on the platform. The company has been given an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau with 4.73 out of 5. The lengthy loan approval period and the high origination fees are some of the causes of negative reviews about the service provider.

Final Thoughts

Upstart and Upgrade have been designed to provide loans to borrowers with fair or no credit scores. For those having a credit score, the minimum recommended score for Upstart is 600 while that of Upgrade is 560. Upstart allows borrowers to obtain a loan of up to $50,000. Moreover, it offers only two loan terms of 3 years and 5 years. 

On the other hand, Upgrade offers flexible loan periods ranging from 2 years to 7 years. So, the right provider depends on the amount of loan required by the prospective borrower along with the loan repayment period.


How long does it take for Upstart to approve a loan?

It only takes about five minutes for prospective borrowers at the Upstart platform to pre-qualify and check the rate applicable on their loan. With that said, after submission of the application, it takes around one business day for the service provider to approve the application and disburse the loan amount.

Is Upstart affiliated with Upgrade?

Upgrade and Upstart offer similar lending services. Both offer the same loan amount with similar credit score requirements, fees, and interest rates. The loan application process on both platforms is quite straightforward and can be managed without any professional guidance.

Does a personal loan from both Upstart and Upgrade affect your credit?

Yes! A personal loan from either Upstart or Upgrade is likely to affect your credit score. During the pre-approval process, the service providers perform a soft credit check which does not have any marked impact on your credit score.

When the application is made and the entire time during which the loan is paid off are likely to have a significant impact on the credit score. While it will negatively affect the credit score in the short run, the long-term effects can be very positive if the loan is repaid on schedule.

Are you required to provide proof of income to Upstart?

Before signing the loan agreement, potential lenders might ask for proof of income from the applicant in the form of a digitally deposited check image or a business invoice. As a part of the proof documents, the borrower is required to provide the relevant bank statement that verifies such a deposit.

Can you have two personal loans at the same time?

An individual can have 1 to 3 personal loans at the same time from the same lender. This also depends on the lender. There is no maximum limit on the number of personal loans that an individual can have at the same time across multiple lenders.

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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