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You have financial woes and heard that Upgrade offers personal loans.

But with so many financial companies offering loans, it’s a bit challenging to decide which one to choose. Is Upgrade the best option for you?

If you have a 620 and above credit score looking to consolidate your debts and build your credit score, an Upgrade personal loan is a good option. However, If you want a free-fee loan for bad credit, there are better options for you.

Upgrade Overview

Upgrade is an online fintech company launched in 2017 to offer financial products, including personal loans, credit cards, reward checking accounts, and free credit monitoring services.

The company gives mobile banking experience to its clients and has served over 500000 people with over $7 million since its inception.

People are attracted to Upgrade because it allows them to access smaller loan amounts. Borrowers can use personal loans for debt consolidation, refinancing of debit cards, home improvement, major purchases, etc.

Upgrade Personal Loan Highlights

  • APR: 7.96% - 35.97%
  • Loan amounts: $1000 - 50000 (but most loan amounts are limited to $25000 or less)
  • Loan term: 2 to 5 years ( up to 7 years for home improvement loans )
  • Fees:
    • Late fees: Charges $10 after a 15-day grace period
    • Origination fee: 1.85% - 8.99%
    • Prepayment fee: 0
    • Title Transfer fee: 0
    • Insufficient Fund Fees: $10
  • Minimum Credit Score: 620
  • Minimum Income: Upgrade doesn’t disclose its debt-to-income (DTI) ratio requirements.
  • Approval time: Upgrade may approve your loan within one to four business days. But if they need extra documentation to verify your information, it may take longer.
  • Funding time: Once the loan offer is accepted, the fund will be sent to your bank within a business day. But the funding depends on how quickly your bank processes it.
  • Joint application: Allowed
  • BBB rating: A+
  • Pre-qualifications: Allowed
  • How to Apply: Apply online or call (844) 311-008

Loan Amount

The personal loan amount you can access from Upgrade depends on your credit profile; it ranges from $1000 to $50,000. But most borrowers can't get more than $25000.

The minimum loan amount for borrowers in Massachusetts is $6400, while those living in Georgia must borrow a minimum loan amount of $3,005.

Overall APR Range

Compared to other online lenders, Upgrade's loan rates are moderate. The company offers borrowers fixed-rate personal loans with a minimum APR of 7.96% and a maximum of 35.97%.

Upgrade personal loans may not be the cheapest in the market, but they are relatively affordable.


Upgrade operates online; it doesn't have physical offices. It offers loans across the United States except for Iowa and West Virginia. Furthermore, Upgrade’s checking accounts and lines of credit are accessible to everyone in the US except for Iowa, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.


Before you apply for personal loans, Upgrade allows you to conduct a Pre-qualification. You can see the potential rates you will get based on the desired loan amount, the purpose of the loan, your personal information, and the Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio.

Here's one thing you should know - pre-qualification doesn't affect your credit score, and it doesn't guarantee your loan approval.

  • You Can Enjoy 3 Rate Discounts
  • You Are Offered Longer Repayment Terms for Home Improvement Loans
  • Mobile App and Credit Assistance are Available
  • Secured and Joint Loans Are Available
  • Upgrade Enjoys a Good Reputation and Customer Reviews
  • Upgrade Charges an Origination Fee Ranging From 1.85% to 8%
  • You Have no Options to Choose a Payment Date
  • You Can't use the Loan for Post-Secondary Education Purposes
Overall Satisfaction Rating
  • 5 star
  • 4 star
  • 3 star
  • 2 star
  • 1 star
Bottom Line

People are attracted to Upgrade because it allows them to access smaller loan amounts. Borrowers can use personal loans for debt consolidation, refinancing of debit cards, home improvement, major purchases, etc.

Where Upgrade Personal Loans Stand Out

You Can Enjoy 3 Rate Discounts

Autopay Discount

Autopay discount is the discount borrowers receive for setting up automatic loan payments. So, if you automate your loan repayments, Upgrade offers you a 0.5 percent point discount. And this will lower your APR.

Direct Pay Discount

Borrowers using Upgrade personal loans for debt consolidation can get a discount of up to 5 percentage points on their rate if they have Upgrade pay off their debt directly.

But you can only qualify for this discount if you have the lender send more than 50% of the funds directly to a third-party creditor.

Reward Checking Discount

If you have a reward checking account with Upgrade, you may get up to 20% off your rate. And this will lower your APR drastically.

You Are Offered Longer Repayment Terms for Home Improvement Loans

Generally, Upgrade offers two to five years repayment terms on personal loans. But if the loan is for home improvements or larger than $30,000, borrowers get a seven years repayment term. This is an exceptional benefit that most lenders don't offer.

Mobile App and Credit Assistance are Available

Upgrade has a user-friendly and smart interface mobile app that allows borrowers to manage their loan repayments.

The mobile app also has unique features like credit score monitoring, the latest credit report summary, a credit score simulator, and additional resources on credit and finances.

Secured and Joint Loans Are Available

Upgrade offers borrowers secured or joint loans. These loans are less risky and come with lower APR. For instance, if you use your vehicle as collateral to secure a loan from Upgrade, you could get a rate of 1 to 10 percent lower than an unsecured loan.

Upgrade also offers joint loans. This means, the company allows two people to apply for a loan together and share the responsibility of repayment.

Upgrade Enjoys a Good Reputation and Customer Reviews

Upgrade has a good reputation in the US lending industry. Borrowers who have used their services confirmed that they don't have stringent requirements and are transparent about their APRs and credit score requirements.

They also offer pre-qualifications to borrowers, so they know what to get before applying for a loan.

Where Upgrade Personal Loans Fall Short

Upgrade Charges an Origination Fee Ranging From 1.85% to 8%

Upgrade charges an origination fee - the amount borrowers pay to the company to process a loan. Upgrade deducts this money from the loan amount before borrowers receive the funds; this reduces the total loan amount.

For instance, if you are approved for $15000 with a 6% origination fee, you would get $14100 deposited directly into your account, while Upgrade keeps $900 as an origination fee.

Sometimes, origination fees are negotiable. But you tend to pay a higher interest rate if you reduce or avoid them. What borrowers pay as origination fees depend on their credit score, assets, liabilities, and total income.

You Have no Options to Choose a Payment Date

Upgrade doesn't allow borrowers to choose a payment date for their loans, unlike other lenders. The company decides when you repay your loan.

They only allow you to move your payment date 15 days before or after your repayment due date. And borrowers who cannot repay their loans 15 days after the due date will pay a late fee of $10.

You Can't use the Loan for Post-Secondary Education Purposes

You can't use personal loans or personal credit lines obtained through Upgrade for post-secondary education expenses. These expenses include but are not limited to transportation, supplies, tuition, room, board, etc.

Compare Upgrade With Other Lenders

Upgrade’s low credit score requirement and small loan flexibility make it appealing to borrowers. However, their origination fees and high maximum APR place their loans fairly average overall.

So, if your credit score is above 650, you should consider the following fee-free and low-interest rates lenders.

Loan Amounts
2 to 5 years (7 years for certain loans involving high amounts)
Loan Term
2 to 7 years
2 to 7 years, up to 12 years for home improvement loans
Origination fee: 1.85% - 8.99%
Late fee: $10 (after a 15-day grace period)
Prepayment fee: $0
Origination fee: $0
Late fee: $0
Prepayment fee: $0
Origination fee: $0
Late fee: $0
Prepayment fee: $0
Within four business days (from the time of approval)
Time to fund
Within 2 to 4 days
Within a day
Min. credit score
Loans are available in every state except Iowa, West Virginia, and Washington DC
Loan Availability
Loans are available in every state except Mississippi
Loans are available in every state plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico
Borrowers with poor credit scores and need access to smaller loan amounts
Best for
Borrowers with high credit scores and need access to large loan amounts
Borrowers who need loans with long repayment terms for the home improvement project.

Upgrade Vs. SoFi

Generally, SoFi offers higher loan amounts than Upgrade. SoFi loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000, while Upgrade offers $1,000 to $50,000, and in most cases, borrowers won’t get more than $25,000.

Furthermore, both SoFi and Upgrade offer discounts to borrowers who set up autopay. But unlike Upgrade, SoFi doesn’t charge origination or any other fee, which makes their loans more appealing.

Upgrade Vs. LightStream

LightStream personal loans are more flexible and affordable than Upgrade. The APRs can start as low as 3% for certain loans for autopay. It’s an amazing loan option for borrowers who seek to take out large loans at affordable rates.

Depending on your loan size, creditworthiness, and the purpose of the loan, you can get up to a 12 years repayment period from LightStream. But regardless of your credit score and the purpose of the loan, you can’t get more than 7 years repayment term from Upgrade.

Lastly, LightStream doesn’t charge origination costs on loans, which makes it less expensive to get a loan.

Upgrade is not as flexible and affordable as LightStream; that explains why it’s not a good option for people with high credit scores.

Requirements for Upgrade Personal Loans

To access personal loans from Upgrade, you need to meet the following requirements;

  • A minimum credit score of 620

  • Borrowers with a minimum credit history of two years.

  • A maximum debt-to-income ratio of 75%, including mortgage and the current loan you are applying for.

  • Borrowers don’t need a minimum annual income to apply for a loan. Upgrade accepts income from partners, alimony, child support, retirement, social security, and other sources linked to the borrower.

  • Borrowers must be up to 18 years and 19 years if they are living in Alabama and some other states.

  • You must be a Citizen of the United States, a permanent resident, or an immigration visa holder.

  • Borrowers must present a means of identification like a social security number or passport.

  • A verifiable US bank account to receive the fund.

Apply For Upgrade Personal Loans Within 4 Steps

4 Things to Do Before You Apply for

Your Credit

Before you apply for Upgrade personal loans, ensure that your credit score meets the minimum requirements (620). You can check AnnualCreditReport.com for a free credit report. With this, it’s easy to identify and possibly fix any errors before applying for a loan. It increases your chances of approval.

Your Monthly Payments

Taking out personal loans without calculating the APR and repayment terms ahead of time is not a good idea. Knowing the APR and repayment terms allows you to get a loan with affordable monthly payments easily.

Decide How to Repay the Loan

Taking loans without making plans to repay them will only plunge into endless debt. So, before you apply for a loan, review your finances to see how monthly payments may affect your cash flow. This information will help you restructure your income and cut unnecessary expenses before you borrow.

Gather Your Document

As part of the application process, Upgrade will request your proof of income; It could be a W-2 or pay stub. You must also submit proof of address and social security numbers. When you have these documents arranged, it fast-tracks the loan approval process.

4 Steps to Apply for an Upgrade Personal Loans

Visit Upgrade’s Website to Prequalify

Prequalification is the first step on the lender’s website. All you have to do is visit Upgrade’s website and enter the loan amount and its purpose. You have the option to decide on the type of application ( whether joint or individual application).

The next prompt will be to enter your personal information and create an account with your email. After which, you will provide your social security number.

Preview the Different Loan Offers

After the pre-qualifying stage, borrowers will get several offers with different rates and terms. Study the offers carefully and choose the repayment terms that won’t impact your cash flow.

Submit your Application

Once you decide on an offer, complete a formal application online. Upgrade may require you to submit additional documents like W-2, pay stubs, and bank statements to confirm the information you provided during pre-qualification.

Upon submitting the document, you can check your loan status by logging into the Upgrade account. You will get a notification about your loan status via email.

Loan Request Approved

After verifying the information you submit, Upgrade will approve your loan request and send the fund to your account. Depending on your bank, you may receive funds within one to four business days.

How CreditYelp Rates Upgrade

Overall Score 4.5 Explanation
Requirements & Application 4.6 Upgrade’s application requirement is easy and flexible.
Loan flexibility 4.4 Borrowers don’t have the option to choose a repayment date.
Rates, Fees & Other Terms 3 Upgrade has a high maximum APR and charges an origination fee which increases the cost of the loan.
Customer experience 4.5 Upgrade has good customer reviews across different platforms.
Transparency 4.3 Upgrade is transparent about its rates and allows users to prequalify online to preview potential loan offers.

Upgrade FAQs

Is Upgrade legit?

Yes! Upgrade is a legit loan company launched in 2017. It’s a good borrowing option for borrowers who prefer simplicity and flexibility.

Although Upgrade’s APRs and origination fees are a bit high, it’s still appealing to some borrowers; because it doesn't charge prepayment penalties and loan approval for people with bad credit scores.

Can I Pay Off an Upgrade Personal Loan Early?

Yes! You can pay off Upgrade personal loans early. The lender doesn’t charge a prepayment penalty. So, paying off your loan early will help you save on interest.

Here’s how it works.

Let’s assume you take out a personal loan of $10,000 with an origination fee of 3%, 4 years repayment period, and 18% APR.

If you adhere to the regular payment period of 4 years, you will spend about $4100 on interest.

But if you pay off the loan early, say in 3 years, you can save about $1086 on interest.

So, it’s wise to pay off your Upgrade personal loan early.

Does an Upgrade Personal Loan Help Build Credit?

Yes! Upgrade personal loans help build credit if you are prompt with your monthly payments. The lender must report your loan repayment performance monthly to the three major credit bureaus. And if such a report is positive, it will improve your credit score.

What Can Upgrade Personal Loans Be Used For?

Permitted Uses

  • Debt Consolidation
  • Refinance Credit Cards
  • Major Purchases
  • Home Improvements

Prohibited Uses

  • Post-secondary education expenses like tuition, room and board, supplies, and other related expenses.
  • Illegal activities
  • Gambling
  • Investment

Upgrade Reviews

The review data come from Trustpilot, ConsumerAffairs, and WalletHub.

  • Trustpilot
  • WalletHub
  • ConsumerAffairs
  • CreditYelp
  • 4.5 stars based on 200 reviews

    • J
      Quick and straightforward
    • W
      Easy , fast application process.
    • C
      Christopher England
      Easy to deal with . Fast response to get an answer for the loan . They really help people consolidate their debt making life better . Friendly , easy to apply . Great overall experience would recommend to anyone to use them for all your financial needs.
    • A
      Arthur James
      The experience worked well for me I was able to get a longer term loan to lower my monthly payment in order to pay for a previous person alone and to take on a veterinarian bill so I am very happy with the result
    • J
      Jane Hodge
      You get alerts, offers, and easy access to your credit line (card or lone). Love the options and mostly love the financial freedom, and second chances.
    • B
      Brandon Guerin
      Life saver ????
    • P
      The experience was very easy.
    • S
      sarah gilmore
      did not have a lot of red tape so to speak.
    • M
      Marisbel R
    • J
      John Payne
      Very professional and efficient service. Process only required a few days.
  • 4.8 stars based on 200 reviews

    • M
      My loan was approved so fast and the money was in my account and the credit cards were paid off. This is a dream come true. Yes, I would recommend to all my friends. Thank you so much. I am very pleased.

      Response from the owner

      Hello Mary,We appreciate your feedback.Thank you for being a valued customer!

    • T
      Fast convenient service. Easy to navigate website. Customer service was easy to deal with also. Would recommend to anyone looking for fast cash or if needed a larger loan. Terms were laid out in plain sight to understand fully. Thank you Upgrade.

      Response from the owner

      Hello Tammy,We appreciate your feedback.Thank you for being a valued customer!

    • J
      Personal loan. Got my funds very fast, process was very fast and easy, felt very satisfied with this company. I would definitely recommend them to friends and family. This is my second personal loan from this company and I would definitely do it again.

      Response from the owner

      Hello Juan,We appreciate your feedback.Thank you for being a valued customer!

    • C
      My experience with the loan process was efficient and timely. I would give the process 5 stars. The direct deposit made it convenient for me. I was able to handle monetary situations quickly. I would definitely recommend Upgrade to friends and family.

      Response from the owner

      Hello Carolyn,We appreciate your feedback.Thank you for being a valued customer!

    • P
      Quick, painless, and simple process to get money. Got the money fast. If you need to pay off credit cards, have them (Upgrade) send the money to the credit cards and pay off faster. I would recommend all my friends that need help to Upgrade.

      Response from the owner

      Hello Paul,We appreciate your feedback.Thank you for being a valued customer!

    • D
      Just obtained a loan from you and the experience was quick and professional. I would recommend you to anyone that is in need of a loan and I am sure that I will be using you again. I had to make 2 calls to check on the status and both times the personnel was friendly.

      Response from the owner

      Hello Debra,We appreciate your feedback.Thank you for being a valued customer!

    • W
      Great service. Easy to do online. Handled the loan quickly. I called and talked to customer service I assume. They answered all my questions. Funds were deposited in my account in less than a week. All around a positive experience. Thanks -Will

      Response from the owner

      Hello William,We appreciate your feedback.Thank you for being a valued customer!

    • K
      I have had a great experience with Upgrade. They helped me with a personal loan to pay off some bills. Plus gave me a credit card that has also been helpful. Easy to use and payments are reasonable. I would recommend them to all of my friends and family.

      Response from the owner

      Hello Karen,We appreciate your feedback.Thank you for being a valued customer!

    • D
      This was a good experience. Very easy to fill out the application and be approved. I would definitely recommend this to a friend who might be a little short on cash. I would use this company again if I find myself short of cash.

      Response from the owner

      Hello Deb,We appreciate your feedback.Thank you for being a valued customer!

    • F
      My loan experience was super nice and easy, super quick, easy to navigate, the process online and the costumer service was so helpful, definitely I highly recommended to everyone, Upgrade credit card or personal loan, good rates and easy to access.

      Response from the owner

      Hello Felipe,We appreciate your feedback.Thank you for being a valued customer!

  • 3.4 stars based on 200 reviews

    • T
      Taylor L
      <p>As far as the loan/card goes, it's pretty standard. However, I've spoken to at least 4 upgrade representatives for a variety of reasons, and out of those four experiences, I've had two REALLY bad customer service reps. I'm familiar with cards and the standards of customer service, and the Upgrade customer service was so terrible (impoliteness, cutting me off, condescending tone, clearly untrained...perhaps they have a hard time hiring quality staff) that I decided to close my account because I could not continue to do business with them. Please stay away from this company who hires people who treat their customers terribly.</p>
    • A
      <p>This is by far the worst credit company I have ever dealt with. We moved back in August and have been trying for months to simply get our address changed and it is simply impossible. I was able to change my address myself with all of my major credit card companies online, but this joke of a company expects me to email over all my personal information as well as a photo of myself. When I first inquired about changing my address I was given the wrong email address and was simply told to email in a current utility bill. I did this, unfortunately to the wrong email address, and waited. Called again, was told they never got it, so I emailed again. Called again and now they want me to risk identity theft in order to get my address changed. If they want this kind of personal information they should have a platform available to submit it that protects from identity theft. Instead they expect you to send your personal information over the internet and risk becoming a victim. All to simply change an address so you can ensure your getting your bill… I wasn’t even allowed to update my payment information myself. This is the most frustrating company I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with.</p>
    • A
      <p>Yeah, they’re easy to get credit and loans from, but beware once they have you locked in. This is a long, but important, review for anyone considering Upgrade. <br /><br /><br>My payment due date is in 2 days and for some reason they are saying my account is 6 days past due. And they’re trying to say it’s $.01 (yes, one cent) that’s owed. I make all my payments on time so this is completely inaccurate. I owe nothing and certainly not from 6 days ago. Like I said, my payment is due in two days (on the 4th). My husband had similar issues with Upgrade and when we called to ask about the “delinquent” status on his account, they assured us it was an error in the app and that nothing was showing delinquent on their end. Fast forward 3 months and his account was suddenly charged off. We contacted them immediately and they told us it was for nonpayment. They were incredibly rude and unhelpful. It took us two weeks to get someone to admit they messed up and assured us the account would be taken out of charge off status. We had to call back later that week to talk to someone else and they told us they didn’t have that info on the account, meaning we had to start all over, explain the whole situation and try to get them to fix the status of the account. Since you talk to someone new every single time, nobody ever knows what’s going on and apparently they don’t keep track of the things they said. Now the account was charged off anyway! We take our credit very seriously and don’t even have any late payments. His credit took a huge hit because of Upgrade. The customer service is $h!t, they’re so rude and unhelpful and they have shady practices. I should have listened to the negative reviews from the beginning. STAY AWAY FROM UPGRADE!!</p>
    • R
      <p>Simple and Easy! I have had 2 loans through them, no hassles and approved each time. Interest rates were decent for my good credit score.</p>
    • K
      <p>Great company with excellent customer service.<br /><br>I am very impressed with Upgrade and how they allow you to have an Upgrade checking and a savings account. Their website is also one in which all accounts are posted on 1 page and how easy it is to use, Very user friendly.</p>
    • C
      <p>Most fair for sure. Easy, and a savior when we needed it!!<br /><br>I have never done anything like loan before and things got bad so this was what helped me get through and it was so affordable every month</p>
    • Y
      <p>I have a credit card with this company, but sad to say, I wish I didn't need to deal with them. They have the rudest individuals working as "customer service" reps. I have credit cards with many other banks, such as AMEX, Capita One, and Goldman Sachs and they are true professionals. With the Upgrade, I will no longer use the Upgrade card, this way I will no longer have to deal with these horribly rude individuals.</p>
    • K
      Ken P
      <p>I qualified for the Triple Cash rewards card. This credit card is better used as a credit line for cash but can be used for purchases anywhere that VISA is accepted. Overall, no issues It makes a great backup card for emergencies.</p>
    • B
      <p>Sucks. They ask for way too much information and the fat one that couldn't breathe, Leo, was a short rude jacka**. No thank you. I would never fight with someone for credit when my wife and I make over 150k a year. Yeah absolutely not. The only reason I was interested was because I had unexpected expenses last year and wanted to rebuild my credit more quickly. I'm GOOD.</p>
    • R
      <p>Very straightforward application process. Online app works well. Highly recommend this loan funding service. Money deposited as agreed. I am a grateful customer.</p>

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