Upgrade Personal Loans Review

Founded in 2016, Upgrade is an online lending platform that utilizes technology to help borrowers access loan products faster. It offers personal loans, lines of credit, free credit monitoring, and online education tools.

Upgrade offers personal loans to borrowers in every state except West Virginia and Washington, D.C. The Upgrade personal loan comes with the benefit of low, fixed rates, a quick application and funding process and flexible borrowing amounts. Borrowers can use the funds to cover everything from debt consolidation to home improvements and other large purchases. These loans do come with a 1.85 to 8 percent origination fee, which some other lenders do not charge.


  • Loans available as low as $1,000
  • Offers direct payment to third-party creditors for consolidation loans
  • No prepayment penalty fees
  • Secured and joint applications


  • Co-signers not accepted
  • Maximum loan amount is $50,000
  • Higher interest rates compared to competitors
  • Charges origination fees
  • No option to choose initial payment date
  • Charges late payment fees

How It’s Compared

Upgrade vs. Upstart

Upstart provides an instant personal loan application decision and can fund a loan within one business day. Upstart offers similar rates to Upgrade, but may more easily approve borrowers with low credit scores or thin credit histories using its alternative data underwriting model.

Upgrade may be the better debt consolidation lender because Upstart doesn’t offer direct payment to creditors or debt consolidation discounts.

Upgrade vs. SoFi

SoFi personal loans start at $5,000 and go up to $100,000 based on loan purpose – twice larger than loans available through Upgrade. APRs start around 6% with autopay, which is similar to the starting rates offered by Upgrade, but SoFi’s rates peak around 20% with autopay. SoFi’s loans are appealing because, unlike Upgrade, the lender does not charge any origination fees.

Upgrade vs. LightStream

LightStream personal loans range from $5,000 to $100,000, and APRs start below 3% with autopay for certain loan purposes. This makes LightStream loans much more flexible and affordable for the most qualified borrowers who need a large loan at competitive rates. Thus, those with a credit score higher than 660, may want to consider LightStream for lower rates.

Like Upgrade, loan terms start at just two years, but LightStream offers more extensive terms ranging up to 12 years depending on loan size, purpose and creditworthiness. What’s more, LightStream does not charge origination fees, which further reduces the overall cost of a loan, especially as compared to Upgrade.

Upgrade vs. Marcus

Like Upgrade, Marcus offers smaller personal loans from $3,500 to $40,000. Rates start around 7%—slightly higher than Upgrade’s minimum APR—but they max out at around 20%, which is much lower than Upgrade’s highest rates. Furthermore, Marcus does not charge origination or late fees. These lower rates come with a catch, Marcus has a higher recommended minimum credit score of 660.

Upgrade vs. Happy Money

Happy Money is focused on debt consolidation and financial health. Like Upgrade, Happy Money offers direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans. Happy Money has tighter credit requirements, but it offers lower rates than Upgrade.

Bottom Line

Upgrade offers fixed-rate personal loans from just $1,000 to $50,000 to borrowers with credit scores as low as 560. The application process is entirely online, and applicants can get approved and receive their funds in as little as one day and within four days. Upgrade may be a good choice if you need money quickly and your credit qualifies you for the lender’s best rates.

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