Upstart has made a mark on the personal loan space because of its artificial intelligence- and machine learning-based approach to borrower qualification. In fact, Upstart estimates that it has been able to approve 27% more borrowers than possible under a traditional lending model. With competitive APRs, Upstart is not a top lender for borrowers who can qualify for more competitive rates. Even so, the platform’s minimum 600 credit score makes it an accessible option to those with fair credit.
Upstart also offers a pretty flexible range of loan options, with amounts ranging from as low as $1,000 so you don’t have to borrow (or pay interest on) more than you really need. And, while Upstart’s loans cap out at $50,000—lower than some lenders—this is likely to be enough for many prospective borrowers.
Even though Upstarts three- and five-year loan terms are more restrictive than other lenders, it’s likely to be an acceptable tradeoff for applicants who might not be approved in a more traditional lending environment. Plus, it’s available in every state except West Virginia and Iowa, so it’s as widely available as many other top lenders.
Eligibility: Upstart stands out because it uses an AI-based platform to consider a range of non-conventional variables when evaluating borrower applications. And, while the platform advertises a minimum credit score of 600, Upstart may even accept applicants who don’t have enough credit history to have a score. When evaluating prospective borrowers, Upstart considers college education, job history, residence, debt-to-income ratio, bankruptcies and delinquencies and number of credit inquiries.
Borrowers also must have a full-time job or offer starting in six months, a regular part-time job or another source of regular income—with a minimum annual income of $12,000. Co-signers and co-applicants are not permitted.
Loan uses: Upstart’s personal loans can be used for credit card and other debt consolidation, special events, moving and relocation, medical and dental costs and home improvements. In contrast to many other traditional and online lenders, Upstart also lets borrowers use personal loan funds to cover educational expenses (except in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Washington and the District of Columbia).
Upstart borrowers cannot use personal loans to finance illegal activity or purchase weapons, firearms or illegal drugs.
Turnaround time: Upstart provides next-business day funding for borrowers whose loans are accepted before 5 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday. Loans that are approved after 5 p.m. are typically funded the following business day, or the day after that. That said, Upstart reports that 99% of loan applicants receive their money one business day after accepting their loan terms. Loans for education-related expenses may take up to an additional three business days after loan acceptance.</…….