Loans » Personal Loan Lender Reviews » Upgrade Personal Loan Review 2021
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Upgrade Personal Loan Review 2021

Upgrade was established in 2016 with the goal of helping borrowers with personal loans and a new product, personal lines of credit. Here's how it works.
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Some products that appear here are from companies from which this website receives compensation. This may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This compensation allows us to maintain a full-time, unbiased editorial staff. Our opinions are our own.

In this Review..

Upgrade is an online direct lender established in 2016. The company offers both personal loans and lines of credit called “Upgrade Card”. To date, over 8 million people have applied for an Upgrade personal loan or Upgrade Card. 

Upgrade personal loans range from $1,000 – $50,000 with a term of 36 months to 60 months. The lender does not offer variable rate loans, but depending on your creditworthiness, you may qualify for an APR rate between 6.99% – 35.97% .

Upgrade looks for a credit score of at least 620. However, the company may consider other factors to establish your creditworthiness. 

One issue to be aware of is the Upgrade fees. While there is no prepayment fee, Upgrade charges an origination fee of 2.9 to 8% on personal loans. There is also a $10 late payment fee, which applies after a 15 day grace period. 

Upgrade looks to enhance the borrowers’ lending experience by providing credit tools and education along with competitive loans.


6.99% – 35.97%

Loan Amount

$1,000 – $50,000


36-60 months

Min score


Upgrade has a deep executive bench with the goal of providing an online lending platform at a lower cost and with a better customer experience than traditional banks. It combines its products with free credit monitoring, including alerts and even providing education about credit on their platform. Upgrade seeks to help borrowers understand their credit potential and secure cheaper credit, in the long run, using credit monitoring.

Upgrade Loan Pros & Cons

As we know, each lender has its own pros & cons – here are the relevant things we found for potential borrowers:



Loan Details

Here are the basic specifications & requirements of Upgrade Personal Loan :

Loan Terms
Upgrade Personal Loan
Loan Amount Range
$1,000 – $50,000
Interest Rate Range
6.99% – 35.97%
36-60 months
Origination Fee
Late Payment Fee
Returned Payment Fee
Prepayment Fee
Minimum Credit Score
1st Payment
30 days from issued funds
Dept to Income Ration
less than 40%

What Can an Upgrade Personal Loan Be Used For?

Upgrade can be used to consolidate debt, build or improve businesses, pay for home improvements or for large purchases. It cannot be used for any post-secondary education expenses, investments, illegal activities, or gambling of any kind.

Upgrade home improvement is for home repairs or projects. The advantage of using an Upgrade home improvement loan is the promptness of receiving the funds. Typically, it takes a month or more to get an equity line of credit on your home.

You can use an Upgrade loan to start your home improvement project immediately. Another advantage over a home equity line of credit is that it’s based on the credit worthiness of the borrower, not the equity of a home.

Upgrade personal loans cannot be used for any post-secondary education expenses. This includes consolidating student debt, tuition, books, room and board, etc. Upgrade also restricts personal loans from being used to invest in securities, illegal activities, or gambling of any kind.

Upgrade debt consolidation takes one or more loans and pays them with the new Upgrade loan. Instead of multiple payments to multiple lenders you can create one payment to one lender. The advantage of a debt consolidation loan with Upgrade is that the payment and term are fixed so you know exactly when you’ll be out of debt.

Upgrade allows personal loans to be used for business use. Many other lenders only allow this type of loan to be for personal use. The loan can be used to purchase inventory, payroll, or any other general business needs.

You can use an Upgrade personal loan for large purchases such as appliances, automobiles, recreational vehicles, and medical bills.

Upgrade Reputation

  • A+ on BBB:  BBB assigns ratings from A+ (highest) to F (lowest). BB ratings are based on information in BBB files with respect to factors such as the business's complaint history with BBB, type of business, time in business, transparent business practices, and more.
  • 4.77/5  on BBB customer reviews (+900 reviews): BB customer reviews allow customers to post positive, negative, or neutral reviews about marketplace experiences.
  • 4.7/5 on Trustpilot ( +8700 reviews): TrustScore is also an overall measurement of reviewer satisfaction, represented numerically from 1 to 5.
  • J.D Power: We considered J.D. Power’s lending consumers satisfaction study. J.D Power offers the most comprehensive and independent study of personal loans consumer satisfaction  . The study aims to help consumers and issuers to understand user opinions and ratings of top lenders. It covers terms, benefits, services, communication, transparency and more. Upgrade wasn't rated in the 2020 research.

J.D. Power U.S. Lending Consumer Satisfaction 2020

In order to avoid bias based on a small number of reviews, we present only ratings with at least 200 reviews.

Application Process

The Upgrade application process only takes a few minutes. You will fill out a short form with some basic questions about yourself, including your full name, contact information, date of birth, and income. Create an Upgrade account.

Upgrade Personal Loan

You will need to consent to Credit Profile Authorization, allowing Upgrade to check your credit.

Upgrade Personal Loan


Then Upgrade does a soft pull to see what loan options they have for you. You can get an idea of how much you’ll be paying for before they do a hard pull inquiry on your credit. You may get a notification that the application has been declined. If you decide to move forward you will need to answer more verification questions, and allow a hard credit pull.

 Upgrade Personal Loan


If Upgrade approves your credit application you will need to submit supporting documentation verifying your identity and your income. You will also need to provide verifiable banking information in a valid email address. The process is relatively quick in that the average turnaround time for Upgrade is 4 days. Once the information has been verified you will need to sign loan documents.  


Upgrade Personal Loan


If you are self-employed, Upgrade has a more rigorous verification process than some other lenders may have. They require 2 years of taxes including K -1’s and bank statements. If you are self-employed please review Upgrade’s requirements and how they calculate income.

Upgrade Personal Loan

Upgrade looks to enhance the borrowers’ lending experience by providing credit tools and education along with competitive loans.


6.99% – 35.97%

Loan Amount

$1,000 – $50,000


36-60 months

Min score


Alternatives Lenders For Consideration

Here are our 3 choices of lenders which can use as a great alternative to Upgrade personal loan: 

This company mostly caters to people with great credit. They offer fixed rate loans to consolidate debt with a two to five year repayment period. The lowest interest rates are typically reserved for borrowers with the best credit scores.

FreedomPlus is one of the few lenders willing to offer joint or co-signed loans to those with poor credit. Approximately 30% of FreedomPlus borrowers have taken advantage of this, as it helps borrowers to access lower interest rates.

For example, if you qualify for a loan at 15% interest, it may reduce to 10% if you use a co signer with good credit.

SoFi has moved away from that business model and moved to a “non-traditional underwriting approach focused on lending to financially responsible individuals. SoFi uses an underwriting model that examines free cash flow, professional history and education in addition to a history of responsible bill payment to evaluate its borrowers.”

SoFi personal loans have no origination or late fees. They also do not have a prepayment penalty so the loan can be paid off early without additional costs. SoFi gives borrowers flexibility in payments and allow you to change payment due dates and do not charge late fees.

Lending Point is based in Kennesaw, Georgia. This online lender offers a competitive option for those with fair credit.

Lending Point personal loans have a relatively high interest rate of 15.49% to 35.99%. You can borrow $2,000 to $25,000 with a term of 24 to 48 months.

Where Lending Point stands apart from many lenders is that you can qualify for a loan if your credit score is 585 or above. The company will also consider other factors to establish your eligibility including:

  • Income
  • Financial history
  • Job history
  • Overall credit behavior.

Lending Point does not have prepayment fees, but there is a potentially costly origination fee. This can be zero to 6% depending on your location. There is also a $30 late payment fee, applied after a 15 day grace period.

Upgrade Loan is Best for..

The Upgrade platform is a great place for borrowers with good or excellent credit and strong cash flow. Upgrade looks to enhance the borrowers’ lending experience by providing credit tools and education along with competitive loans. Take advantage of the soft pull inquiry and see what type of terms you could get through an Upgrade loan.

The major drawback to upgrade is their origination fee. There are other lenders who do not charge this fee, which can be pretty high and will add to the overall cost of your loan.

Loan Reviews Methodology

When it comes to choosing personal, student or car loans, we make sure that we evaluate all of the different products and services that are available for the lender we review. 

The Smart Investor’s selection of loan providers for inclusion here was made based on key areas we evaluated: loan types and loan products offered, fees, and APR. We also considering customer satisfaction and reliable external ratings such as J.D power/Trustpilot.

Cutting fees is now table stakes in the personal and student loans market. In addition, the most valuable loan products tend to offer a deep bench of options that meet a wide array of customer needs. These include a diverse range of loan amounts and terms, as well as loan structures. We also make sure that you’re going to save money by cutting down on the APR that goes along with the loans offered.