Upgrade Personal Loan Review 2020

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4 stars out of 5

The Smart Investor reviews are unbiased, and reflect the views of our editorial staff. We’ve collected the information independently. Issuers did not provide the details, nor are they responsible for their accuracy. The review is not a recommendation, the actual rates/fees may be different.

Upgrade – About The Lender

Upgrade is an online lending platform company based out of San Francisco, created by peer-to-peer lending veterans Renaud Laplanche and Soul Htite. They are also the founders of Lending Club. Soul Htite is the founder of China’s largest online lender, Dianrong. Upgrade was established in 2016 with the goal of helping borrowers with personal loans and a new product, personal lines of credit. Upgrade also combines their products with free credit monitoring, including alerts and even providing education about credit on their platform.

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. Upgrade seeks to help borrowers understand their credit potential and secure cheaper credit in the long run using credit monitoring.

Upgrade – Loan Specification

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

FeatureUpgrade Personal Loan
Loan Amount Range$1,000 – $50,000
Interest Rate Range6.99% – 35.97%
Term36-60 months
Origination fee1%-6%
Late Payment Fee$10
Returned payment feeNone
Check Processing feeNone
Prepayment feeNone
Minimum Credit Score620
1st payment30 days from issued funds
Debt To Income Ratioless than 40%
Documents To Provide
  • Personal information (including address, phone number,birth, email, and SSN)
  • Proof of Monthly income
  • W-25
  • Bank Statements
  • ID, paystubs, or even tax returns

Upgrade Loan Pros & Cons

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


  • Soft Pull Inquiry – Upgrade allows for an initial soft pull inquiry so the borrower can get an idea of the options for which they may qualify.
  • Free Credit Monitoring –You get a free credit summary report from TransUnion. Upgrade will send you credit alerts for any changes in your credit. This can be used to monitor your credit and as a resource to improve your credit.
  • Competitive Interest Rates –Interest rates are competitive for borrowers with good credit histories and strong cash flow.
  • Quick Turnaround Times and Simple Application Process –Upgrade has a quick and simple application process and the loan is usually funded in about 4 days.
  • More than One Loan – The borrower can get multiple loans at a time from Upgrade.
  • No Prepayment Penalty –The borrower can pay off their loan early without any fees.
  • Experienced Founders –Borrowers may feel uneasy borrowing from a new company but the founders of Upgrade have many years of experience with successful online lending platforms.
  • Credit Simulator –This is a useful tool that can show you what actions will affect your credit score.
  • Credit Education –You can get informative emails and alerts. There are also many different articles about credit on the Upgrade website.


  • Higher low end rates for those with excellent credit –Borrowers with excellent credit can often find lower rates in the marketplace.
  • Origination Fee –Upgrade deducts a one-time origination fee of 1% to 6% of your loan amount directly from your loan funds. This should be considered in the pricing of your loan when you apply.
  • Requires Free Cash Flow –Upgrade looks at at your free cash flow — the money you have left at the end of the month, after expenses. You must have at least $1,000 to qualify.
  • More Documentation if Self-employed –Borrowers who are self-employed will need to provide much more documentation than regular wage employees.
  • Not Available in All States –Upgrade does not operate in Connecticut, Iowa, Colorado, Maryland, Vermont or West Virgin.
  • Restrictions for Investments –Upgrade loans cannot be used for investments securities.
  • Large Amounts on Short Terms –One great thing about Upgrade is that they offer higher loan amounts than many other one-line lending platforms. But the terms are short and the payments on higher amounts can be expensive.
  • New Company –Some borrowers dislike doing business with new companies because they are unproven in the marketplace.
  • No Joint Applicants –The application is based on the applicant alone. Upgrade does not allow for joint applicants.

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.

  • Debt Consolidation

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 Home Improvement

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.

  • Improving or Building a Business

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.

  • Large Purchases

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

  • Restrictions on Upgrade Personal Loans

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

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.

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.

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 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.