Banking

Upgrade personal loans review: Borrow as little as $1,000 and receive your money in 1 business day

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Upgrade loan amounts and interest rates

At Upgrade, personal loan amounts range from $1,000 to $50,000 and can be repaid over two to seven years, depending on what best fits your repayment needs. If you pay off your loan early, you won’t face a prepayment fee. 

While you’ll need good credit to qualify for the lowest rate, Upgrade’s minimum interest rate of 5.94% is competitive compared to similar lenders. For example, the minimum APR for both Payoff and Best Egg is 5.99%. You can apply with a co-borrower with good credit to potentially get a better rate from Upgrade. 

On the other hand, if your credit is in worse shape, Upgrade may not be as good of an option for you. Upgrade’s maximum APR is 35.97%, significantly higher than Best Egg’s rate of 29.99% or Payoff’s rate of 24.99%. 

Upgrade offers unsecured personal loans through its lending partners, Cross River Bank (Member FDIC) and Blue Ridge Bank (Member FDIC). You don’t need to put up any collateral, like a house or a car, to get an unsecured personal loan. You can take out a personal loan for a number of purposes.

You won’t be able to get a personal loan in all 50 states with Upgrade, as the lender doesn’t serve borrowers in Iowa or West Virginia.  

After you apply and have your loan approved, you should receive your money within one business day. You won’t pay a prepayment penalty with an Upgrade loan, but you will pay an origination fee between 2.90% to 8%. You’ll also be charged a late fee of up to $10 if the lender doesn’t receive your payment in full within 15 days of your payment due date.

Depending on what you need help with, you can email the company’s customer support account. You can also call Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, or on weekends from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT. 

Upgrade lists common reasons for taking out a personal loan on its home page as refinancing credit cards, home improvement, major purchases, or debt consolidation.

You’ll need to meet the following requirements to apply:

  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident, or living in the US on a valid visa
  • Be at least 18 years old (19 years old in Alabama)
  • Have a verifiable bank account
  • Show a valid email address

The pros and cons of Upgrade personal loans 

With Upgrade, you’re required to have a minimum credit score of 620 to qualify for a loan. This minimum is similar to other personal loan lenders that have similar interest rate and loan term ranges. For comparison, the lowest credit score Best Egg and Payoff will accept is 640.  

If you aren’t sure what your credit score is, you can find it at no cost on annualcreditreport.com from any of the three major credit bureaus once per week during the coronavirus pandemic.

Upgrade will perform two soft credit inquiries — which do not impact your credit score — once you check your rate and again accept when your offer and submit your bank account information. 

Once your loan is funded, the lender will conduct a hard credit inquiry, which will likely affect your credit score. A hard inquiry gives a lender a comprehensive view of your credit history, but may negatively impact your credit score as a result.

If you are interested in getting a personal loan from Upgrade but need to improve your credit score to do so, here are some tips you can use to boost your score: 

  • Request and review a copy of your credit report. Look for any errors on your report that could be lowering your score. If so, reach out to the credit bureau to discuss fixing the mistake.
  • Keep low credit card balancesMaintaining a credit utilization rate — the percentage of your total credit you’re using — of 30% or less will prove to lenders that you can manage your credit well.
  • Create a system for paying bills on time. Your payment history makes up a substantial percentage of your credit score, and lenders prefer to see consistent and reliable past payments. Set up calendar reminders or automatic payments to make sure you don’t miss out on any of your obligations.

Upgrade is a Better Business Bureau-accredited company, and the BBB gives Upgrade an A+ in trustworthiness. The BBB evaluates trustworthiness by reviewing business’ replies to consumer complaints, honesty in advertising, and clarity about business practices. 

Remember that a great BBB rating doesn’t guarantee an excellent relationship with Upgrade, so make sure you read reviews and ask friends and family about their experiences with the company.

Upgrade does not have any recent controversies. Due to its clean history and great BBB rating, you may feel comfortable using Upgrade as your personal loan lender.  

The application is available online or over the phone and can be completed in several minutes. You’ll need basic information for the initial application, including:

  • Solo or joint application
  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Individual annual income
  • Contact information including your address and email
  • Social Security number 

To verify your employment, Upgrade might request your employer’s name, telephone number, and your date of hire. The lender may also ask for specific income documents.

After you apply and have your loan approved, you will likely get your cash within one business day.

Although rates will depend on your unique situation, Upgrade’s interest rates are comparable to those offered by similar lenders. Here’s how Upgrade compares to the competition:

Upgrade review vs. Best Egg review

Upgrade has a lower credit score requirement than Best Egg, but it comes at the cost of a higher maximum APR if your credit isn’t in the best shape.

However, you may be able to get a slightly lower APR with Upgrade than Best Egg. As the companies have similar APR ranges, it’s likely in your best interest to request your rates from the lenders to compare your options.  

With Upgrade, you’ll pay an origination fee between 2.90% and 8% of your total loan amount, and this fee will be baked into your overall loan APR. You may pay a slightly lower origination fee with Best Egg, as its range is between 0.99% and 5.99%. 

You’ll probably receive your funds in roughly the same amount of time with both companies, within one business day of approval. 

Upgrade has a maximum loan term of seven years, while Best Egg has a maximum loan term of five years. If you’re looking to spread out your payments over an extended period, Upgrade might be the better choice for you. 

Upgrade review vs. Payoff review

Upgrade and Payoff have relatively similar minimum credit score requirements, but a significant difference in maximum APRs. Payoff’s highest interest rate is 24.99%, over 10% lower than Upgrade’s maximum APR. 

Payoff personal loans are aimed to help borrowers pay down high-interest credit card debt. This means you are limited in what you can use your loan for — you may want to go with Upgrade if you aren’t trying to consolidate credit card debt. 

Upgrade will likely send you your money faster than Payoff. Upgrade generally sends out funds within a day after approval, while it will take at least three business days with Payoff.  

Ryan Wangman is a reviews fellow at Personal Finance Insider reporting on mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, bank reviews, and loans. In his past experience writing about personal finance, he has written about credit scores, financial literacy, and homeownership.

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