Couple looking over an Upgrade personal loans review.

Upgrade Personal Loans Review [2024]: Pros and Cons

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Total consumer credit in the United States has risen to over $4.7 trillion

That means Americans are borrowing a whole lot of money.

That might seem like a problem – and it often is. But here’s the thing: Sometimes borrowing money is the right financial decision. 

But can you even get a personal loan if your credit is lousy? 

Yes. You’ll just need to find a more flexible lender. And Upgrade could be just what you’re looking for. 

In this Upgrade personal loans review, you’ll learn what Upgrade has to offer – and how you can make the most of it.

What You Need to Know About Upgrade Personal Loans 

Image of mobile device notification showing Upgrade personal loans credit card  repayment status.
Upgrade offers personal loans for debt consolidation, home improvement, credit card refinancing, and more!
Source: Upgrade

Upgrade personal loans are relatively easy to qualify for. 

They also come with special perks like direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation.

But it’s not all peaches and cream. The interest rates aren’t great, and there’s an origination fee charged at the start of every loan. 

So yeah – it’s a mixed bag. 

This Upgrade personal loans review will tell you about all of it. 

Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $50,000, and the loan duration must fall within 24-84 months. 

The 7.96%-35.97% APR range is also on the higher end. So, you’ll probably end up paying more in interest than you’d like. 

And then, there are those origination fees, which fall between 1.85% to 8.99% of the total loan amount.

I know these ranges are big – I mean, the difference between 7% and 35% is massive, right? 

So what determines where your rate falls on the spectrum? Well, you can expect Upgrade to consider:

  • You credit score
  • Your credit usage history
  • Your desired loan duration 

How to Qualify for an Upgrade Personal Loan

Ease of qualification is a strong point for Upgrade. This is one of the few lenders that considers folks with worse-than-fair credit scores. 

Upgrade doesn’t specify a minimum credit score on its website. 

Luckily, multiple sources have looked into it – and they put the number at 560. 

Pretty cool, huh? 

If your score is in that 560-660 range, you’ve probably been struggling to find a lender. Consider Upgrade your much-needed lifeline. 

Another awesome perk: Upgrade allows joint applications. 

That means you can pair up with a trusted relative (or very good friend) and send in an application together. If their credit score is higher than yours, it could increase your chances of qualifying – and landing a favorable rate.

Now don’t get me wrong – you can’t waltz in with a not-so-great credit score and expect to come away with fantastic terms. Upgrade isn’t just giving money away. 

The lower your credit score, the more you can expect to pay in interest.

But hey – sometimes you need a loan, and hefty rates are a price you’re willing to pay. 

Just remember, those monthly payments will be a burden for years – and you should only take the loan if you’re sure you can pay it back. 

Two women applying for an Upgrade personal loan together.
Upgrade makes qualification easier by allowing joint applications.
Source: Unsplash

How to Apply for an Upgrade Personal Loan

Online loans are meant to be quick and easy. And Upgrade meets these expectations. 

The pre-qualification process is almost instantaneous, meaning you can browse loan options after just a few clicks. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of the application process:

Step 1: Pre-Qualification

This is where you enter some basic information – including your desired loan amount – and then Upgrade spits out your potential options. 

Keep in mind that these terms aren’t set in stone. You could see your rates change farther along in the process. 

Step 2: The “Real Deal” Application

After choosing a loan, you’ll have to send in a more formal application. 

Be prepared to attach additional documents, including recent pay stubs and bank statements. 

Step 3: Accept the Loan

This is the fun part! 

See what you’ve been offered, then (digitally) sign on the dotted line.

Step 4: Receive the Funds

Actually, this is the fun part. 

The money from Upgrade should come quickly – sometimes within the same day. 

Just remember that the money you receive will be slightly less than what you asked for. This is thanks to that pesky origination fee that’s taken out at the start.

Is Upgrade Legit? 

Upgrade is a legitimate fintech company with physical headquarters in San Francisco. 

It has also raised a boatload of money from investors. Which suggests people are impressed with the operation. 

What’s ‘fintech,’ you ask? 

Financial technology – and it’s all the rage. Basically, a bunch of companies are using the power of modern tech to help finances run more smoothly. 

I know, I know – “tech” companies aren’t so popular these days. 

But Upgrade is a tech company with a respectable mission: “to help everyday consumers meet their financial goals.” 

Check out my complete Upgrade bank review here.

Is Upgrade Safe?

Upgrade is a safe option for personal loans. 

The Better Business Bureau gives the lender an A+ rating, and reviewers across the web attest to the company’s legitimacy.

Now, taking out a personal loan is still a risky endeavor. 

Upgrade offers loans to people with lower credit scores – woohoo! 

But hold the confetti because this is serious business. If you don’t budget carefully to make your monthly payments, you could end up defaulting.

Defaulting sounds scary – and it is. Your credit score will plummet, and getting a personal loan will become even more challenging.

Sorry for the ominous tone. I don’t want this Upgrade personal loans review to sound intimidating! 

I just want you to make financial decisions from a place of understanding and prudence.

Two people going over a plan to pay off an Upgrade personal loan.
Make sure you create a plan for paying off your Upgrade Personal loan.
Source: Unsplash

Pros and Cons of Upgrade Personal Loans

What would an Upgrade personal loans review be without a simple list of pros and cons? 

Here are key factors to consider as you compare Upgrade with other lenders:


  • Accepts applicants with lower credit scores. If you’re getting sick of rejection from more demanding lenders, Upgrade could be a smart place to turn.
  • Welcomes joint applications. Want to apply alongside someone whose credit score is higher than your own? For Upgrade, that arrangement is A-okay. 
  • Pays creditors directly. Debt consolidation has never been easier. 
  • Offers loans as small as $1,000. Need just a minor sum to keep you going? Upgrade has you covered.


  • Applies an origination fee. Not only is the financial hit considerable, but it’s also just plain annoying to see a chunk of money removed before the funds even reach your bank account.
  • High-interest rates. That 7.96%-35.97% APR range is worse than what you’ll find with many competitors.

Upgrade Reviews 

Upgrade was launched in 2017 and has been growing ever since. 

They’ve had a lot of customers in that time. This means the internet is full of Upgrade personal loan reviews. 

Over on the ConsumerAffairs website, borrowers rave about the approval process. However, the origination fee remains an unpopular feature – but hey, nothing is perfect. 

Positive Upgrade personal loans review by customer who received funding a day after approval.
An Upgrade personal loans review premises the quick approval process.
Source: ConsumerAffairs

Customer leaving 4-star Upgrade personal loans review on ConsumerAffairs website.
A reviewer says they had a good experience with Upgrade but wishes the lender would reduce its fees.
Source: ConsumerAffairs

A reviewer on had a less-positive story to tell.

Customer complaining that their rates changed after pre-qualification for an Upgrade personal loan.
A review complains about being rejected by Upgrade – even accusing the company of “predatory lending.”
Source: ConsumersAdvocate

Now I don’t want to discredit this person’s experience – but Upgrade does straight-up say on its website that “approval of your loan is not guaranteed and is subject to our verification and review process.” 

When Upgrade makes that initial offer – the one that comes after you first enter your name and basic info – they aren’t promising you anything. 

They’re just saying, “This is what we think we can give you. But now let’s look at your case more closely.”

So, be sure to do your research and know that pre-approval is only a *glimpse* of what you could be offered. 

You can find my in-depth Upgrade bank review here.

Commonly Asked Questions About Upgrade Personal Loans

Alternatives to Upgrade Personal Loans?

Here are the top alternatives to Upgrade Personal Loans:

Is Upgrade Trustworthy?

With a sound track record and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, Upgrade is a trustworthy lender. 

How Long Does It Take For Upgrade To Approve a Loan? 

It seems Upgrade usually approves a loan within 1-4 business days. Each case is different, and the timeline depends on how long it takes to verify your information. 

Does Upgrade Personal Loan Do a Hard Pull? 

Upgrade does a hard pull to check your credit history – but only when you formally apply for a personal loan, not during the initial “pre-qualification” stage. So, you can check your loan options with no risk to your score – but you can expect a dip when you fill out a formal application. 

What Bank Does Upgrade Use For Personal Loans?

Upgrade partners with multiple banks for personal loans, including Cross River Bank, Blue Ridge Bank, Sutton Bank, and WebBank. Each of these institutions is accredited and legitimate. 

Who Is Upgrade Best For?

Upgrade is best for people with lower credit scores who can’t access lower-interest loans. It’s also a good option for people who need to consolidate debt since it pays creditors directly. And the $1,000 minimum loan amount is appealing to borrowers who want a smaller loan, too. 

What Credit Bureau Does Upgrade Use? 

Upgrade uses the TransUnion credit bureau to investigate an applicant’s credit history. That means the “hard inquiry” would register on a TransUnion credit report. 

How Long Does Upgrade Take To Review a Loan? 

Upgrade typically takes 1-4 business days to review a loan application. During that time, the lender will do a hard inquiry into your credit history. Just be aware that the timing depends on the unique factors of your case. 

Upgrade Loan Verification Process? 

Upgrade divides the loan process into three steps:

  1. You check your available rates by providing some basic information
  2. You choose the offer that suits your purposes 
  3. Upgrade requests documents and additional information. Once your application is accepted, the funds will be sent within a single business day. 

Why Is My Upgrade Loan Taking So Long?

Upgrade generally approves loans within 1-4 business days, but plenty of borrowers have had to wait longer. Each application is unique, and the lender might need to do some extra digging. Also, try checking the “to-do list” on your application portal to see if Upgrade has requested additional documents. 

Upgrade Loan Requirements? 

To apply for an Upgrade personal loan, you must be at least 18 years old, and you must be an American citizen, U.S. visa-holder, or valid U.S. resident. You’ll need a verifiable bank account and a valid email address. Also, most sources agree that Upgrade requires a minimum credit score of 560.