At Experian, one of our priorities is consumer credit and finance education. This post may contain links and references to one or more of our partners, but we provide an objective view to help you make the best decisions. For more information, see our Editorial Policy.
In this article:
Upgrade offers personal loans and personal lines of credit with similar loan amounts, rates and repayment terms. You can get prequalified for either option with a soft credit pull, which won't impact your scores, to determine if one of their loans might work for you.
on Upgrade's website
Recommended FICO® Score*
Available loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
Est. monthly payment: $30 to $2,095
Grace period: 15 days
Application fee: $0
- Affordable loans from $1,000 - $50,000 with low fixed rates that will never change, affordable monthly payments, and no prepayment penalties
- Quick online application -- get pre-approved in just minutes
- Checking your rate won't impact your credit score
- Review multiple loan options so you can pick the amount and term that fits your budget and timeline
- With automatic payments and a customizable due date, managing your account is easy and you'll be able to circle the date on your calendar when you'll be debt free
|Potentially low rates and fees||Origination fee|
|High maximum loan amounts||Only two repayment terms available|
|Cosigner allowed||Not available in all states|
|Upgrade Customer Service|
275 Battery Street, Suite 2300
San Francisco, CA 94111
Upgrade's personal loan offerings are somewhat of a mixed bag. If you can qualify for the best terms, Upgrade offers low interest rates and origination fees. But other lenders may offer you a similar loan amount and terms with no fee.
For those with less-than-excellent credit, Upgrade may be a good option, as the lender doesn't have strict credit score requirements. However, be mindful of the potentially high origination fee and interest rates, and compare your options before accepting an offer.
Choose Between a Personal Loan or Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards
Upgrade offers two lending products: personal loans and lines of credit. Either could help you meet your funding needs, but one may serve you better depending on your circumstances.
Upgrade Personal Loan
The Upgrade Personal Loan is an installment loan with a three- or five-year repayment period and fixed interest rate. That means your monthly payment won't change, and you can budget accordingly. The lender offers loans of $1,000 to $50,000 with a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which will be deducted from your loan amount.
Personal loans can be a good option if you have a specific expense coming up, such as home upgrades or repairs. They're often also used to refinance and consolidate credit card debt.
Upgrade makes this process easy by providing the option of paying off your credit cards directly rather than requiring you to accept the funds and then make the payments yourself. And, if you borrow more than you need to pay off your cards, you can get the rest of the money deposited into your bank account.
Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards
The Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards gives you access to a personal line of credit with a credit limit that's generally $500 to $25,000. You can use the card to make purchases or transfer funds to a linked bank account. Those transactions then get bundled together to create an installment loan, which you'll repay with fixed payments over two to five years, depending on what you agreed to when opening your account.
While your transactions begin accruing interest immediately and the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards has a similar APR range to the personal loan, the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards may be a better option if you have an ongoing project.
Here's why. Say you need $5,000 today and another $5,000 in two months. With a personal loan, you'd have to borrow and pay interest on the entire $10,000 today, or submit a separate application in a few months. Using a line of credit, like the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards, you can borrow the exact amount you need when you need it. Additionally, the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards doesn't charge any origination fees.
How to Qualify and Apply for an Upgrade Loan
Despite the origination fee, the Upgrade personal loan may be a better fit than the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards if you want to borrow over $25,000.
You can submit an initial prequalification for both the Upgrade loan and card with a soft credit pull, which won't impact your credit scores. If you prequalify, you can see your estimated maximum loan amount and interest rates, which could help you determine which option is best.
If you're interested in the Upgrade personal loan, you'll need to meet the following eligibility requirements and continue the application process.
Before you can get a personal loan from Upgrade, you'll need to meet the minimum borrower requirements:
- A U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident with a valid visa
- At least 18 years old (19 in Alabama and certain other states)
- Have a verifiable bank account
- Share your email address
Additionally, your personal financial situation and credit can impact your ability to qualify for a loan as well as the loan's amount, rate and fee. Even if you prequalify for a loan, you might be turned down later if you can't verify your employment or income (information that may not be on your credit report).
You also can't take out an Upgrade personal loan if you plan to use the money for post-secondary education, investments, gambling or illegal activities. Upgrade loans are not available in West Virginia.
The Application Process
You can start the Upgrade personal loan application process with a soft inquiry prequalification.
You'll need to share basic information, such as how much you want to borrow, your name, address, date of birth and annual income. You'll also need to create an account and agree to the soft credit check. You can also add a cosigner to your application, which could help you qualify for a larger loan or better interest rate.
If you're preapproved for a loan, you can then choose a loan amount (up to the amount Upgrade offers you) and your loan repayment term.
Once you accept a loan offer, you'll be given a to-do list to complete. The tasks could include sending copies of a government-issued ID, pay stubs and bank statements to verify the information from your application.
You may also be asked to share your employer's contact information and give Upgrade permission to contact them. Or, if you're self-employed, you'll need to share your two most recent tax returns.
Once everything is confirmed and you're approved, you can receive the funds in your account within four business days, depending on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. If you have decided to pay off your creditors directly, it may take up to two weeks to clear. The origination fee will be taken out of your loan amount. So, for example, if you accept a $10,000 loan with a 5% origination fee, you'll receive $9,500.
How Paying Off Your Loan or Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards Works
Your first monthly payment will be due a month after your loan is disbursed. The payment amount and due date will be the same during the lifetime of your loan, although it may change to the last day of the month if your due date is the 29th, 30th or 31st.
By default, your first payment will be made via a bank transfer from the account where your loan was deposited. You can let the payments continue that way or turn off autopay and make manual payments online, by mail or by phone in the future.
There's no fee to pay off your loan early. But you will pay a $10 late payment fee if your payment is more than 15 days late. Additionally, Upgrade may charge you a $10 fee if your attempted payment doesn't go through.
If you're having trouble affording a payment, you should immediately reach out to Upgrade to discuss your options.
Repaying the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards works a little differently, as you can borrow against your credit line multiple times. When you first use the account, all of your purchases and transfers will be combined at the end of your first billing period to form an installment loan. The loan will have fixed monthly payments and a fixed repayment term, and will set your account's due date.
If you use the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards account again during a future billing period, those transactions will also be combined to form their own installment loan. Each of your loans has its own monthly payment and repayment term; however, you'll still have one monthly due date and your payment amount will be the sum of all your loans' payments.
As with the personal loan, there are no prepayment penalties. The Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards also doesn't have any late payment fees, although you can't use your account if your payment is past due.
Manage Your Account With Upgrade's Mobile App
You can manage your loan or Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards using your online profile or via the iOS and Android apps. In addition to being able to monitor your loan, make a payment and update your personal information, Upgrade also has a Credit Health tool you can use to track your VantageScore 3.0 credit score.
|Loan Amount: $1,000 - $50,000||Origination Fee: 2.9% - 8%|
|Estimated APR: 6.94% - 35.97% with autopay (fixed)||Late Fee: $10|
|Loan Terms: 36 or 60 months||Prepayment Fee: None|
|Funds released: Within 4 business days from approval|
Personal Loan Calculator
†The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. Experian cannot guarantee the accuracy of the results provided. Your lender may charge other fees which have not been factored in this calculation. These results, based on the information provided by you, represent an estimate and you should consult your own financial advisor regarding your particular needs.
Is Upgrade Right for You?
The Upgrade Personal loan can be a good option for those who have less-than-perfect credit. In addition to having moderate credit score requirements for unsecured loans, the option to add a cosigner can make it easier to get a loan if you might not qualify otherwise. And, considering you can get prequalified without hurting your credit, it may be worth checking your options from Upgrade. Just be sure to compare your options before accepting a loan that has a high origination fee and interest rate.