Upgrade personal loan review
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- Loans available to self-employed individuals
- No prepayment fees
- Flexible payment date you can set
Upgrade offers personal loans, lines of credit, and auto/title loans. It also offers credit monitoring. As of August 2018, the company had over 100,000 customers, and originated over $1B in loans.
Upgrade is not a bank. Instead, Upgrade partners with banks to provide loans originated through Upgrade. Blue Ridge Bank provides the personal loans obtained through Upgrade. Partnering with banks is a common practice and requires the originators like Upgrade to be in compliance with bank, state, and federal regulations. Possible downsides are that the originator does not always have full control of their underwriting and they function as a middle person. This means that Upgrade may have more strict lending requirements and higher costs than a direct lender.
Upgrade offers personal loans that range from $1,000 to $35,000. The loans have annual percentage rates (APRs) from 7.99% to 35.97% and are offered at fixed terms of either 36 or 60 months.
To be eligible for a loan through Upgrade, you must be
- a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or living in the U.S. on a valid visa,
- at least 18 years old (19 years old in Alabama and certain states),
- able to provide a verifiable bank account, and
- able to provide a valid email address.
The company's website does not state a minimum credit score or income.
Self-employed individuals are eligible
Self-employed individuals are eligible for loans from Upgrade. Upgrade requires two most recent tax returns and does not accept tax return extensions (i.e. the definition of "most recent" tax return doesn't adjust to the October tax-filing extension date). The returns must also already be on file with the IRS so Upgrade can verify receipt of taxes.
Upgrade also has some income adjustments when calculating self-employed income. It is best to check out Upgrade's help center on their website for the latest information and requirements. The self-employed process may add 3 to 5 business days to your application time because of the IRS check.
Upgrade charges an origination fee of 2.9% to 8% for personal loans. The fee is deducted from the loan proceeds. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97.
Your actual APR on your loan may be higher or lower than what is stated above. The actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors.
Upgrade charges a late fee of up to $10 if your payment is not received in full within 15 calendar days of your payment due date. This charge is charged once per late payment.
Failed electronic or check payment fee
Upgrade charges a non-refundable $10 fee for any failed electronic or check payment attempts. Your bank may also charge its own fee(s) in addition to the fee that Upgrade charges.
There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early.
Receiving your funds
Funds for Upgrade personal loans are sent within one business day, but availability depends on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. Upgrade states, "from the time of approval, funds should be available within four business days."
Some more about Upgrade
Upgrade was founded in 2016 and is based in San Francisco with operations in Phoenix and engineering in Montreal. The company was founded by Renaud Laplanche, the co-founder of Lending Club (a peer-to-peer lender).