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Personal loans can be a strategic way for you to consolidate debt or pay off large purchases over time. However, it takes a bit of research to apply, to be qualified and to select the loan that best suits your needs and offers you favorable terms.
While you can still apply directly from a bank or credit union, Reached offers a way to check multiple lenders at once. Unlike other lenders on CNBC Select’s Best Debt Consolidation Loans list, Upstart is a lending platform that acts as an intermediary between you and its lending partners.
With flexible credit score requirements, Upstart can be more user-friendly for crediting newcomers and people with below average credit scores.
CNBC Select reviewed Upstart’s personal loans by looking at the APR, benefits, fees, loan amounts and length of terms. (Learn more about our methodology below.)
Annual percentage rate (APR)
Purpose of the loan
Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, marriage, moving or medical
FICO or Vantage score of 580 (but will accept applicants with such poor credit history that they do not have a credit score)
0% to 8% of the target amount
The greater of 5% of the monthly overdue amount or $ 15
Find the best personal loans
The APR on Upstart loans ranges from 8.27% to 35.99% and is determined based on factors such as your credit, income, work experience, and educational background. (However, neither Upstart nor its banking partners have the minimum training required to be eligible for a loan.) The interest rate is only one factor in the total APR, which is the cost of the loan over one year. ; other charges are described below.
Almost all personal loan funds are sent the next business day after completing all required paperwork before 5pm (Monday through Friday). Education-related expenses, however, have a three-day waiting period.
Loan applicants need a FICO or Vantage score of at least 580, but Upstart accepts applicants who do not have a credit score.
The origination fee for this loan is 0% to 8% of the loan for which you are approved. One downside to this loan is that these fees are automatically withheld from the loan before it is released to you.
Upstart charges a late fee equal to 5% of the overdue amount or $ 15, whichever is greater.
If you request hard copies of your loan agreement, you pay a fee of $ 10, but virtual copies are free.
There are no prepayment penalties with Upstart loans.
Loan amounts range from $ 1,000 to $ 50,000, but not all applicants will be eligible for the full amount. The amount you qualify for will be determined based on your credit, income, and other information on your loan application.
Exceptions to the minimum loan amount depend on the state: Massachusetts starts at $ 7,000, Ohio starts at $ 6,000, New Mexico starts at $ 5,100, and Georgia starts at $ 3,100.
The term of office can be three or five years.
A major drawback of Upstart personal loans are the high fees and the APR, but whether you have fair or average credit, Upstart may offer higher approval ratings than other traditional lenders.
If you’re trying to improve your credit, consider other options before taking out a personal loan and think about what goes into your credit score.
If you have good to excellent credit and are looking to pay less in fees, LightStream offers personal loans with an APR as low as 2.49% for eligible borrowers.
To determine which personal loans are best for consolidating debt, CNBC Select has analyzed dozens of US personal loans offered by online and physical banks, including major credit unions. Where possible, we’ve chosen loans with no origination or enrollment fees, but we’ve also included options for borrowers with lower credit scores on this list. Some of these options have set-up costs. For loans with no set-up fee, check out our best personal loan list.
When selecting and ranking the best personal loans, we focused on the following features:
- Fixed rate APR: Variable rates can go up and down over the life of your loan. With a fixed rate APR, you lock in an interest rate for the life of the loan, which means your monthly payment stays the same, making it easier to plan your budget.
- Flexible minimum and maximum loan amounts / conditions: Each lender offers several financing options that you can customize based on your monthly budget and the time you need to pay off your loan.
- No prepayment penalty: The lenders on our list do not charge borrowers for prepayment of loans.
- Simplified application process: We looked at whether lenders offer same-day approval decisions and a fast online application process.
- Customer service: Each loan on our list offers customer service available by phone, email or secure online messaging. We have also opted for lenders with an online resource center or advice center to help educate you about the personal loan process and your finances.
- Disbursement of funds: The loans on our list deliver the funds quickly by wire transfer to your checking account or in the form of a paper check. Some lenders (which we have noted) offer the option of paying your creditors directly.
- Autopay discounts: We have noted lenders who reward you for signing up for automatic payment by lowering your APR from 0.25% to 0.5%.
- Creditors payment limits and loan amounts: The above lenders provide loans in a range of sizes, from $ 1,000 to $ 100,000. Each lender advertises their respective payment limits and loan size, and a pre-approval process can give you an idea of your interest rate and monthly payment for that amount.
Note that the advertised rates and fee structures for personal loans are subject to fluctuation based on the Fed rate. However, once you agree to your loan agreement, a fixed rate APR will secure your interest rate and the monthly payment will remain constant for the life of the loan. Your APR, monthly payment, and loan amount depend on your credit history and creditworthiness. To take out a loan, lenders will conduct a rigorous credit investigation and request a complete application, which may require proof of income, identity verification, proof of address and more.
Editorial note: The opinions, analyzes, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the editorial staff of Select and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise approved by any third party.