Upstart

Upstart is a lending platform that’s designed to improve access to affordable credit while reducing risks and costs for their banking partners. Using artificial intelligence, Upstart delivers digital-first lending experiences to their customers, aiming to enable effortless credit based on true risk.

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Program Variety

Upstart connects users with a wide range of financial products, including personal loans, medical loans, home improvement loans and consolidation services. They also offer loans for student tuition to 17 coding bootcamps.

While the financial products are fairly simple and straightforward, Upstart’s underwriting model uses nontraditional data, like education level and job history, to qualify borrowers. This allows people with lower credit scores and limited credit histories to access more services.

Services Available

Upstart matches their clients with the following services:

  • Auto refinance
  • Personal loans
  • Debt consolidation
  • Credit card consolidation
  • Medical loans
  • Home improvement loans
  • Wedding loans
  • Moving loans

Program Costs

Since Upstart functions as a loan marketplace, interest rates and fees will vary depending on the financial product that the client chooses and their unique financial background. In addition to the loan’s interest rates, Upstart may charge their users a 0% to 8% origination fee.

Industry Reputation

Founded by former Google employees and fueled by AI and nontraditional data, Upstart has originated more than $20.8 billion in loans and helped more than 1.8 million clients. Their underwriting model has been credited with approving more applicants at lower rates than traditional underwriting models; a recent test conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) revealed that consumers with FICO scores between 620 and 660 were approved approximately twice as often by Upstart compared to traditional credit models.

Upstart works closely with regulators to ensure that their business operates within the law. In 2017, they became the first company to receive a No Action Letter from the CFPB, which helps demonstrate a higher level of regulatory confidence in their product.

Complaints

While Upstart has accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, their profile shows an average rating of 1.5 out of 5 stars. As of writing this review, Upstart has closed 199 customer complaints in the last three years.

Upstart’s Trustpilot score is much higher, showing an average rating of 4.9 stars.

State Coverage

Upstart’s loans are currently available to residents of 48 states (West Virginia and Iowa residents are ineligible). Residents of Alabama and Nebraska must be at least 19 years old to apply for a loan, but applicants from other qualifying states may apply at 18.

Benefits

  • Fast funding
  • Payment flexibility
  • Alternative underwriting model
  • Transparent and easy application process
  • No prepayment penalties

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