What is Upstart?

Upstart, founded in 2012, offers personal loans to young borrowers who have limited or no credit history, but hold degrees that may lead to big financial futures. They are a technology company that uses artificial intelligence to help make loan decisions using other qualifying factors and not solely based on FICO score.

Upstart offers personal loans that can be used for a credit card or debt consolidation, auto purchases, medical debt payments, student loan refinancing, business uses, and other large purchase needs.

How Upstart Works

Upstart considers some of the usual criteria normally associated with lending, including the borrower’s income and credit scores. Upstart also looks closely at education, the area of study, and job history. More specifically, they consider academic variables, including the colleges and universities attended, grade point average and standardized test scores. These are typically the hallmarks of younger, recent college graduates.

They use this information to develop a statistical model of the borrower’s ability and personal likelihood to repay their loan. They believe that those variables are reliably predictive in regard to default rates. In addition, the statistical model carefully considers the applicant’s future income potential.

The company is able to track input from more than 1,000 different institutions of higher learning, based on majors and grading systems. They also perform simulations that measure future income against future expenses, as well as the likelihood of an extended period of unemployment. For example, since extended unemployment is a major reason for loan defaults, the employability of the applicant is viewed as a critical factor in the loan decision.

  • Upstart will take your application into consideration with limited credit history.
  • No minimum income required to qualify.
  • Debt-to-income ratio (amount of debt/income) below 20%.
  • Have a degree from an accredited institution of higher education or accepted into a technology-focused program.

Upstart Personal Loan Details

  • Credit card or debt consolidation, car purchases, medical bills, education, or business.
  • From $1,000 – $50,000.
  • Fixed rates starting at 7.43% APR.*
  • Variable rates starting at 5.19%.*
  • Loan terms available: 3 – 5 years.
  • Origination fee: 0% – 6.00%
  • No prepayment fees.
  • Late payment fees: $15 or 5% of past-due amount
  • Insufficient funds fee: $15 per returned check or rejected ACH transfer

*accurate as of February 12, 2018


  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien
  • You are at least the age of majority in your state
  • Verifiable email, name, date of birth, and social security number
  • Have personal banking account
  • Minimum FICO score of 620
  • You must be employed or have sufficient income from other sources

All loans are subject to credit review and approval and your rate depends upon a variety of factors which include your FICO score and educational factors.

Upstart Personal Loans are not available to residents of West Virginia.


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