Upgrade Loans Review

Upgrade got its start in 2016 with the goal of helping customers “understand and unlock your credit potential and lower the cost of your credit so you can build the future you want.” To accomplish this goal, Upgrade offers straightforward and affordable personal loans at a fixed rate over 3- to 5-year terms. Borrowers can apply online and check potential rates with no damage to their current credit rating if they’re not approved. Upon approval and signing, Upgrade will send money to your bank account within a day of clearing all necessary verification.

With loan amounts between $1,000 and $50,000 and straightforward repayment plans, Upgrade makes it easy to for borrowers to get approved and choose a rate that meets their needs. Personal loans are the only loan product offered by this online lender, though, so if you’re looking for mortgages, refinancing, car loans or HELOCs, you’ll need to consider another provider.

Upgrade at a glance

Pros
  • Easy application process
  • Income and credit score are both considered to help you borrow within your means
  • Soft credit checks don’t impact your credit score
Cons
  • All loans have an origination fee
  • Only personal loans are available
  • Secured loans with lower interest rates than unsecured are not available

What’s interesting about upgrade

Upgrade’s personal loan application is simple and straightforward. You can borrow money for debt consolidation, home improvements or major purchases and don’t have to worry about negative impacts to your credit score if you’re not approved. With a simple funding formula, fixed payments, no prepayment charges and comparable interest rates, it’s easy for borrowers to get the money they need, when they need it.

Things to consider

Upgrade only offers personal, unsecured loans. If you need secured loan options such as a HELOC or are looking to purchase your first home or refinance a mortgage, you’ll need to look elsewhere. This online lender also charges an origination fee for all loans and while interest rates are fixed, they vary significantly based on your income level, the amount you are borrowing and your credit score.

Personal loans

Upgrade offers personal loans between $1,000 and $50,000 using a simple online application process. Borrowers can easily discover their potential rate by providing basic income and credit information without negatively impacting credit scores if they’re not approved.

Once approved, you can choose from multiple loan options and rates. Payments are calculated monthly and include principal, interest and origination fees. Shorter terms like 36 months mean faster payoffs with higher payments, while 60-month terms lower individual payments but increase total interest. If you prefer to pay your loan off early, there are no prepayment charges. Upgrade also offers credit monitoring, alert and education services to help manage your spending and debt. In addition, monthly payment dates are flexible to work with your income schedule; if you get paid mid-month or biweekly, you can choose payment dates that best align with bank deposits.

Mortgage loans

Upgrade doesn’t offer any mortgage loans.

If you’re looking for online mortgage options, consider lenders like Simplii, which offers cash-back bonuses for new home buyers or those making changes to their mortgage. Cash back is based on how much you borrow and if you have any linked Simplii bank accounts. Simplii offers both 5-year fixed mortgages with special APR rates and special variable rates that are below the national average. The lender also provides flexible payment schedules including weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or semi-monthly.

Mortgage refinancing

This lender doesn’t offer mortgage refinancing.

Other options include Quicken’s Rocket Mortgage, which allows you to leverage your home equity for cash back under a new mortgage term, lower your payments with a longer term or refinance into a shorter term to help reduce the amount of interest you pay. With 24/7 online access to your mortgage account and free home-loan expert advice, Rocket Mortgage offers a solid home-refinancing option.

Home equity loans & HELOCs

Upgrade doesn’t offer any home-equity loans or home-equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

Need a HELOC? Consider solutions such as online lender Prosper, which allows homeowners to borrow up to $500,000 for home improvements, debt consolidation or major purchases. Since this is a secured loan, Prosper is able to offer competitive interest rates and fixed-rate options — you can “lock in” all or part of your HELOC to a fixed rate up to three times over the life of your term. You can also choose to pay off your HELOC early or make interest-only payments with no penalty. Once you’re approved, you can get money on demand through bank transfers or checks, but only pay for what you use. Like all of its loans, Prosper does charge an origination fee on any HELOC.

Car loans

This online lender doesn’t offer any car loans.

If you need car loan, options like LightStream may offer a solution. Borrows can get loans from $5,000 to $100,000 for new and used vehicles within 24 hours if approved; rates vary based on the amount and term of the loan and are generally lower than average for vehicle loans.

The final word

Upgrade makes the personal-loan process simple: borrowers fill out an online application and get a variety of rate and term options for loans between $1,000 and $50,000. Interest rates are fixed and reasonable, and all terms conclude with the loan fully paid off. In addition, soft credit checks mean no damage to your rating if you’re not approved.

However, Upgrade only offers personal loans; they have no mortgage, refinancing, HELOC or car loan products. They also charge an origination fee for all loans deducted directly from the total loan amount.

If you’re looking for a personal loan designed to work with your budget and lets you set terms and payment conditions, Upgrade makes it easy to apply. If you’re looking for secured loans or prefer not to pay origination fees, Upgrade isn’t the best option.