Upstart Review

By Kevin Mercadante

Overview

Upstart is a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform - a.k.a., crowd funding - that brings both investors (lenders) and borrowers together to work out their own loan arrangements. Though the company only got its start in 2012, they have helped fund more than $3 billion in loans last year alone.

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Upstart is a lender, not a debt management or debt settlement company, so it does not offer credit counseling or financial advice; however, Upstart is dedicated to providing their customers with the necessary funds they need for whatever purpose they have.

Upstart advertises that its average APRs are 30% lower than those of other lenders. In addition, their loan pricing takes into account non-traditional criteria, such as your college major and school performance. And loans based on self-employment income require only six months of income verification.

Minimum amountsMax amountsFees
$3,000 ($6,000 for Ohio, $7,000 Massachusetts)$35,000APR: 5.67% to 29.99%,
Origination fee: 1% - 6%

How it Works

The Upstart funding model sets itself apart by consider not just your FICO score, but also how long you have had credit, the school you attended, area of study, academic performance, and job history. Based on that information, you are assigned a loan grade of between “D” (lowest) and “AAA” (highest) that will determine what you will pay for your loan.

You can check your rate in as little as two minutes, by answering some general questions. Once your application is approved, you can accept your loan, and your money will be sent the next business day (though education loans are subject to a mandatory 3-day waiting period).

The funds, which are made through New Jersey-based Cross River Bank, you can use the funds to payoff credit cards, consolidate debt, pay off student loans, take a course or boot camp, pay for college or grad school, make a large purchase, relocate, travel, pay medical bills, start or expand a business, or for just about any other purpose.

Features

One of Upstart's target markets is recent college graduates, which explains the use of your education and area of study as lending criteria. These will help to offset weakness in credit score, credit length and job history, all of which are to be expected of those who are new to the job market.

Additionally, Upstart offers loan underwriting flexibility is a major feature with Upstart:

Employment: Unlike the typical guidelines at other lenders, Upstart requires that either: a) have a full-time job; b) have a full-time job offer starting within six months, c) a regular part-time job, or d) "another source of regular income".

Self-Employment Income - You need to document earning this for at least six months. Most other lenders require a minimum of one year or two years. For documentation they will look at last year’s tax return, plus the current year invoices.

Upstart has a minimum FICO requirement of 640, and no charge-offs or collections within the past three years are permitted. All loans are unsecured, and issued for a term of three years.

Accreditation

The Better Business Bureau has given Upstart a rating of A- (on a scale ranging from A+ to F). In fact, the major reason the rating isn’t higher is due to the fact that the company hasn’t been in business all that long.

Fees

Interest rate APRs can vary between 5.67% and 29.99%, with an average of 15% for a 36 month loan. Upstart also charges an origination fee on each loan, which ranges between 1% and 6% of the loan amount, and is paid out of the loan proceeds.

There are no application fees or monthly fees required for an Upstart loan, and no prepayment penalty is ever charged.

Quality of Service

Upstart was founded by “ex-Googlers” - people who know their way around the internet. The site itself is highly intuitive, and you’ll be able to navigate it easily, even if you aren’t familiar with the P2P lending process. Another plus - they pledge to never sell your data.

Customer support is easily available. Upstart can be contacted by mail, email, by toll-free phone (Monday through Friday, 6 am - 8 pm PST, and Weekends 9 am - 5 pm PST).

Address

4150 International Plaza, Suite #300

Fort Worth, TX 76109

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  About Kevin Mercadante

 Kevin Mercadante is a freelance professional personal finance blogger,
 and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com. He
 has extensive backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry.
 Follow Kevin on Google+.

 

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