Upstart Review

By Kevin Mercadante

In a Nutshell

Upstart uses advanced artificial intelligence to make loans to borrowers for a variety of reasons, including debt consolidation. Thanks to AI, Upstart uses many factors to decide your trustworthiness for a loan, not just your credit score.

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  • Looks beyond your credit score
  • Fast answers to your application
  • Competitive APR 


Minimum credit score is still relatively high

No debt relief services

Why Go with Upstart?

Upstart's mission is to open up access to excellent loan rates to the millions of Americans who have never defaulted on a loan and have a solid income but have less than perfect credit scores. It uses the newest cutting-edge technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to make decisions approving loans. This means that you get an answer to your application super-fast, and you'll be judged by more than just your credit score.

Upstart isn't a direct lender, but it does work together with a number of leading banks in the US to underwrite loans for all kinds of reasons. If you pick a debt consolidation loan, you won't have to answer too many awkward questions about how you managed to get into debt in the first place, which definitely saves on your embarrassment. Additionally, Upstart makes it easy to apply for a loan quote and has plenty of resources to help you understand credit, borrowing, and debt consolidation.

What’s Offered

  • Loans for debt consolidation, paying off credit card debt, or student loan debt
  • Personal loans for a wide variety of purposes
  • Informative blog for advice about loans, credit, and financial management
  • Customer support over the phone and through email
  • 3-5-year terms


It’s spectacularly easy and fast to get your loan application approved through Upstart. Upstart uses advanced AI and ML technology to speed up loan approval, so you’ll typically get an answer within 5 minutes. What’s more, the application process is easy to understand and simple to use. You’ll just need to answer a few simple questions about the amount you want to borrow, the purpose of your loan, basic personal information, and your education, income, and savings.

Thanks to the AI and ML solution, Upstart is able to look beyond your credit score. It judges your income, education, and savings alongside your credit rating. Even applicants with a slightly less than perfect credit score can get excellent APR rates, which range from 4.68% up to 35.99% with the average 3-year loan carrying a 20% APR.

Upstart doesn't probe too deeply about the reasons for your loan. You can choose from a variety of options about the purpose of your loan, including needing to make a new purchase or pay for education. If you select debt consolidation as your reason, you won't need to explain any further.

Upstart doesn’t specify all the fees that you might need to pay when you get a debt consolidation loan, because that depends on which partner bank finances the loan. But it is quite clear that you won’t need to pay any prepayment penalties, so if you win the lottery, you can pay off your loan early without any extra charge. You don’t have to make any down payment, either.

Although Upstart doesn’t provide debt relief negotiation or debt relief services along with the loans, it is a mine of useful financial information. The website includes a blog that explains a number of confusing terms in debt consolidation loans. It also offers extra advice about how to manage your finances, and money-saving tips to keep you out of debt.

  • Fast loan approval time
  • Your income, education, and savings matter as much as your credit score
  • No questions asked about your reason for a debt consolidation loan
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Plenty of valuable information about saving money 

Types of Debt Covered

When applying for a debt consolidation loan from Upstart, you won't need to explain what type of debt it is or how it occurred. As long as you're eligible for the debt consolidation loan, it won't matter how the debt built up.

Upstart also offers personal, unsecured loans specifically for financing your credit card debt or student loan debt. You can apply for these loans through a separate process. For a debt consolidation loan, you can borrow between $1,000 and $50,000, which is more than some online lenders are willing to offer.

Site Security

Upstart’s site is secured by GoDaddy Verified, and the company assures users that their personal and financial information is kept confidential using various electronic and physical safeguards.

However, it would be reassuring to have some more details about which solutions or security companies are being used, or to see a badge proclaiming that the site has firewalls and other anti-fraud protection. Upstart asks for your personal identifying information straight away in order to give you a personalized quote, which is another good reason why you’d like to see more details about its security precautions.

Upstart is also reassuringly transparent about what data it collects and why, and with whom that data is shared. You can expect your information to be shared with relevant third parties, like the partner bank that will be making the loan.

Help & Support

Upstart has a well-organized help section with many FAQs, but they aren’t yet comprehensive. It would be really helpful to see some more information about topics like site security, loan eligibility, and loan purpose.

Still, Upstart does make it very easy to get in touch. There’s a clear contact us form with a whole range of email addresses, depending on the reason that you need to be in touch. Upstart also offers customer support over the phone, with both a local and a toll-free number. You can reach a customer service agent between 6am and 5pm, 7 days a week. Upstart also has a presence on Twitter and Facebook, although it doesn’t really use those channels for customer service.

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Physical Address

Upstart Operations Dept.

P.O. Box 1503

San Carlos, CA 94070

Contact Details

(650) 204-1000 (local)

1-855-438-8778 (toll-free)

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