Have you been agonizing over where to get a personal loan? This review may help. Dozens of online personal loan platforms are popping up all over the Internet. But one that stands out among the pack is Upgrade. They provide many of the services of their competitors, but they add a few more – the kind that will make you choose Upgrade over other sites.
Upgrade offers larger loan amounts than you will typically find on other loan sites. But they also give you the option of taking either a personal loan or a personal credit line – which you can have ready and waiting, to be accessed anytime you need funds.
They also offer a complete credit monitoring suite. It will not only enable you to keep tabs on your credit but also to improve your score.
If you’re in the market for a personal loan, Upgrade should be on your short list of sources.
Based in San Francisco, CA, Upgrade is an online marketplace lending platform that not only provides affordable loans, but also offers credit monitoring, alerts, and education. The company takes a more holistic approach to lending. Not only do they provide you with the loan you need, but they also help you to track your credit in the process. This is no small advantage since many people take personal loans not only to consolidate debt but also to improve their overall credit. Upgrade provides that winning combination.
Upgrade is not a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, as many online personal loan providers are. It does not make loans available for purchase or investment by individual investors.
Loans are actually run through WebBank, which acts as a lender for all loans originated through Upgrade. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, WebBank is an FDIC insured, state-chartered industrial bank providing customized consumer and commercial financing on a nationwide basis.
How Upgrade Works
Upgrade determines your loan eligibility by a combination of credit history, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage. To be eligible for a loan, you must meet the following criteria:
- You’re a US citizen or permanent resident or living in the US on a valid visa.
- Be at least 18 years old in most states, or 19 years old in others.
- Provide a verifiable bank account.
- Have a valid email address.
Upgrade is available in 43 states, the exceptions being Connecticut, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, and West Virginia.
When you apply for a loan, you start by entering the loan amount needed, as well as the loan purpose. You’ll then be required to supply your full name, address, date of birth, and annual income. You can then create an account by entering your email address, and creating a password. You then click the “Check Your Rate Button”.
You’ll then be presented with a loan offer, which will show the loan amount, term, APR and monthly payment. You’ll also be presented with a list of options for both 36 and 60 month term loans, as well as various interest rates. You can check one of those options offered if you prefer.
Once you select a loan, you’ll then begin entering specific information. This will include your employment, social security number, as well as your checking or savings account information.
Your application will then move to review. If additional documentation is required, such as income verification, you can upload it on the Upgrade platform. You’ll be notified by email of final approval, which generally takes place within 24 hours of supplying all required documentation.
Once your loan is approved, the funds will be deposited into the bank account you’ve provided in the application. Loans are fully unsecured – no collateral is required.
Upgrade Features And Benefits
- Minimum/maximum loan amount. $1,000 to $50,000
- Minimum credit score. 620
- Maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. 40%, but you must also demonstrate a free cash flow of at least $1,000 per month to have left after paying your major expenses.
- Loan terms. Fixed rate, self-amortizing loans, with terms of 36 months or 60 months.
- Loan purpose. Debt consolidation, business purposes, home improvement, large purchases, or just about any other reason.
- “Soft” credit pull. As is usually the case with online lending platforms, checking a potential interest rate on the site will not have a negative impact on your credit score. However, when you actually make application for a loan your credit report will be pulled. Once it is, an inquiry will appear on your credit report, whether your application is approved or denied.
- Customer service. Toll-free phone contact is available Monday through Friday, 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Pacific time. The company can be reached anytime by email.
- Education loan restriction. As is typical of personal loans, and due to federal regulations, Upgrade loans are not available for postsecondary education. This includes tuition, room and board, transportation, or supplies.
- No joint loan applications. Upgrade currently offers personal loans only on an individual basis. Joint applications are not available.
- Funds availability. Once your loan is approved (all documentation received), funds will be transferred to your bank account within four business days.
- Loan payment methods. Upgrade loan payments can be made by phone or by check. There are no additional fees for paying by check. Monthly payments are due each month on the date your loan is dispersed. For example, if your loan proceeds are dispersed on March 15, your first payment will be due on April 15, and on the 15th of each subsequent month.
Upgrade Personal Credit Line
If you don’t have an immediate need for a personal loan, you can also apply for a personal line of credit. It works the same as a home equity line of credit, except it’s not secured by your home.
Once the line is in place, you can access it in any amount any time you need to. Once you access the line, you can choose the payment plan, including the length of the loan, and a fixed rate from the available options. Just as is the case with a personal loan, funds from your personal line will be sent directly to your bank account.
One of the big advantages of the personal credit line over a personal loan is that there is no origination fee. There are also no fees to open the line or to take advances against it.
One of the major advantages of the Upgrade Personal Credit Line is that it has a fixed repayment term. You can choose a repayment term of 12, 24, 36, 48, or 60 months.
Unlike a credit card, which has a revolving repayment arrangement that can go on seemingly forever, your personal credit line will be paid off in a very specific term. This avoids the perpetual debt syndrome that often accompanies credit lines, including home equity lines of credit. It also avoids the variable rates feature of most credit lines, where you can experience payment shock from interest rate increases.
Upgrade Credit Health
When you sign up for a loan with Upgrade, you receive certain credit benefits. This starts with your free credit score. Upgrade provides your VantageScore 3.0 from TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus. Your score is updated every seven days.
Along with your credit score, you’ll get your credit score summary, which will show you the reasons for your score.
Upgrade also provides a Credit Score Simulator. It enables you to run different scenarios to show how they will impact your credit. Upgrade will also provide customized recommendations, designed to help improve your credit.
Upgrade has a library of Credit Health articles and videos to help you better monitor and improve your credit score.
- 5 Tips on How to Get an Excellent Credit Score
- Top 5 Credit Score Myths Debunked
- How to Rebuild Credit After A Few Slip-Ups
- How to Fix an Error on Your Credit Report
- What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a House?
You’ll receive weekly updates so you’ll know what’s going on with your credit score, as well as trending charts to track your efforts to improve your score. Finally, you’ll also receive email alerts that let you know what’s impacting your score, as well as potential identity fraud issues.
Like most personal loan lenders, Upgrade has two basic costs, interest rate and points. Interest rates range between 6.87% and 35.97% APR. Points charged range between 1% of the loan amount and 6%. The origination fee is deducted from your loan amount. For example, if you’re required to pay a 3% origination fee, and your loan amount is $10,000, the net proceeds of your loan will be $9,700.
A late payment fee of $10 is assessed if your monthly payment is not received in full within 15 calendar days of your due date.
There are no prepayment penalties
What Makes Upgrade Stand Out?
- Higher maximum loan amount. The most obvious advantage Upgrade offers is its higher loan amount. Most personal loan lenders will lend up to $35,000 – Upgrade will go up to $50,000. That’s an extra $15,000 in loan proceeds, and no small advantage. In a debt consolidation situation, it means that much more debt can be rolled into the new loan.
- The $1,000 free cash flow requirement. At first glance, this requirement seems restrictive. But it’s actually a perfect criterion to keep you from becoming too deep in debt. After all, if the purpose of a debt consolidation loan is to improve your financial situation, the free cash flow requirement makes sure you’ll be getting a loan you’ll actually be able to comfortably repay.
- Credit Health. Upgrade automatically offers this service to all customers. Along with your loan, you also get weekly updates on your credit score, and a variety of services designed to both monitor your credit activity, and to improve your score.
- Personal Credit Line. The line enables you to borrow money whenever you need it, without having to apply for individual loans. There are no fees for the personal credit line, and you pay interest only on the amount outstanding.
Should You Sign Up with Upgrade?
Apply with Upgrade now!
They provide at least as much as the competition, then add a lot more. The higher loan amounts, as well as the choice between a personal loan or a personal line of credit, will give you greater control over your loan.
Meanwhile, the Credit Health feature can be a game changer. After all, one of the major reasons for taking a personal loan is to consolidate high-interest credit cards, for the purpose of improving your cash flow and your credit score. The additional help provided by the Credit Health piece will help you accomplish that goal even faster.
And of course, there’s the benefit that comes with all personal loan offerings, and that’s the ability to convert revolving debt into a single fixed rate installment loan. That will get you off the revolving debt merry-go-round, and put you on the road to becoming debt-free in just a few years.
If you want more information, or if you want to sign up for the service, visit the Upgrade website.