Upgrade is a fairly new online lending company offering personal loans. While it has only been offering loan products for a few months, the minds behind the company aren’t new to the business. Read this in-depth Upgrade personal loans review of the pros and cons of Upgrade Loans before you apply for a loan.
Upgrade’s founders are Renaud LaPlanche and Soul Htite. This may not be the first time you’ve heard these names used together because they were both co-founders of LendingClub, America’s largest loan marketplace.
LendingClub has arranged over 28 billion dollars in loans to over 1.5 million customers. Htite also founded one of China’s largest marketplace lending platforms, Dianrong.
So, both founders have a good track record in the online lending business.
Upgrade differs from their prior ventures in that it is not a marketplace connecting borrowers and investors. It’s a direct lender, originating loans in a traditional style through a partnership with WebBank.
Upgrade began issuing loans in April of this year. They currently offer personal loans, although they plan to expand their loan products in the future.
Upgrade also plans to serve as a resource for helping people improve their credit so they can borrow at lower rates in the future.
CEO Renaud Laplanche says, “We believe that combining personal loans with free credit monitoring, alerts, and education features provides a more comprehensive service than other personal loan lenders, and makes us more helpful to more people.
Users are rewarded for their credit discipline: those with excellent credit can obtain larger loans up to $50k (compared to $40K at Lending Club, $35k at Prosper and $30k at Marcus) and will receive faster loan disbursements, within a day of clearing income verification.”Renaud Laplanche, CEO of Upgrade Loans
Our users will be able to enjoy these features separately or together. Either way, we’re hoping that a better understanding of your credit potential and ongoing credit tips will help you secure more affordable credit in the long run.”
He adds, “Users are rewarded for their credit discipline: those with excellent credit can obtain larger loans up to $50k (compared to $40K at Lending Club, $35k at Prosper and $30k at Marcus) and will receive faster loan disbursements, within a day of clearing income verification.”
Upgrade’s application process is online, and the personal loan structure is pretty standard. It offers term loans with fixed interest rates and charges an origination fee. All loans are unsecured, so no collateral is required.
To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:
- 18 years or older (minimum age is 19 in Alabama and some other states)
- US. citizen, permanent resident, or living in the U.S. with a valid visa
- Verifiable bank account
- Must have a valid email address
- Must live in one of the 50 states excluding Iowa, Colorado, Massachusetts, or West Virginia
- Minimum credit score of 620
- Other factors will be considered, such as income and credit usage and history
To find out if you qualify (and which terms you qualify for), here are the steps to follow.
Upgrade’s Application Process
1.) Go to Upgrade’s home page. Enter the desired loan amount and the reason you want to borrow. Then, click “Check your Rate.”
2.) Provide some basic information about yourself.
3.) Create your account, review the documents, and provide your electronic signature to agree. Then, click “Check my rates.”
It’s quite simple. After these steps, Upgrade will provide the rates for which you qualify, or you will receive a message notifying you that your application has been denied.
If you are denied, you will receive an adverse action notice explaining why. If you are approved and want to go ahead with the offer, you will select it.
Then, you will need to provide additional information, officially agree to the terms, allow a hard credit inquiry on your credit report, and provide your bank account information.
Pros and Cons of Upgrade Loans
Being that Upgrade is founded by people who have been very successful in the online lending industry, borrowers can rest assured it is not just another new company without experience.
A differentiating factor about the company is in their plan to help people manage and improve their credit. If applicants are denied, they will have the necessary support to help them improve their credit and work towards getting approved in the future.
Upgrade also uses proprietary underwriting technology to evaluate applicants. Algorithms and advanced data technology quickly determine if a borrower is qualified or not.
It also lets you pick your payment due date, making the payment process more convenient for borrowers.
The downside is that Upgrade charges an origination fee, whereas some competitors don’t (such as SoFi). This is a disadvantage for those who may be able to avoid it through another lender.
Also, Upgrade’s interest rate range, although competitive, is not the lowest. And they only offer fixed interest rates, whereas some others offer fixed and variable rates.
Compare the pros and cons to make a better decision.
- Easy and fast online application which doesn’t hurt your credit score
- Plans to provide credit monitoring, alerts, and mentoring
- Can pick your payment due date
- No prepayment penalties
- Founders very successful in past online lending ventures
- Competitive fixed interest rates
- Funds are quickly transferred to bank account upon approval
- Company is still very new
- Charges an origination fee
- Doesn’t offer lowest-advertised interest rate range on the market
- Only offers fixed interest rates, no variable rates
However, the chances look good. Their personal loan offer is competitive, they offer fast and easy applications, and they have credibility due to the founder’s past ventures.
Furthermore, once they roll out the credit monitoring feature, it will be a key differentiator between Upgrade and its competitors. Laplanche says, “Most of the credit monitoring and education features are currently in private Beta testing, and will be made available publicly in the next few weeks.”
He adds, “Beyond this, we are planning to continue to innovate and launch more products and features that help consumers better understand their credit and lower the cost of their credit so they can achieve their financial goals and build the future they want. ”
As for now, this company is worth considering when shopping around for personal loan rates.
To learn more about Upgrade and what they offer, click here.