Upgrade Inc. came into being in 2017. It is primarily famous for its loans, auto loans, credit cards, and rewards checking accounts. Since its inception, more than 15 million people have applied for an Upgrade personal loan and credit. And the company has issued over $15 billion in credit to people living in the US.
In 2019, the company launched a variety of cards that have the unique functionality of being used as a credit card as well as a personal loan.
Benefits and Features:
1- Flexible Structure:
Upgrade mostly offers unsecured personal loans that range from $1000 to $50000 credit lines. But it also offers secured personal loans that require a vehicle as collateral to be kept with the lender. Upgrade will evaluate the vehicle mentioned in your application, and based on its value, the company may offer you a lower APR. Needless to say that if you are unable to repay the loan, the company will have custody of your vehicle.
Upgrade also offers Joint loans that allow you to include a co-borrower who will have the authority to access the loan proceeds, unlike a co-signer that other lenders allow.
The loan terms are flexible too, ranging from 24 to 84 months.
2- Flexible Loan Options:
The best thing is the quick process. You can receive your personal loan within one working day after approval, and a maximum of four working days.
So, it is a worthy option for people who are low in cash and need money quickly.
The approval process may take some days, but once approved, the loan funding process is quite simple and very quick, as mentioned before.
Another plus point is that Upgrade offers a revision of repayment terms between 2 and 7 years. So, that also adds more flexibility for the borrower.
In case a borrower faces a hardship like a sudden loss of job, then the company may qualify them for a temporary reduction in the debt installments or may offer them a permanent change in their loan repayment terms. They may extend the borrower’s repayment tenure, but if the APR is still the same, then the borrower will eventually have to pay more interest by the end of their term. So, that is something that you would need to look out for in case such a thing happens.
3- Lower Credit Score Requirements:
This is a major plus point with Upgrade. It does not really talk about the score requirements, but it is somewhere between 560 and above.
This means that even if your credit score is not so good, you can still apply for this loan on the Upgrade website. Upgrade will do a soft credit check on you that will not affect your credit scores. But from your basic information and Upgrade’s soft check, the company may offer you some loan options that will be suitable for you. And the best thing is that all of this will happen even if you do not have the “textbook” credit scores!
So, suppose your credit score is 560 but your creditworthiness is fair, your credit history is good with a minimum of 2 accounts, and you meet Upgrade’s minimum borrowing requirements, you may qualify for the pre-approval.
With other lenders, this is not the case. They have some fixed credit score requirements that have to be met for a borrower to qualify.
In this regard, we can safely say that Upgrade is more “universal” than many other lending companies in its competitors.
4- Minimum Annual Income Requirement:
Actually, there is none. However, if we look at the majority of the borrowers, the minimum income is around $75000 to $80000.
5- Debt-to-income ratio:
The debt-to-income ratio is a value that lenders use to gauge the ability of the borrower to repay the loan. The total monthly debt installment is divided by the borrower’s monthly income. This gives them a percentage, which is the debt-to-income ratio.
To qualify for an Upgrade personal loan, your debt-to-income ratio should be less than or around 75%, including mortgage value and your personal loan value.
This means that if you take a loan of $10000 over three years, at a fixed APR of 20.5%, you will have to pay around $370 as monthly debt installments. And around $3400 total interest on this loan.
6- Pre-qualification with a soft pull:
As mentioned above, when you apply for the loan, the company carries out a soft credit pull or soft inquiry. It also helps you to check your credit score and the rate at which you will be able to receive offers. And to emphasize a little more, remember that this soft pull does not affect your credit scores. So, it’s completely safe and can let you pre-qualify for a personal loan that you need.
However, once the company makes an offer to you and you accept it, that is when it will initiate a hard pull. This, unfortunately, does have an impact on credit scores.
7- Build your credit with Upgrade:
The company offers some functionalities for credit building that are quite helpful. The Upgrade customers can get free credit score checks and credit score boosting tips to help them establish their credit history.
This is where Upgrade stands out amongst other lending companies. It offers a variety of unique tools for credit monitoring that others do not.
8- Discounts on APR:
This is another interesting feature that Upgrade Inc. offers. Regular customers and the people who actively check their Rewards Accounts on Upgrade.com can get approximately a 20% discount on the APR on which their loan is being/or has been funded. Now that is quite a lot of discounts that other lenders do not offer. So, if you are an existing customer, and in need of money, do not hesitate to borrow a loan from Upgrade.
With so many benefits, there is a downside to this.
Upgrade charges an origination fee to sanction a personal loan or approve a personal loan. The origination fee is the amount that is paid when you apply for personal loans. While this is not something uncommon amongst various lenders, however, what makes this a downside is that Upgrade’s origination fee charges range from 2.9% to 8%, which is higher than the other lenders.
The origination fee may scare some people. While this may put an initial dent in the pocket, the good thing here is that Upgrade offers 1 to 5% discounts for applicants who apply for a debt consolidation loan and have Upgrade pay off their debts directly.
This kind of discount is quite hard to get, and other lending companies do not make such offers. So, Upgrade stands out in this regard too aside from its all other benefits.
Jamie Johnson is a sought-after personal finance writer with bylines on prestigious personal finance sites such as Quicken Loans, Credit Karma, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Bankrate, and The Balance. Over the past five years, she’s devoted more than 10,000 hours of research and writing to topics like mortgages, loans, and small business lending.