Upgrade, an online fintech company, was launched in 2017. It offers a range of financial products including personal loans and credit cards. Upgrade also offers rewards checking accounts and credit monitoring services. Upgrade describes itself as a “mobile banking experience”. It has helped more than 500,000 people borrow more than $7,000,000 since its inception.
The wide range of loan terms and loan amount options offered by Upgrade, along with the minimum credit score requirement at the top end of the “poor” category, allow for flexibility for borrowers. Customers who have Upgrade rewards checking accounts can receive a rate discount on personal loans and upgrade products. Upgrade’s loan APR (annual percent rate) is high compared to other competitors. Upgrade loans might not be right for everyone.
How to Get a Personal Loan
Understanding how personal loans work is essential before you apply for one. Personal loans are issued as a lump sum, and repaid over a set period of time with fixed monthly payments. They are not like credit cards. There are two types of personal loans: unsecured and secured. Secured loans require you to pledge collateral such as your home or vehicle equity. If you default, the asset could be taken.
Personal loans can also have origination fees or application fees. Compare the APR to determine the total cost of borrowing when you choose a lender. Avoid lenders that charge prepayment penalties. You should also practice good financial habits once you have received your money. You can set up automatic payments to make sure they are never late. Budget to make sure you have enough money each month.
Alternatives to Personal Loans
Depending on your financial situation, one or more of these options may be better suited to your needs.
A home equity loan, or HELOC, is a loan that you can get if you have at most 15-20% equity in your house. Because they are secured by your home, these loans often have lower interest rates than personal loans. You should be aware that defaulting on payments could result in your losing your home.
Balance transfer credit card card: If you are looking to consolidate your debt, you might be able transfer the balance to a card that has a 0% intro APR. This is only an option if the balance can be paid off during the introductory period (which typically lasts 12 to 18 months). If you don’t, the credit card APRs will be high on any balance remaining after the introductory period ends.
A nonprofit credit counseling agency offers free credit counseling if you are feeling overwhelmed. You can get advice from them about whether a budgeting strategy or savings strategy is right for you, and if you have to create a plan for managing your debt.
Savings strategy: You can reach your financial goals by reevaluating your budget, setting aside more of your income in a high yield savings account and not borrowing.
Borrowing from family and friends: It can be hard to get a personal loan with a low interest rate if you have poor credit. If you borrow money from a friend or relative, you’ll pay less interest. You might consider asking someone you know with credit to cosign for a personal loan. While not all lenders will allow you to co-sign, it might help increase your chances of getting a loan.
The pros and cons of personal loans for upgrade
- One-day funding
- Choose your own due date
- No prepayment penalties
- Available in 48 States
- Credit health tools free
- Joint applications permitted
- Rewards checking account customers may be eligible for discounts on personal loans
- Credit score minimum required is low
- 9% to 8.9% origination fee
- Late payment penalties
- Employment and income verification required
- Residents of IA, DC and WV are not eligible