Upstart is an online lending platform that was founded by former Google employees in 2012. Unlike many other student loan refinancing companies, Upstart has a comprehensive approval process that takes into consideration credit score, school attended, employment history, degree, and other factors.

The Good

Unique Eligibility Requirements

Upstart’s unique underwriting process is as progressive as it gets. Most other companies look solely at credit score and income. Not Upstart. Their eligibility requirements, in addition to credit score, include the following:

  • Job history
  • School attended
  • Years of credit
  • GPA
  • Fico score
  • Degree

Refinancing Options

Upstart offers many loan services, including student loan refinancing programs, which include student loan refinancing for unsecured, fixed-rate personal loans.

Excellent Customer Service

Upstart takes pride in providing excellent customer service and are available from 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM Pacific Standard Time on weekdays, and 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time on weekdays.

Minimum Loan Requirement: $1,000

When it comes to minimum loan requirements, Upstart is as low as it gets. While most other companies require at least $5,000-$10,000 minimum, Upstart only requires a minimum loan amount of $1,000. The lowest minimum loan requirement of any company in Massachusetts is $7,000 and $6,000 in Ohio.

The Bad

Origination Fees

While many other student loan refinancing companies do not charge any fees, Upstart has the following fees:

  • Monthly payments more than 10 days late incur a 5% charge or $15
  • One time origination fee of 1-6% of loan amount

Fixed Interest Rates Only

While most other companies offer both variable interest rates and fixed interest rates, Upstart only offers fixed interest rates, which could be a turnoff for prospective borrowers.

No Cosigner

Upstart offers no cosigner option for prospective borrowers. If an individual has a low annual salary or is unemployed post-graduation, getting a loan from Upstart may be challenging.

Difficult to Qualify

Being eligible for Upstart’s student loan refinancing program can be difficult, and requirements, such as a minimum 640 FICO score and a max of $50,000 in outstanding debt, can be unattainable for recent graduates.

Lack Transparency

Upstart is not transparent with information, and it can be difficult for prospective customers to find the information needed to make informed decisions. To receive any information about their student loan refinancing programs, borrowers must verify their identity—a requirement rarely seen by other refinancing companies.

The Bottom Line

There are many things to love about Upstart, including their unique underwriting process that takes into account a variety of different factors. However, they lack transparency, charge origination and late fees, and have stringent eligibility requirements—reasons for many prospective customers to consider other student loan refinancing services.