- High APR range
- Charges fees for origination, late payment and insufficient funds
- Only offers two loan repayment periods
Eligibility: Prospective borrowers should have a minimum score of 580 to qualify for an Upgrade personal loan (the average borrower score is 697), making it an accessible option for those with fair credit. Furthermore, the lender does not require applicants to meet a minimum income requirement, although borrowers make $95,000 per year on average. Applicants should have a maximum pre-loan debt-to-income ratio of 45%, excluding their mortgage.
The lender also considers each applicant’s free cash flow, which demonstrates their likely ability to make consistent on-time loan payments. Ideally, applicants should have a minimum monthly cash flow of $800.
Loan uses: As with most other personal loans, loans from Upgrade must be used to pay off credit cards, consolidate other debt, make home improvements or pay for other large purchases. However, Upgrade stands out from some lenders by allowing borrowers to use personal loan funds to cover business expenses. What’s more, Upgrade will directly pay off third-party lenders, making debt consolidation more convenient than with some competing lenders.
Turnaround time: Once an Upgrade loan is approved, it generally takes up to four business days for a borrower to receive the funds. However, if Upgrade is directly paying off a borrower’s loans to a third-party lender, it can take up to two weeks for the funds to clear.
Founded in 2012 and based in Chicago, Avant is a consumer lending platform that offers secured and unsecured personal loans through a third-party bank (WebBank). Unsecured loans are available in Wasington, D.C. and every state but Hawaii, Louisiana, Nevada and South Carolina. The platform specializes in middle-income borrowers with fair to good credit and only requires a minimum score of 580 to qualify.
Maximum loan amounts are low compared to other lenders, but the low minimum amount and flexible repayment terms (two to five years) make it an accessible option for borrowers. However, as with many loans for subprime borrowers, Avant personal loans come with a price. In addition to charging an administrative fee of up to 4.75% of the loan amount, Avant’s APR range (9.95% personal installment loans online to %) is on the high end for applicants with a good to excellent credit score-and there is no autopay discount. Still, the platform earns top marks for borrowers with less than stellar credit who need quick access to funds.
It’s also worth noting that Avant agreed to a $3.85 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in . According to FTC documents, the lawsuit was filed in response to allegations that, among other things, Avant charged consumers late fees and interest they didn’t owe and collected payments from customers without permission or in amounts larger than authorized. We reached out to Avant to find out what they’ve done to adjust practices since the settlement but did not receive a response. Even so, Avant has a high 4.7 star rating on Trustpilot.
- Secured and unsecured loan options available
- Low credit score requirement (580)
- Loan terms available up to 60 months
- Charges an upfront administrative fee
- High starting APR for prime borrowers
- Co-signers and co-applicants not allowed
Eligibility: Avant aims to provide credit services to a range of customers, including those with fair credit. For that reason, Avant has a minimum credit score requirement of 580, with the average borrower score between 600 and 700. Likewise, Avant focuses on low- to middle-income borrowers and has a minimum income requirement of just $20,000, though most borrowers have an average household income of $40,000 to $100,000.