.article__image { visibility: hidden; display: none; } Upstart lends to college-educated borrowers who have thin credit files.

Upstart is a good fit for those who:

To review Upstart, NerdWallet collected more than 30 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives, completed the online loan application process with sample data, and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar product.

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Upstart’s underwriting process changes depending on each person’s credit profile, says Dave Girouard, the company’s CEO and co-founder.

For example, a recent grad with little or no credit history would be assessed mainly on academic performance, but those factors wouldn’t be as important in sizing up a borrower with years of credit experience, he says.

Upstart doesn’t lend money to borrowers directly. Instead, it charges an origination fee to connect borrowers with accredited investors who fund the loans. All borrowers receive a grade based on their profile. The grade is then used to determine the interest rate on the loan.

Applying for an Upstart loan can take a little longer than the process at other online lenders, based on your background. You can check your potential interest rates in minutes without affecting your credit scores. But if you decide to take a loan, you may need to have additional documents handy, such as your college transcript, SAT scores or pay stubs.

If you’re new to credit, Earnest and SoFi also consider your academic background and job history in their loan decisions. But both lenders typically approve borrowers with excellent credit scores and very high incomes. Pave also considers those with thin credit histories and rewards borrowers who take a loan to improve their career or education with a lower interest rate.


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Consider other debt consolidation options. An unsecured personal loan isn’t your only option to tackle debt. If you have good credit, you might be able to find a0% credit card promotional offer. Homeowners might be able to get a home equity line of credit. You should alsocompare other debt consolidation lenders.

Check your credit report and know your financial strengths. Your chances of being approved for a loan and the interest rate you’ll be offered don’t depend just on your credit scores; they also depend on the length of your credit history, your income and other debts. High debt might outweigh a great credit score, for example, or a low score could be bolstered by a high income.

Learn how personal loans work. All lenders require certain personal information to verify your identity and income and check your credit.

Calculate payment scenarios. Run the numbers on different loan amounts and interest rates to see how the payments might affect your monthly budget.

Have a plan for getting out of debt. Personal loans may help you consolidate debt, but in the long run you’ll need to make a budget that both covers expenses and helps you save for emergencies and opportunities.

Amrita Jayakumar is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: ajayakumar@nerdwallet.com. Twitter:@ajbombay.

Updated Oct. 17, 2016.

The article Upstart Personal Loans: 2016 Review originally appeared on NerdWallet.