Upstart vs. SoFi: Which Personal Loan is Right for You?

Upstart and SoFi are two popular online lenders that offer personal loans. Founded in 2011, SoFi began as a student-focused lender and has since grown to offer a variety of loans and other financial services. Upstart was founded in 2012 and uses AI to match potential borrowers to lenders using more factors than the typical credit score, including education and work history.

If you’re trying to choose between these lenders, consider loan details such as APRs and eligibility requirements to determine the best option for you.

Upstart and SoFi both offer solid personal loan options. However, there are significant differences between lenders that make them a good choice for different types of borrowers.

Reached SoFi
Discount rate score 4.7 4.6
better for People with bad credit

Small loan amounts

Borrowers with strong credit

Large loan amounts

Loan amounts $1,000 – $50,000 $5,000 – $100,000
APR 3.09% – 35.99% 5.74% – 21.78%
Duration of loans 3 or 5 years 2 to 7 years old
Costs Creation costs: Up to 8%

Late charge: Greater of $15 or 5%

Return ACH or refund by check: $15

Minimum credit score Nothing 680
Terms Have a residential address in the United States

Have full-time employment or a job offer starting within six months, regular part-time employment, or a verifiable source of regular income

Has made timely payments in the last six months on all current Upstart loans

Have no more than one other Upstart Loan

U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or non-permanent resident alien

Employed and with sufficient income, or written offer for employment to start within 90 days

Funding deadline As soon as one working day In a few days
Authorized co-signers Nope Yes

Personal loans reached

Upstart is a unique lender because it looks at more factors than other lenders.

Typically, when you apply for a loan, personal lenders check your credit, debt ratio, income, and a few other things about your financial life. If you have bad credit or limited income, you will have no chance of getting a loan. Upstart looks at other factors, including where and what you studied, as well as your work history and future opportunities. This allows it to approve more borrowers, making it a solid choice for people with less than perfect credit.


  • Fast Loan Approval Time
  • Low-level credit cards may still qualify
  • Low interest rates for qualified borrowers
  • Low loan minimums

The inconvenients

  • High set-up costs
  • High interest rates for some borrowers
  • Few choices for loan terms
  • No co-signers allowed

SoFi Personal Loans

SoFi started out as a student-focused company, but has since grown to offer a much broader set of offerings, including banking, investment services, and even mortgages.

Borrowers who already work with SoFi for their banking or other lending services might appreciate keeping more of their financial activities in one place. SoFi is also a solid choice for people who have strong credit or have a short credit history but have a solid track record. You can avoid some of the fees Upstart might charge while still getting a good interest rate.


  • Authorized co-signer
  • High maximum loan
  • Qualify with a short credit history
  • Many options for loan terms

The inconvenients

  • Higher minimum loan rate
  • Higher minimum loan amount
  • Good credit rating required
  • Funding can take a few days

How to choose between Upstart and SoFi

Both UpStart and SoFi are good lenders, but they excel in different situations.

If you want to borrow a small amount, consider Upstart. Upstart offers loans starting at just $1,000 in most states, making it the better of the two if you’re looking to borrow a limited amount.

If you have a big project, consider SoFi. By contrast, SoFi lets you borrow twice as much as Upstart, up to $100,000, making it the lender of choice if you have a big expense to cover or are looking to consolidate a few large debts.

If you have poor credit but have a solid education or work experience, consider Upstart. Upstart looks at things like what you studied and where you went to school to help make loan decisions. If your credit score leaves you struggling to get loans but you have an in-demand degree from a good college, Upstart might approve you for a loan where SoFi wouldn’t.

If you want more flexibility in the length of your loan, consider SoFi. With SoFi, you can choose loan terms ranging from two to seven years, giving you plenty of options when it comes to the length of your loan. You can use it to prioritize interest savings with quick repayment or a longer-term loan with smaller monthly payments.

At the end of the line

Both SoFi and Upstart are strong lenders. Although Upstart has higher origination fees than SoFi, it compensates by offering potentially lower rates and being willing to lend to people with poor credit. SoFi, on the other hand, is keeping its lending fee-free and offering much larger loans, but only to people with good credit.

If you need a loan, it’s worth checking your rates with both lenders to see which one gives you the best loan deal.

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