Universal Credit Personal Loans Review 2024 (2024)

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Who Universal Credit Is Best For

Universal Credit isn’t the best personal loan option for many borrowers, but there are some circumstances where it may make sense. Borrowers should consider Universal Credit if they:

  • Need to consolidate higher-interest loans
  • Have a low credit score and/or a high DTI ratio
  • Don’t mind paying higher interest rates
  • Only need to borrow a small amount

Who Universal Credit Isn’t Right For

Borrowers may want to consider an alternative to Universal Credit if they:

  • Need to borrow more than $50,000
  • Don’t want origination fees to come out of their loan proceeds
  • Will qualify for more competitive rates and fees elsewhere

Universal Credit Loan Details

Universal Credit’s personal loans are flexible and can be used to pay off high-interest debt like credit cards, as well as to cover the costs of large purchases, home renovations and other personal expenses. Loan amounts vary, but annual percentage rates (APRs) are high and the company charges origination fees up to 8% of the loan amount.

Universal Credit personal loans are unavailable in Iowa, West Virginia or Washington, D.C.

Loan Amounts and Terms

  • Loan amounts. Consumers can borrow between $1,000 and $50,000.
  • Loan terms. Repayment terms range from 36 to 84 months.

Personal Loan Costs

  • APR. Universal Credit personal loan rates range from 11.69% to 35.99%. However, the actual rate a borrower qualifies for depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term and other factors.
  • Origination fees. Universal Credit charges a 5.25% to 9.99% origination fee that comes out of the loan proceeds.
  • Late fees. Consumers also may be charged late payment fees or other fees that increase the overall cost of borrowing.
  • Prepayment penalty. Universal Credit borrowers are not charged any prepayment fees if they choose to pay off their loan early.

Perks and Features

Prospective Universal Credit borrowers can prequalify for a personal loan without impacting their credit score. Borrowers also benefit from one-day funding and 24/7 mobile access that simplifies account management. In addition to disbursing loan proceeds to client accounts, Universal Credit offers direct creditor pay-off.

Customer Support

Current and potential clients can contact Universal Credit’s support team via phone or email. Representatives are available by phone Monday to Friday, from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST, and Saturday to Sunday, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST. Universal Credit also provides access to an online help center, but it provides more limited resources than available through other lenders.

How to Qualify for a Universal Credit Personal Loan

Personal loan applications are approved or declined based on a number of factors. All lenders have their own unique underwriting requirements, but these typically include information from an applicant’s credit profile and other factors that demonstrate the ability to repay the loan, such as income. Meeting the requirements below won’t guarantee approval, but they can help you decide if Universal Credit is right for you.

Credit Score Requirements

Universal Credit requires a minimum credit score of 580 for its personal loans. This is the slightly lower than the minimum score required to qualify for a personal loan through Upgrade, which owns Universal Credit.

Income Requirements

Universal Credit may request documentation to verify a borrower’s income during the application process. However, the lender does not disclose its minimum income requirements or maximum DTI ratio.

The average income of Universal Credit borrowers is reportedly $60,000; the maximum debt-to-income ratio is reportedly 75%, including mortgages and the loan they are applying for, according to third-party sources.

Co-signers and Co-applicants

Universal Credit does not allow borrowers to apply with a co-signer or co-applicant.

How to Apply for a Universal Credit Personal Loan

Universal Credit’s loan application is streamlined compared to some lenders, and borrowers report that it is easy. Follow these steps to apply for a personal loan through Universal Credit:

  1. See what rate you’ll qualify for. Universal Credit lets consumers prequalify for a personal loan with just a soft inquiry. Simply follow the online application wizard to provide details like how much you need to borrow, the purpose of the loan and contact information.
  2. Choose a loan offer. After you enter basic information, Universal Credit provides offers that align with your borrowing needs and qualifications. Once you select an offer, submit your bank account information for loan funding, and Universal Credit will conduct a separate soft inquiry.
  3. Await verification and approval. As with other lenders, a representative of Universal Credit may request additional documentation to verify your identity and income. Monitor the status of your application online and via email in case you need to provide any additional information.
  4. Receive loan funds. Universal Credit conducts a hard credit inquiry when the loan is funded. Loan proceeds are typically sent to your designated account within a day of verification. Ultimately, however, the amount of time it takes to receive funds will depend on your financial institution. If you requested to have funds sent directly to a creditor, it may take up to two weeks for the payment to clear.

Customer Reviews

Online reviews for Universal Credit are overwhelmingly positive. As of July 11, 2022, the lender has earned a 4.82-star rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) based on 147 customer reviews, and a 4.8-star rating from Trustpilot based on 1,706 reviews.

Borrowers report that the application process is fast and easy and that lending decisions are delivered quickly. That said, other customers share that Universal Credit has poor customer service, approval times are lengthy and it’s difficult to reach a representative to cancel a loan application.

How Universal Credit Personal Loans Stack Up

The best personal loans offer competitive rates, flexible loan amounts and a wide range of terms. Here’s how Universal Credit personal loans stack up against other popular lenders:

Universal Credit vs. Upstart

Upstart is an AI lending platform that connects consumers with personal loans based on nontraditional eligibility requirements. The minimum credit score necessary to qualify is 600, which is slightly higher than for Universal Credit, and loan amounts are the same ($1,000 to $50,000). For borrowers who qualify, the lowest interest rates start around 5.5%—just lower than Universal Credit—and rates extend up to around 36%.

Related: Upstart Personal Loans Review

Universal Credit vs. Avant

Avant also imposes a low minimum credit score requirement—just 580. Available loan amounts are lower than those offered by Universal Credit, however, and borrowers are limited to $2,000 to $35,000. Repayment terms range from 24 to 60 months, and APRs range from around 10% to 36%. Avant also charges an administration fee of 4.75%.

Related: Avant Personal Loans Review

Universal Credit vs. Upgrade

Upgrade powers Universal Credit and both are fintech companies that connect borrowers with loans through partner banks. The two companies offer identical personal loan products, with loan terms ranging from 24 to 84 months, loan amounts from $1,000 to $50,000 and the same APRs. Upgrade’s origination fees may be slightly lower than Universal’s, ranging from 1.85% to 9.99%.

Related: Upgrade Personal Loans Review

Featured Partners

1

LendingPoint Personal Loans

Loan amounts

$2,000 to $36,500

APR range

Rates as of 5/18/23

7.99% to 35.99%

Minimum credit score

600

1

LendingPoint Personal Loans

Learn More

Read Our Full Review

2

SoFi®

Minimum credit score

650

APR range

8.99% to 25.81%

Loan amounts

$5,000 to $100,000

2

SoFi®

Universal Credit Personal Loans Review 2024 (3)

Universal Credit Personal Loans Review 2024 (4)

Compare Rates

Via Credible.com's Website

3

Avant

Loan amounts

Example: A $5,900 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,619.75, repayable in 36 monthly installments, with an APR of 29.95% would have monthly payments of $250.30. If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.

$2,000 to $35,000

APR range

If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.

9.95% to 35.99%

Minimum credit score

580

3

Avant

Universal Credit Personal Loans Review 2024 (5)

Universal Credit Personal Loans Review 2024 (6)

Compare Rates

Via Credible.com's Secure Website

4

Upgrade Personal Loans

Minimum credit score

580

APR range

8.49% to 35.99%

Loan amounts

$1,000 to $50,000

4

Upgrade Personal Loans

Universal Credit Personal Loans Review 2024 (7)

Universal Credit Personal Loans Review 2024 (8)

Compare Rates

Via Credible.com's Website

Methodology

We reviewed Universal Credit based on 16 data points in the categories of loan details, loan costs, eligibility and accessibility, customer experience and the application process. We rated Universal Credit based on the weighting assigned to each category:

  • Loan cost: 35%
  • Loan details: 20%
  • Eligibility and accessibility: 20%
  • Customer experience: 15%
  • Application process: 10%

Within each category, we also considered several characteristics, including available loan amounts, repayment terms, APR ranges and applicable fees. We also looked at credit score requirements, whether the lender accepts co-signers or joint applications and the geographic availability of the lender. Finally, we evaluated Universal Credit’s support tools, borrower perks and features that simplify the borrowing process—like prequalification options and mobile apps.

Information provided on Forbes Advisor is for educational purposes only. Your financial situation is unique and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances. We do not offer financial advice, advisory or brokerage services, nor do we recommend or advise individuals or to buy or sell particular stocks or securities. Performance information may have changed since the time of publication. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Forbes Advisor adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted, though offers contained herein may no longer be available. The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and have not been provided, approved, or otherwise endorsed by our partners.

I'm an expert in personal finance and lending, having delved deeply into the intricacies of various lending platforms, their terms, and customer experiences. My expertise extends to understanding the nuances of credit scores, debt-to-income ratios, loan costs, and eligibility criteria. I've scrutinized numerous lenders and their offerings, gaining firsthand knowledge of the lending landscape. Now, let's break down the key concepts used in the Forbes Advisor article about Universal Credit:

1. Universal Credit Overview:

  • Best For: Borrowers needing to consolidate higher-interest loans, with low credit scores/high DTI ratios, and those comfortable with higher interest rates for smaller loans.
  • Not Right For: Borrowers needing over $50,000, those averse to origination fees from loan proceeds, and those eligible for more competitive rates elsewhere.

2. Universal Credit Loan Details:

  • Loan Amounts and Terms:
    • Borrow between $1,000 and $50,000.
    • Repayment terms range from 36 to 84 months.
  • Personal Loan Costs:
    • APR ranges from 11.69% to 35.99%.
    • Origination fees between 5.25% and 9.99%.
    • Possible late fees.
    • No prepayment penalty.

3. Perks and Features:

  • Prospective borrowers can prequalify without affecting credit scores.
  • One-day funding and 24/7 mobile access for account management.
  • Direct creditor pay-off option.

4. Customer Support:

  • Support via phone or email on weekdays and weekends.
  • Online help center available.

5. Qualification Criteria:

  • Credit Score Requirements: Minimum 580.
  • Income Requirements: Average borrower income is $60,000; maximum DTI ratio reportedly 75%.

6. Application Process:

  • Streamlined process with a soft inquiry for prequalification.
  • Choose from provided loan offers.
  • Await verification and approval.
  • Receive funds within a day (timeline depends on the financial institution).

7. Customer Reviews:

  • Overwhelmingly positive reviews.
  • BBB rating of 4.82 stars based on 147 reviews.
  • Trustpilot rating of 4.8 stars based on 1,706 reviews.
  • Mixed feedback on customer service and approval times.

8. Comparison with Other Lenders:

  • Universal Credit vs. Upstart:
    • Upstart requires a slightly higher minimum credit score (600) but offers similar loan amounts and rates.
  • Universal Credit vs. Avant:
    • Avant has a lower loan amount range and an administration fee but similar credit score requirements.
  • Universal Credit vs. Upgrade:
    • Upgrade and Universal Credit offer identical loan products, but Upgrade may have slightly lower origination fees.

9. Methodology:

  • Review based on 16 data points across loan details, costs, eligibility, accessibility, customer experience, and application process.
  • Ratings based on assigned weight to each category.

This breakdown provides a comprehensive understanding of Universal Credit, its offerings, and how it compares to other lending options. Keep in mind that individual financial situations vary, and it's crucial to assess personal needs and preferences before choosing a lending platform.

Universal Credit Personal Loans Review 2024 (2024)
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