Uplift loan review: Pay-over-time travel financing

A family with two young children holds hands as they walk down a city street together.Image: A family with two young children holds hands as they walk down a city street together.

In a Nutshell

With Uplift, you can schedule an upcoming trip and pay for your travel expenses over time in installments. An Uplift loan may be a good option for people with strong credit who qualify for a low APR.
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Pros

  • Simple application process
  • Lets you spread out your travel purchases over time
  • Offers fixed interest rates

Cons

  • Mostly available for travel-related purchases
  • Purchases must be made through Uplift partners
  • Maximum APRs are high

What you need to know about an Uplift personal loan

Uplift is an online lender that offers vacation loans. The company does this by partnering with popular travel brands, like Southwest Airlines and Air Canada, to offer an installment payment option.

You must book airfare and hotels through Uplift’s partner’s sites, but instead of paying for it upfront, you’ll apply for a loan through Uplift. That way, you can spread out the payments over time.

In some cases, Uplift may require you to pay some amount as a down payment at the time of purchase.

Payment financing for travel

The main advantage of using a service like Uplift is that it lets you spread out your travel purchases over time. You’ll repay the loan on a fixed repayment schedule. 

You can check your balance and monitor your payment status through your online account, and you can set up auto pay. There are no prepayment penalties, so you can pay off your loan at any time without a fee.

Quick online application process

Uplift promises a fast application and approval process. To get started, you’ll visit one of the company’s partner sites and add your purchases to your cart. When you’re ready to check out, you’ll select Uplift as the payment option.

At that point, you’ll have to provide your contact info and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Uplift will let you know if you’re approved for the loan, and if so, will give you a choice of loan and repayment terms. From there, if you accept the terms and decide to proceed, you’ll continue checking out.

May come with a high APR

According to Uplift’s website, its installment loans come with APRs that range from competitive to high. The maximum is much higher than the average credit card rate as of May 2022. There is no option to apply with a co-borrower. 

And while Uplift promises the payments are spread out over time, it doesn’t provide any details about the types of payment plans people can choose from without shopping at one of the partner sites.

Depending on the situation, Uplift will sometimes issue refunds or returns. Refunds will either be credited to your accounts or issued through the Zelle platform.

Who is an Uplift loan good for?

An Uplift loan may be an option for someone who has strong enough credit to qualify for one of Uplift’s lowest APRs, and is confident they can make the monthly loan payments.

If you have weaker credit, you could end up with a higher APR, which means you’ll pay more in interest. Plus, because buy-now, pay-later companies like Uplift are so easy to use, it can be tempting to overextend yourself on purchases that saddle you with more debt than you can handle. If Uplift offers you credit, check the terms carefully before proceeding. 

It may make more sense to use a travel credit card — particularly if it has a lower interest rate than you can get with Uplift — so that you can take advantage of points programs or rewards that can help support your travels.

How to apply with Uplift

To apply, you’ll start by visiting one of Uplift’s partner sites and selecting your purchases, like airfare and a rental car.

When you go to check out, you’ll choose Uplift as your payment option and apply for the loan. You’ll need to provide your name, mobile phone number and the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Uplift should let you know within a few minutes whether you’re approved for a loan and what your options are. You will need to allow a few days between booking the trip and traveling so Uplift can process the loan.

Not sure if Uplift is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

  • Affirm: Affirm offers a variety of financing options, and it gives you the option to prequalify for a loan, so you can get an idea of how much you may be approved to spend.
  • Financeit: Financeit offers financing options for larger retail, home improvement, and vehicle purchases.

About the author: Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who specializes in finance and business. She covers a variety of personal finance topics, including building credit, credit cards, personal loans and student loans… Read more.