Upgrade is a consumer credit platform based in San Francisco, California that launched in April 2017. Upgrade combines personal loans up to $50,000 with credit monitoring, alerts and credit education tools that help consumers better understand and monitor their credit and unlock their credit potential. Upgrade allows applicants to apply for a personal loan and receive approved funding completely online. Upgrade deployed the ThreatMetrix solution upon product launch to accurately identify fraudsters using stolen credentials during the application process.

Business Problem

FinTech has revolutionized financial services, introducing consumers to new products such as faster payments, loan platforms, crowdfunding and more. With this innovation comes an increased risk of fraud. FinTechs operate in an age of large data breaches, where some stolen identity information can go for as little as $1 per person and attack toolkits are increasingly available on the black market. Relying on traditional static identity assessment methods alone are no longer effective.

In today’s digital landscape, FinTechs like many other companies are heavily targeted by fraudsters, and Upgrade is no exception. With more information moving across the Internet, fraudsters have access to unprecedented amount of information and are constantly looking for ways to monetize stolen credentials.

As an innovative player in the industry, Upgrade required a solution that would keep the customer information safe, accurately identify fraudster in real-time and go beyond verification of basic identity information while preserving the simplicity of the one-page application process.

Leveraging Global Shared Intelligence to Accurately Authenticate Trusted Customers in Real Time
The best way to tackle complex, global cybercrime is using the power of a global shared network. The ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network collects and processes global shared intelligence from millions of daily consumer interactions including logins, payments, and new account applications.

Using this information, ThreatMetrix creates a unique digital identity for each user by analyzing the myriad connections between devices, locations, and tokenized personal information. Behavior that deviates from this trusted digital identity can be accurately identified in real time, alerting Upgrade to potential fraudulent applications and escalate for an enhanced verification process.

Our partnership with ThreatMetrix allows Upgrade more time to systematically map digital identities to real-world and help customers unlock their credit potential.


Leveraging the power of digital identities, Upgrade authenticates user attempts against this trusted and unique online digital identity, checking whether the device, location and behavior of the customer correlated with tokenized information held by The Network in real time.

The partnership with ThreatMetrix provided Upgrade the ability to:

  • Tap into the crowdsourced shared intelligence from over 20 billion annual global transactions.
  • ThreatMetrix layered approach to detect the end users’ true identity, including associations with email addresses, phone numbers, through to the nominated bank accounts where the funds are deposited.
  • High risk reputation of the connecting device, including device spoofing, geolocation, location cloaking and hosting to detect at risk applications from a high risk jurisdiction.
  • Build user associations across multiple data sources, static and dynamic to more effectively detect fraud.
  • Identify trusted behaviors and signals for each user (devices, IP addresses, locations and session behavior).

This enabled Upgrade to safely expand the platform and increase operational efficiency.

With intelligence from ThreatMetrix we are able to detect and prevent bad actors in real time, stopping all their applications before they are processed.


Long Term Success

As Upgrade continues to leverage Online Lending 2.0 principles, which helps create more value for consumers and enables faster growth while achieving better risk management, compliance and credit performance, they need a partner that can evolve as the fraud and cybercrime landscape evolves. As they grow their business and launch new products, ThreatMetrix will support Upgrade with the following key capabilities:

  • ThreatMetrix ID bridges online and offline data elements for each user and goes beyond device-based analysis, grouping various other entities based on complex associations formed between events, consistently identifying a person irrespective of changes in devices, locations or behavior.
  • The ThreatMetrix policy engine is highly customizable and allows Upgrade to incorporate its own tolerance for risk, fine-tuning its response to account creation sessions.
  • Advanced behavioral analytics rules which enable better understanding of legitimate user behavior and more accurately detect genuine fraud.
  • Upgrade incorporates the latest available technology and a decade of industry best practices to build a new generation of risk management, servicing operations, compliance management system and internal controls. Among other technology and process advances.

Upgrade plans to use the blockchain protocol to enhance data integrity by creating time stamped, immutable transaction records. The partnership with ThreatMetrix will allow Upgrade to continuously evolve and respond to different and diverse cyber threats.

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