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2022 Happy Money (Formerly Payoff) Personal Loans Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Personal loan rating: 4.1/5
  • Accessibility: 4.1/5
  • Rates and terms: 3.8/5
  • Repayment experience: 4.8/5
Personal loan overview
  • APR range: 5.99% to 24.99%
  • Loan terms: 24 and 60 terms
  • Loan amount: $5,000 – $40,000
  • Minimum credit score: 640
Our verdict: Happy Money’s low credit score threshold and specific focus on credit card debt consolidation may make it an attractive option for many borrowers, though those with higher credit scores looking for smaller loan amounts may find better rates elsewhere.

Happy Money, previously known as Payoff, offers personal loans specifically (and only) for the purpose of refinancing credit card debt. Here’s what you need to know before filling out an application:

  • Competitive rates: Happy Money offers APRs ranging from $5,000 – $40,000, which could turn out to be much lower than your current credit card interest rates.
  • Few fees: While Happy Money does charge an origination fee (0.00% - 5.00%), this lender does not charge prepayment penalties or application and late fees.
  • High minimum loan amount: Happy Money’s minimum loan amount starts at $5,000 which may not be a good fit for applicants looking for a small personal loan.
  • Slow funding: Once borrowers are approved, it can take three to six days to receive your funds.
  • No joint applications: Unfortunately, if you have a low credit score, you do not have the option to get a personal loan with a co-applicant. This may make it challenging for those with poor credit scores to qualify for a personal loan with Happy Money.
  • Best for borrowers looking to pay off credit cards: Happy Money specifically caters to those who want to score a lower annual percentage rate (APR) and use that to consolidate their credit card debt.

Happy Money pros and cons

There’s a lot to like about Happy Money’s personal loan options, but there are also a few details you’ll want to keep in mind before submitting an application.

ProsCons

  Transparent eligibility criteria

  Few fees

  Can be a cheaper alternative to credit card debt

  Offers soft-credit checks

  High minimum borrowing amount of $5,000

  No joint applications

  Narrow limitations on loan use 

  Funding takes three to six business days

Unlike some lenders, Happy Money is upfront with their eligibility requirements as well as how you can use their personal loans. This lender’s overall lack of fees (except for an origination fee) may make this a good alternative for borrowers who are tired of credit card debt and are able to secure a low APR.

However, Happy Money loans are limited in their use — you can only use them to pay off credit card debt. Those looking for small personal loans may also find that Happy Money does not meet their needs, as this lender does not allow you to borrow less than $5,000 .

Happy Money requirements

In addition to being at least the age of majority in the state you live in, you’ll need to meet several other borrower criteria requirements in order to be eligible for a personal loan with Happy Money. This lender also spells out specific guidelines as to how consumers can and can’t use these funds.

Minimum credit score600
Minimum credit score640
Current debt requirementsYou must have zero current delinquencies on your credit profile.
Debt-to-income ratioYou must not have a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio above 50%.
Credit historyYou must have a credit history of at least three years.
ResidenceYou must live in a state where Happy Money operates. This lender does not offer loans in Massachusetts or Nevada.
Citizenship requirements
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
— OR — 
  • An applicant in the U.S. with a temporary worker visa

If you meet the basic requirements listed above, you may need to disclose how you plan to use your personal loan. While some lenders allow borrowers to use their funding for a variety of purposes, Happy Money only allows their personal loans to be used toward paying off credit cards.

If Happy Money’s loan options won’t work for your borrowing needs, be sure to shop around for a lender that can best suit your financial goals and can offer you the best rates, terms and amounts for your needs.

How to get a loan with Happy Money

Applying for a personal loan may prove to be an in-depth process that may require advance preparation. Here’s what you need to do to apply for a loan with Happy Money.

Provide your personal information

Before creating an account to view your rates, Happy Money requires that you input the following information:

  • Your first and last name
  • Your birthday
  • Your ZIP code
  • Your current address
  • Your phone number
  • Your annual income
  • Your monthly housing payment (whether that’s rent or a mortgage)

Create an account

After you’ve provided Happy Money with the above information, you’ll need to create an account to see your potential rates. To do this, you’ll need to supply your email and create a password.

Next, you’ll be able to see the rates that Happy Money is willing to offer you (this will not impact your credit score). If you choose to accept those rates, you’ll move on to the next stage of the process.

Verify your information

If you choose to move forward with the loan, you’ll next need to fill out a more detailed application form and verify the information you provided to Happy Money. You may need to upload the following documents:

  • Government-issued identification (such as a driver’s license, passport or birth certificate)
  • Residential verification (such as a utility bill or rental agreement)
  • Income verification (such as a W-2, pay stubs or previous tax filings)

Sign for your new loan

Once you’ve provided all the necessary information and you’ve met Happy Money’s eligibility criteria, you’ll need to pass a hard-credit check. This may negatively impact your credit score, but the effect will be minor and temporary.

If you’re approved, you’ll need to sign for your new personal loan. Within three to six business days, Happy Money will deposit the funds into your checking account.

How Happy Money compares to other personal loan companies

Even if you believe Happy Money matches what you’re looking for in a personal loan, it never hurts to shop around and compare other lenders. Here’s how Happy Money stacks up against similar personal loan lenders.

LenderHappy MoneyMarcus by Goldman SachsProsper
LendingTree’s rating4.1/54.4/54.3/5
Minimum credit score640720640
APRs5.99% to 24.99%6.99% to 24.99%7.95% to 35.99%
Loan amount$5,000 - $40,000$3,500 - $40,000$2,000 - $40,000
Repayment term24 and 60 terms36 to 72 terms36 or 60 terms
Origination fee0.00% - 5.00%No origination fee2.41% - 5.00%
Funding timelineThree to six business daysOne to four business daysAs soon as one business day
Bottom lineHappy Money’s funding timeline is a little longer than competitors, but its low credit requirement may make it ideal for borrowers whose scores need some work.Marcus by Goldman Sachs has a higher minimum credit score threshold and may be a good fit for borrowers who are looking for a smaller loan.Prosper has one of the quickest funding timelines, which may make it a good fit for borrowers who need money fast; however, it does come with an origination fee.

Happy Money personal loans: FAQ

What credit score do I need for Happy Money?

Happy Money requires that borrowers have at least a credit score of 640 in order to qualify for a personal loan. However, keep in mind that meeting the minimum credit score requirement doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be approved for a loan. You’ll need to meet Happy Money’s other loan eligibility criteria, including debt-to-income (DTI) ratio and credit history length.

Does Happy Money hurt your credit score?

In order to be officially approved for a personal loan, Happy Money will have to perform a hard-credit pull. This may decrease your credit score temporarily. However, if you make headway on your loan and continue to make full, on-time payments, your credit score can increase over time.

Can you pay off a Happy Money loan early?

Yes — reputable lenders typically allow you to pay off your personal loan early without charging you a prepayment penalty, Happy Money included. While some lenders may charge you a prepayment penalty to recoup the money they’ll lose on interest, most personal loan lenders do not charge these fees.

Methodology

To come up with our star rating for personal loan companies, LendingTree considered 22 data points across three categories:

  • Accessibility: We paid attention to whether lenders offered loans to nontraditional borrowers as well as those without excellent credit scores. We also checked if lenders offered soft-credit pulls and whether they were transparent about eligibility criteria other than credit scores.
  • Rates and terms: We wanted to know if lender rates, terms, amounts and fees were not only transparent, but competitive.
  • Repayment experience: We based this category on lenders’ reputations, customer support availability and unique benefits.

The data points reflect every step of the process to shop and apply for, borrow and repay personal loans. A five-star lender, for instance, has flexible eligibility requirements, offers you the chance to prequalify without commitment and supports you in zeroing your balance.

The 22 data points, culled from the lenders themselves, determine the overall rating. We score lenders consistently, sometimes awarding partial points, so that you can make apples-to-apples comparisons when shopping around.

LendingTree isn’t paid for conducting these reviews, and lenders don’t have control over their content. With our reviews and ratings, we aim to give our users the objective and exhaustive information they need to make the best possible decisions.

 

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