Happy Money (Formerly Payoff) Personal Loans: 2022 Review

Happy Money offers a debt consolidation loan that can help fair- and good-credit borrowers pay off credit card debt.

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Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

If you can qualify for a low rate, Happy Money is a smart way to consolidate high-interest credit card debt into one fixed monthly payment.

Happy Money
Est. APR
5.99-24.99%
Loan amount
$5,000-$40,000
Min. credit score
600
Get rate

on Happy Money's website

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers direct payment to creditors.
  • Option to change payment date.
  • Reports payments to all three major credit bureaus.
  • No prepayment or late fees.
  • Offers free newsletter to help subscribers manage financial stress.

Cons

  • May charge origination fee.
  • No rate discount for autopay.
  • No co-signed, joint or secured loans.

Compare to Other Lenders

Happy Money
BestEgg
SoFi
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Est. APR

5.99-24.99%

Est. APR

5.99-35.99%

Est. APR

6.99-22.28%

Loan term

2 to 5 years

Loan term

2 to 5 years

Loan term

2 to 7 years

Loan amount

$5,000-$40,000

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

600

Min. credit score

600

Min. credit score

680

Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

Compare Rates

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Full Review

Happy Money, previously known as Payoff, provides fixed-rate personal loans to borrowers solely for the purpose of paying off credit card debt. Its consolidation loans roll multiple high-interest credit card payments into one monthly payment with a lower annual percentage rate.

Happy Money helps borrowers focus on building credit through the loan by reporting payments to the three major credit bureaus and offering free monthly FICO score updates.

Happy Money is best for borrowers who:

  • Want to consolidate high-interest credit card debt.

  • Have fair to good credit (above 629 FICO) and three years of credit history.

  • Want help building their credit scores.

Happy Money at a glance

Affordability

  • APRs are high among lenders targeting similar borrowers.

  • May charge origination fee.

  • No prepayment or late fees.

  • No rate discount for autopayments.

Transparency

  • Performs soft credit check to pre-qualify.

  • Reports on-time payments to three credit bureaus.

  • Discloses rates, fees and terms on website.

  • Offers FAQ that answers key borrower questions.

Loan flexibility

  • Offers only unsecured loans.

  • Allows changes to payment due date only once every 12 months.

  • Funds loans within two days.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation loans.

  • Not available in MA and NV.

Customer experience

  • Offers multiple customer contact channels and seven-day support.

  • Fully online application and loan approval process.

  • Does not offer mobile app to manage loan.

Key terms to know about personal loans

Annual percentage rate

Annual percentage rate is the interest rate on your loan plus all fees, calculated on an annual basis and expressed as a percentage. Use the APR to compare loan costs from multiple lenders.

Origination fee

An origination fee is a one-time, upfront fee that some lenders charge for processing a loan. The fee can range from 1% to 10% of the loan amount, and lenders typically deduct it from your loan proceeds.

Debt-to-income ratio

The debt-to-income ratio divides your total monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income, giving you a percentage. Lenders use DTI — along with credit history and other factors — to evaluate a borrower's financial ability to repay a loan.

Soft credit check

Lenders that offer pre-qualification typically do so using a soft credit check, which allows you to see rates and terms you qualify for without affecting your credit score. If you accept the loan offer, the lender will perform a hard check to confirm your information. Hard checks knock a few points off your credit score.

Where Happy Money stands out

Free monthly credit score: Happy Money lets borrowers see their FICO credit score for free each month, so you can monitor your progress as you make payments.

Direct payment to creditors: Though borrowers can get the loan funds deposited to their personal checking account, the lender will also pay off your credit cards directly and offer a rate discount between 0.25 and 1 percentage point. This means you don’t have to send the funds yourself, simplifying the consolidation process.

Soft credit pull: Borrowers can go to Happy Money's website and pre-qualify — check potential rates and terms before committing to a loan — without impacting their credit score. Happy Money then does a hard credit pull, which can cause a temporary drop in credit score, if the loan offer is accepted.

Science-based assessments: Happy Money combines financial services with psychology-based advice. Happy Money members receive access to scientific personality and stress assessments, as well as insight into their cash flow (how much cash is left over after paying expenses). This focus on helping consumers better understand their financial well-being is unique among lenders.

Non-members can also enroll in a free, six-week email series called Peace, which helps subscribers manage financial stress.

Where Happy Money falls short

Moderate funding time: If same or next-day funding for a debt consolidation loan is a priority, there are other lenders to consider. However, Happy Money’s two-day funding time is still decent compared to some competitors.

May charge origination fee: Happy Money may charge an origination fee up to 5%. This fee is taken from the total loan amount when the loan is issued. Though this is the only fee Happy Money charges, some lenders charge zero fees, including origination fees.

No rate discount for autopay: Unlike other lenders,Happy Money does not offer a rate discount for setting up autopayments. This discount usually ranges from 0.25 to 0.5 percentage points and can reduce the overall cost of your loan.

No co-signed, joint or secured loan options: Happy Money only offers unsecured debt consolidation loans, meaning there’s no option for borrowers to submit a joint application, add a co-signer or secure the loan with collateral to qualify for a better rate or a larger loan.

How to qualify for a Happy Money loan

  • Minimum credit score: 600; borrower average is 710.

  • Minimum credit history: Three years.

  • At least two open accounts on credit report.

  • Minimum monthly free cash flow: $750; borrower average is $2,000.

  • No debt-to-income ratio requirement, but borrower average is 40%.

  • Zero credit delinquencies.

  • Must be able to provide income verification.

  • No bankruptcies filed within the past two years.

  • Must provide Social Security number.

Loan example: A three-year, $10,000 loan with a 20.5% APR would cost $374 in monthly payments. You’d pay $3,471 in total interest on that loan.

Pre-qualify on NerdWallet

NerdWallet recommends comparing loans to find the best rate for you. Click the button below to pre-qualify on NerdWallet. You may receive personalized rates from multiple lenders that partner with us, including Happy Money. Pre-qualifying will not impact your credit.

Apply on Happy Money

You can fill out an application on Happy Money’s website. After entering some personal information, you’ll be presented with loan options for which you pre-qualify. Checking your rates does not affect your credit score.

on Happy Money's website

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.

Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.

This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.