Happy Money Debt Consolidation Review
The Payoff Loan, by the financial wellness company Happy Money, partners with credit unions and focuses on financial tools to help borrowers get good rates and understand their money in a way that is aimed at helping them stay financially healthy.
The Payoff Loan is the debt consolidation loan product of financial wellness company Happy Money, which changed its name from Payoff.
The company “is on a mission to develop and deliver affordable, accessible financial tools and services that empower people to use money as a tool for their happiness.”
Happy Money partners with credit unions and community-focused lending partners to offer lower interest rates and “prioritize our members’ best interests.” The company has financed $5.2 billion in loans for more than 245,000 lenders since it was founded in 2009.
Happy Money analyzes your financial situation through its own process, which takes into account your credit history and finances, to determine if you qualify for debt consolidation, though you’ll also need a credit score of at least 640.
The company’s partner lenders offer debt consolidation loans between $5,000-$40,000, for 2–5-year terms. Interest rates range from 11.25%-24.50% APR. There is also an origination fee of up to 5%, depending on the specific lender. If you are approved for a Payoff loan, though it’s financed by one of Happy Money’s credit union partners, you deal with Happy Money on payment and other issues.
Debt consolidation is a great way to save money, since you aren’t paying revolving interest and usually pay a lower interest rate. It also is a good way to increase your credit score, since you’ll lower your debt load and it’s easier to make on-time payments. According to a Happy Money study, clients with at least $5,000 in credit card debt increased their credit score by an average of 40 points within four months of approval of a Payoff debt consolidation loan.
- Type of Debt Relief – Debt consolidation loan
- Eligibility and Requirements – 640 credit score, no current delinquencies
- Fees – 11.25%-24.50% APR; 0%-5% origination fee
- Credit Score Impact – Minimal
- Consumer Reviews – Mixed
How a Happy Money Debt Consolidation Loan Works
The Payoff debt consolidation loan from Happy Money has payment terms of 2-5 years with loan amounts between $5,000-$40,000 (the minimum may be higher in some states). Happy Money makes the payments directly to your creditors, and you make your monthly Payoff loan payment to Happy Money. Unlike some debt consolidation loans, there’s no option to get extra money for yourself, or to pay your creditors on your own.
Happy Money works with credit unions, which usually offer lower rates than banks. When you apply for a loan, you get a range of offers to choose from.
Happy Money says it takes the stress out of applying for a loan, making the online process clear and as easy as possible.
Checking your rate and offers is a soft credit pull, which won’t affect your credit score. Once you choose an offer and apply, it will mean a hard pull on your credit report, and could have a negative effect, depending on how many hard pulls you’ve had in the past 2-3 years.
Step 1: Click on “check my rate,” at happymoney.com. There are no application fees, and this won’t affect your credit.
Step 2: Review the rates and terms. Repayment terms are determined by your interest rate, origination fee, loan amount and loan term.
Step 3: Verify loan terms and personal information.
Step 4: Receive your money within 2-5 business days.
Once you’re approved, your monthly payment is taken directly from your bank account. You can change your payment date once a year, but don’t skip payments without contacting Happy Money ahead of time.
Happy Money Debt Consolidation Loan Eligibility and Requirements
Some lenders are notorious for keeping a tight lid on how they do things, which can make it hard to determine whether you qualify, and you waste time trying to figure it out.
Happy Money, on the other hand, prides itself on transparency on its Payoff loan terms. It provides a breakdown of the factors that go into its approval process, so you have insight into how you stack up as a potential borrower before even checking your rate.
Requirements to qualify are:
- A minimum FICO score of 640
- No current delinquencies on your credit report (a delinquency is a payment 30 days or more late)
It also takes into account, though isn’t specific about what numbers it’s looking for:
- Debt to income ratio (DTI), which is how much you owe monthly versus your gross monthly income. Most banks require a DTI below 43%.
- Length of credit history. The longer you’ve been using credit, the better, since it shows you’re an experienced borrower who has taken responsibility to pay back creditors over the years. Happy Money used to require a minimum three-year credit history, but it no longer specifies how long your credit history should be.
- Open and satisfactory trades. This is another way of saying you pay your bills on time, including mortgage, auto loans, and other forms of debt besides credit cards.
- Credit utilization. This measures how much of your available credit you use. If you’re maxed out on every credit card, that’s a negative. In general, it’s good to only use 30% or less of the allowed credit on each card.
While a minimum 640 credit score is required, Happy Money applicants have an average score of 705. Applicants can’t have a co-signer or co-applicant. While Happy Money doesn’t have a credit history requirement, most industry experts say you’ll need 1-3 years to qualify.
Residents of Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska and Nevada are not eligible for Payoff loans from Happy Money. This can change quickly as states change their requirements, so no matter what state you live in, check your rate to see if you qualify. The requirements that apply to all other debt consolidation loans apply here, too – borrowers must be at least 18 years old and have a Social Security number.
Happy Money Debt Consolidation Interest and Fees
The only fee with a Happy Money loan is the origination fee of between 0%-5%. This is rolled into your loan amount, so it doesn’t come out of your pocket. There may be different origination fees with your different loan offers, since they’re set by the lender working with Happy Money.
There are no late payment fees or early payoff fees.
APR on Happy Money loans is between 11.25% and 24.50%. The rate you are offered is determined by credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit use, credit history, and state of residence. While the maximum APR is lower than what’s offered by many online debt consolidation loans, the minimum is a little higher.
Pros and Cons of Happy Money Debt Consolidation Loans
Everyone’s financial situation and goals are different, so the pros and cons of a Happy Money debt consolidation loan also differ from individual to individual. Happy Money’s strengths are in efficiency, transparency and customer service. Cons are about difficulty in qualifying. Even with a decent credit score, there are a few obstacles that may deter low-income borrowers new to the world of credit.
Pros of Happy Money Debt Consolidation
- Maximum rate is lower than many other online debt consolidation loan providers
- Fast and easy application
- No prepayment or late payment
- Can change due date every 12 months
Cons of Happy Money Debt Consolidation
- Minimum 640 credit score to qualify
- Lowest APR is 11.25%
- Up to 5% origination fee
- No non-payoff cash available
Is Debt Consolidation From Happy Money Right for Me?
Borrowers with a good, but not excellent, credit score, a decent DTI and no current delinquencies on their credit report may be the best candidates for Happy Money’s Payoff debt consolidation loan.
If your credit score is excellent or higher, you can probably find a rate somewhere else that’s lower than the 11.25% offered by Happy .
If you qualify with a 640 credit score, but don’t have a long credit history, or have a high utilization rate, you may want to either wait or find a better offer with another online loan company.
While the “no current delinquencies” requirement may seem like a hurdle, that only means delinquencies that you have right now, not past ones that you’ve caught up with. Make sure that you’ve made every payment you owe, not only credit card payments, but catch up if you’re behind on your car payment, mortgage or have overdue medical bills. If you can’t make current debt payments on time, then you may want to consider debt management instead of a debt consolidation loan. (More on debt management shortly).
Happy Money Debt Consolidation Reputation and Consumer Reviews
Happy Money Inc. has an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau, where it’s been accredited since 2022. Forbes rated Happy Money as the best loan for flexible payoff terms in its “Best Debt Consolidation Loans of 2023” ratings and gave it a 3.5 out of 4 stars rating overall.
Reviews by customers, though, are mixed.
Customer service is described by positive reviewers as “friendly, attentive, and punctual.” Those who gave Happy Money high marks also raved about cutting off years in loan payments and saving hundreds of dollars in interest fees, and they liked the quick and easy application process.
Negative reviews complained about mix-ups during the application process that delayed them getting their money long enough that their rate offers changed. Others complained that the offers didn’t match what they thought they qualified for.
Some self-employed borrowers complained of a lackluster income verification process that failed to accommodate their unique employment situation.
Alternatives to Happy Money Debt Consolidation Loans
If your credit isn’t good enough to qualify for a Payoff debt consolidation loan from Happy Money, or if you prefer loan terms the company doesn’t offer, there are alternatives.
Here are some other online loan companies that may meet your needs:
- Avant takes applications from people who have credit scores as low as 580, though most of its approved loans are for borrowers whose scores are between 600 and 700. Loans range from $2,000-$35,000, with APRs of 9.95%-35.99% for terms of 12-60 months. Fees include an “administrative fee” of up to 4.75% when the loan is approved, and there is a $25 late payment fee.
- Lending Club also gives a range of offers from different lenders, with amounts from $1,000 to $40,000 for terms of either 36 or 60 months. Applicants can have a credit score as low as 600, but the lower the score the higher the 3%-6% origination fee and interest, which is 9.57%-36% APR.
- PenFed Credit Union has APRs from 7.74%-17.99%, and no original fee for debt consolidation loans. You get the credit union experience that Happy Money offers, but a possibly lower rate if your credit is good and there is no origination fee. You can also borrow more, up to $50,000, with terms of up to 60 months.
- SoFi is a good choice for borrowers with good credit, and with APRs 8.99%-25.81%, if your credit is good enough, you may get a lower rate than Happy Money’s minimum. You will likely need a credit score of 680 to qualify. Loan amounts are $5,000-$100,000 and repayment plans range from 3-7 years.
Debt Management as an Alternative to Debt Consolidation Loans
If you don’t want to borrow money, or can’t, to pay off your debt, a debt management plan is a good debt relief option.
A debt management plan (DMP) is designed to free you of your unsecured debt, but you don’t have to go into more debt to do it. If you’re having trouble keeping up with payments, it’s a good option to help eliminate debt.
A DMP consolidates credit card debt, much like a debt consolidation loan. But instead of taking out a loan, you are simply paying down debt with money you already have. Debt management is offered by accredited nonprofit credit counseling agencies. You talk to a counselor, at no cost, who reviews your financial situation with you, and offers suggestions for the best options to deal with your debt.
If the counselor suggests a debt management plan, the agency works with your creditors to get lower interest rates and waive late fees. Then the agency pays down your credit cards as you make a fixed monthly payment to the agency for 3-5 years. You can apply, and be accepted, regardless of credit score.
About The Author
Bents Dulcio writes with a humble, field-level view on personal finance. He learned how to cut financial corners while acquiring a B.S. degree in Political Science at Florida State University. Bents has experience with student loans, affordable housing, budgeting to include an auto loan and other personal finance matters that greet all Millennials when they graduate. He has a prodigious appetite for reading, which he helps feed with writing from Scottish philosopher Adam Smith, the “Father of Capitalism.” Bents writing also has been published by JPMorgan Chase, TheSimpleDollar and Interest.com.
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