Payoff helps borrowers with fair credit consolidate credit card debt at competitive rates. However, this lender may charge origination fees and offers a relatively low maximum loan amount. While Payoff might be a good option for borrowers with fair credit, it's not necessarily the best option for everyone.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
Applicants can pre-qualify with a soft credit check
Annual percentage rates are competitive
Borrower qualifications are clearly identified online
Limited to credit card consolidation
Borrowers may be charged an origination fee
Only offers loans up to $40,000
- Payoff is an excellent option for borrowers with a credit score of at least 600.
- This lender does not allow joint applications or co-signers.
- Loan funding may take up to six days—longer than many top online lenders.
- Borrowers are not charged a prepayment penalty or late payment fees.
- APR Range 5.99% to 24.99%
- Loan Amounts $5,000 to $40,000
- Loan Terms 24 to 60 months
- Recommended Minimum Credit Score 600
- Average Origination Fee 2.5%
- Late Fee $0
- Applicants can prequalify with a soft credit check: Prospective borrowers can click on “Check My Rate” on the Payoff homepage to access the rate they’re likely to qualify for. This requires entering basic personal information, does not impact the consumer’s credit score, and only takes about two minutes.
- Annual percentage rates are competitive: Payoff’s annual percentage rates (APRs) range from 5.99% to 24.99%. The high end of this range is higher than some lenders, but is still competitive—especially for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit.
- Borrower qualifications are clearly identified online: Payoff evaluates applicants based on a combination of financial factors, including FICO Score, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, credit utilization, and age of credit history. These factors are transparent and stated online, making it easier to determine your approval odds.
- Limited to credit card consolidation: While many lenders offer personal loans that can be used for several purposes, Payoff loans are exclusively intended to consolidate credit card debt.
- Borrowers may be charged an origination fee: Payoff loans come with origination fees between 0% and 5% of the total loan amount. The most qualified borrowers may not be charged an origination fee at all, but the fee may increase the overall loan cost for other borrowers.
- Only offers loans up to $40,000: Payoff offers loan amounts from $5,000 to $40,000. While this maximum loan amount is higher than for some online and traditional lenders, it’s lower than top competitors.
Payoff is a financial wellness company that offers credit card consolidation loans to eligible borrowers. Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $40,000, but minimum loan amounts vary in some states. For example, borrowers in New Mexico must take out at least $5,100, while those in Maryland must borrow a minimum of $6,100. Payoff’s loan terms range between 24 and 60 months.
APRs for Payoff personal loans range from 5.99% to 24.99%, and vary based on credit score, credit usage, overall credit history, state, loan amount, and loan term. Unlike some lenders, Payoff doesn’t charge borrowers a prepayment penalty if they pay off their loans early. While Payoff borrowers aren’t charged prepayment, late payment, or returned check fees, origination fees range from 0% to 5% and are taken from the total loan amount at funding.
Founded in 2009, Payoff is a branch of Happy Money, Inc. that works with lending partners to provide credit card consolidation loans. Unlike many online lending platforms, Payoff aims to help consumers reduce their debt and improve their credit profiles. The company is headquartered in Tustin, California, and Payoff loans are available in every state except Massachusetts and Nevada.
Types of Personal Loans Offered by Payoff
Payoff loans are exclusively for credit card consolidation. Because of this, Payoff personal loans cannot be used for home improvements, large purchases, or to cover emergency expenses. This makes Payoff loans much less flexible than many personal loans from other lenders.
To qualify for a Payoff loan, applicants need a minimum credit score of 600 and at least three years of established credit. Payoff also evaluates each applicant’s debt-to-income ratio, credit utilization rate, delinquencies, and other factors when making lending decisions.
Consolidating your credit card debt with a personal loan could result in significant savings on interest charges, depending on your loan's APR.
Time to Receive Funds
In general, Payoff disburses loan funds as soon as three to six business days after loan approval and verification. Keep in mind, though, that funding times may vary based on the borrower’s financial institution.
Payoff Personal Loan Features
Soft Initial Credit Inquiry
Like many top online lenders, Payoff allows borrowers to pre-qualify for a loan without a hard credit inquiry. To do so, navigate to “Check My Rate” on Payoff’s homepage; if you received a prequalification letter, select “I Have an Invite Code” instead. Payoff does not run a hard credit check until you submit a full loan application.
The option to pre-qualify for a loan without a hard credit check is a nice perk, especially if you're shopping around for the best loan rates and terms.
Flexible Due Date
Eligible borrowers can change their payment date by logging into their Payoff Happy Money account and clicking on the “Change Date” button next to their next payment date.
Direct Card Payoff
Payoff’s Direct Card Payoff service streamlines credit card consolidation. If a borrower opts into this service, Payoff will send loan funds directly to third-party credit card companies instead of the borrower’s bank account. Borrowers who prefer to pay off credit card debt themselves can choose to receive funds in the bank account they designate during the application process.
FICO Score Improvements and Updates
According to Payoff, consumers who pay off at least $5,000 in credit card balances with a Payoff loan may experience a 40+ point increase in their credit score. In addition to helping consumers pay off credit card debt faster and improve their credit profiles, Payoff makes it easier to track credit with monthly FICO Score updates.
Apply for a Payoff Personal Loan
If you’re considering a Payoff loan to consolidate credit card debt, start by getting pre-qualified and checking your rate. As with many top lenders, this only requires a soft credit check, so your credit won’t be impacted.
After pre-qualifying, take the following steps to complete your loan application:
- Select loan terms: Once you provide the basic information required for pre-qualification, Payoff displays applicable loan offers. Choose an offer that meets your borrowing needs and preferred repayment term. Payoff then conducts a hard credit inquiry before entering the underwriting process.
- Verify your application and provide documentation: As part of loan underwriting, you may be asked to provide proof of identity, proof of employment and income, and financial documents that demonstrate your ability to repay the loan.
- Await approval: The amount of time it takes Payoff to review and approve each application depends on several factors, including how quickly the necessary documents are submitted. In general, though, Payoff takes up to seven days to review application information and request additional documentation.
Can You Refinance a Personal Loan With Payoff?
Payoff does not offer a refinancing option for its personal loans. So, borrowers who want to access a lower APR must do so through another lender. That said, Payoff loans are restricted to the consolidation—and, therefore, refinancing—of credit card debt.
Payoff’s Member Experience Team can be reached by phone, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, and Saturday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT. Current and prospective borrowers who call outside normal business hours can leave a message. Member Advocates are also reachable via email and online chat.
In addition to its Member Experience Team and Advocates, Payoff offers a library of online resources aimed at simplifying the application and loan payoff process. But despite Payoff’s extensive support options, some reviewers mention difficulties getting in touch with customer service.
Payoff received an average rating of just 2.1 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot and has several poor reviews. Unhappy customers report deceitful loan offers, high APRs, and a complicated application process. More specifically, many applicants mention issues verifying their income and identity using the online platform. Other applicants experienced long customer service response times and unhelpful agents.
Despite its poor reviews, Payoff does get high marks from certain customers. Satisfied borrowers share that the lending platform helped them pay off their debts and improve their credit scores. Positive reviews also mention that the application process is quick if you have all of the necessary documentation, and that the customer support team is helpful.
Current Payoff borrowers can access their accounts through the online portal by clicking on the “Sign In” button on the Payoff homepage. From there, borrowers can review loan documents, update their payment dates, identify their remaining balance, and access their FICO Score. And, while Payoff recommends that borrowers take advantage of its automatic payment feature, it’s also possible to make manual payments through the online dashboard.
How Payoff Compares to Other Personal Loan Companies
Payoff and Upstart are online lending platforms that help borrowers with bad credit. In fact, Upstart and Payoff each recommend applicants have a minimum credit score of just 600.
However, there are some key differences between the lending platforms:
- Upstart’s personal loans can be used for several purposes, while Payoff loan funds are restricted to credit card consolidation.
- Upstart and Payoff both offer minimum APRs between 5% and 6%. However, Payoff’s APRs max out at 24.99%, and Upstart’s rates go as high as 35.99%.
- Payoff borrowers can borrow up to $40,000, but Upstart personal loans are available up to $50,000.
- Upstart reports that 99% of applicants receive their loan funds within one business day after accepting their loan offer. Payoff’s funding process typically takes between three and six days after approval and verification.
- Upstart and Payoff both charge origination fees. However, all Upstart borrowers are charged an origination fee between 1% and 8% of the total loan amount. Some Payoff borrowers don’t pay an origination fee at all, while others pay a maximum fee of 5%.
Both lenders cater to borrowers with lower credit scores, but Upstart is better for consumers who want more flexible access to personal loan funds. Not only can Upstart loans be used for a range of purposes, but the loan amounts are also higher and funding times are faster. However, Upstart’s APRs and origination fees may be higher than Payoff's, so borrowers with poor credit may pay more over the life of the loan.
Read our full Upstart review.
Borrowers who want to consolidate credit card debts can benefit from Payoff’s personal loans and credit tracking tools. Interest rates are competitive, and this lender only requires a FICO Score of 600 while also considering a range of other financial factors. However, Payoff loans may come with an origination fee and funds can only be used to pay off credit card debt.
And while customer reviews are mixed, many are negative and focus on issues with application, approval, and high APRs. For that reason, we only recommend using Payoff if you’re seeking a credit card consolidation loan and don’t qualify for better rates elsewhere.
Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of personal loan lenders. We collected over 25 data points across more than 50 lenders including interest rates, fees, loan amounts and repayment terms to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decision for their needs.
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Upstart. "What Fees am I Charged?" Accessed Nov. 30, 2021.