If you’re looking to pay off or lower your credit card debt, one of the smartest money moves you can make is to consolidate that debt for a lower rate with a personal loan. Payoff—which is not a bank, but a “financial wellness company” that works with lending partners to originate loans—is among the top lenders around for this specific purpose, but it might not be available to you if you don’t have a good credit score. Could a Payoff personal loan be right for you?
- Product Specifications
- Pros and Cons
- Company Overview
- APR Range 5.99% to 24.99%
- Recommended Minimum Credit Score 640
- Loan Amounts $5,000 to $40,000
- Loan Terms Two to five years
Very few fees
Holistic approach to managing money
Free monthly FICO score updates
Not available in all states
May come with an origination fee
No options to have a co-signer
Delinquencies may prevent qualification
Generally only good for paying off credit card debt
- Origination fee: 0% to 5% of the total amount borrowed
- No late, application, or prepayment fees
Payoff isn’t a bank—it bills itself as a “financial wellness company” whose goal is to help people improve their financial situations. It offers personal loans designed to help you pay off credit card debt by consolidating it at a lower interest rate.
Pros of Payoff Loans
- Very few fees: Payoff doesn’t charge late fees, application fees, or prepayment penalties. In fact, the only fee it does charge is an upfront origination fee.
- Competitive rates: Payoff charges competitive interest rates, especially for well-qualified borrowers. Its rates are in line with other top lenders, such as Laurel Road and SoFi.
- Holistic approach to managing money: Payoff offers support through tools and assessments to look at your larger money picture, including how your stress and personality affect your finances. It also offers quarterly check-ins by phone during your first year.
- Free monthly FICO score updates: You’ll get a free update on your FICO score every month. Payoff claims that its users see an average credit score increase of 40 points within the first four months, so this perk is a helpful way to monitor your own progress. Remember, though, many factors influence your credit score, so your experience may vary.
Cons of Payoff Loans
- Not available in all states: Currently, Payoff personal loans are not available in Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Nevada.
- May come with an origination fee: Payoff personal loans come with an origination fee of 0% to 5%. Aside from the interest you’ll be charged, it’s the only way that Payoff itself earns money from your loan.
- No options for having a co-signer: You’ll need to apply for a Payoff personal loan based on your own creditworthiness and qualifications because it does not allow you to apply with a co-signer. So if your credit score needs work, there may be better options for borrowing.
- Delinquencies may prevent qualification: If you’re currently behind on any of your bills, Payoff recommends not applying for its personal loan until you are all caught up.
- Generally only good for paying off credit card debt: Except in some rare cases, Payoff loans can only be used for one purpose—to pay off credit card debt that’s listed in your own name. That’s inconvenient if, for example, your partner also has their own credit card debt and you’d like to consolidate it all into one loan. With Payoff, you’ll each need individual loans.
Payoff Personal Loan Rates & Terms
If you’re looking for competitive rates on your credit card debt consolidation, Payoff is one of your best bets. It offers fixed annual percentage rates (APRs) ranging from 5.99% to 24.99%, with term lengths of two to five years. You’ll be hard-pressed to find lower rates than what Payoff offers, although a few lenders, such as Laurel Road, offer even better rates.
The exact rate Payoff offers you will depend on a few factors, including:
- What state you live in
- Your credit score and credit history
- Which loan term length you choose
- How much money you want to borrow
While Payoff generally charges a minimum APR of 5.99%, that’s only for loans under $15,000. If you borrow more than that, the rate may only be as low as 6.99% APR.
How Much Can You Borrow With Payoff?
Payoff loan amounts range from $5,000 to $40,000. A couple of states have slightly higher minimum loan amounts. You must borrow at least $5,100 in New Mexico and $6,100 in Maryland.
Payoff Personal Loan Fees
Payoff’s personal loan fees are a bit of a balancing act. On one hand, it charges an origination fee of 0% to 5%. If you don’t want to pay that, you can look at other lenders that skip this fee. But on the other hand, Payoff doesn’t charge any other common fees, such as late fees.
The best way to see whether you’d save money with a Payoff personal loan is by running the numbers. Make sure to check your rates and fees with other lenders, too. Then, plug them into a consolidation calculator to clearly see which options will save you the most money—whether that’s getting a loan from Payoff or not.
How to Get a Personal Loan From Payoff
Payoff’s application process is similar to that of most other online lenders. You’ll start by filling out the prequalification form to check what rates and loan options are available to you. During this first step, Payoff will run only a soft credit check that won’t affect your score. If you like the loan terms offered, you can then proceed with the full application and the hard credit check.
Payoff’s requirements are a bit more strict than those of other lenders, and that’s why we docked it a bit on its score. You’ll need a credit score of at least 640 to qualify, and since you can’t use a co-signer, if your score is lower than that, you’re basically out of luck with this lender.
If you are approved, Payoff will move the funds to your account via direct deposit within three to six business days. Once you have the money, you can use it to start paying down your debt.
Payoff’s funding time to your account may be a bit slower than other lenders, some of which may offer same-day funding. This is because a Payoff personal loan isn’t meant for quick purchases or emergencies. Instead, it’s meant to help borrowers consolidate and pay off debt.
Payoff may be a good option if you’re looking to pay down high-interest credit card debt. It offers very competitive rates that may be lower than your credit card rate. And aside from the origination fee, its fee structure is quite fair. The company also exudes positivity in trying to help you better your finances, paying more than just lip service to this idea with its lending design and active customer support.
However, if you can qualify for a similar or lower rate with another lender—especially one that doesn’t charge an origination fee and offers the ability to add a co-signer if needed—you may be better off. Payoff also seems somewhat exclusive: It may be difficult for people with credit scores under 640 and those overcoming financial challenges, such as delinquencies, to qualify. But if you are approved, Payoff may be one of your best bets to help you pay down your debt.
We look at 40 data points from dozens of financial institutions to evaluate lenders for our personal loan reviews. Because a loan’s APR can dramatically impact the total cost you pay, we weight that feature the heaviest. But since a great APR usually requires at least a good credit score, we also give points to lenders who may have a higher potential APR but offer loans to people with less-than-perfect credit scores.
Along those lines, we favor lenders who allow you to see if you prequalify before applying for a loan, so you won’t harm your credit score just by applying. Origination, prepayment, and late fees all get counted in our assessment. And lastly, we deduct points from the ratings of lenders with restricted access—for instance, those who require you to first have another type of account with them or to join a nonprofit organization.
Payoff. "Getting Approved." Accessed Oct. 20, 2020.
Payoff. "Frequently Asked Questions," see "What is the Payoff Loan?" Accessed Oct. 20, 2020.
Payoff. "Member Benefits." Accessed Oct. 20, 2020.
Payoff. "Rates & Terms." Accessed Oct. 20, 2020.
Payoff. "Should I Include my Spouse or Partner's Income When Filling Out the Payoff Loan Application?" Accessed Oct. 20, 2020.
Payoff. "Can I Get a Payoff Loan for Anything Besides Paying Off my Credit Cards?" Accessed Oct. 20, 2020.
Payoff. "After Approval, How Quickly Does Payoff Fund My Payoff Loan?" Accessed Oct. 20, 2020.