Contributed by Dollar Stretcher reader Angela

Getting a Personal Loan: A Review of Payoff

The Dollar 'Get Out of Debt' Course

Editor's note: The Dollar Stretcher did not receive compensation from for this review. All opinions in this review are those of the author. The Dollar Stretcher is an affiliate of Payoff and could receive compensation if you click on a Payoff link in this review.

Like a lot of people, I found myself with a substantial credit card balance that I could not pay off in just a few months. As a loyal Dollar Stretcher, I hated getting those statements and seeing the amount of interest that was getting tacked on each month, imagining the many better ways I could be using that money. I asked my card issuer for an interest rate reduction. No luck. I briefly considered a personal loan, but had visions of being hounded with phone calls and emails from every lender from whom I requested a rate quote while shopping around. And how much hassle would the application process be? Certainly more time consuming than applying for a 0% balance transfer to another credit card. But that 0% interest card eventually becomes 14% to 17% or higher if you don't get that balance paid off in that 6, 12 or 18 months. So I decided to take a serious look at getting a personal loan even if it meant ignoring sales calls from lenders.

After a bit of homework, I initially decided to request quotes from two sites. The first company I contacted is a marketplace of lenders for various types of loans. I would be able to get quotes from multiple companies with one inquiry. Understandably, the site needed my contact information in order to provide me with those rate quotes. Let the phone calls and emails begin, I thought. And begin they did. Two months later I am still getting occasional phone calls and emails from this company despite the fact I declined their service.

The other site I visited for a quote was, a site I had heard about here on The first thing I noticed about Payoff is that it did not appear to be your typical lending site. Here is how they describe their service: "It's time for your Payoff, a loan designed to help you payoff credit card debt and simplify your life." And here is a quote from the Payoff 'story:' "Payoff is here to help you on your journey to achieve your dreams. No matter how you got here, we will help you all along the way." Now here was a site that appeared to want to help me get out of debt, not just become the lender for my debt. I requested a rate quote and I am so glad I did. I cannot sing enough praises about Payoff or their loan application process. Here is how quick and easy it was:

It took just a few minutes to go online and enter my information that Payoff needed to pre-qualify me. They made it clear that the pre-qualification process would not have an impact on my credit score. The same was true on the other lending site I visited. After providing my legal name, birthdate, address, some details about my home (rent or own), monthly house payment amount and income, they performed a soft inquiry of my credit and came back with a report showing me how much credit card debt I owed, their estimated fee for providing a loan to me for that amount (my fee was $216) and the amount I would need to borrow to include all of my credit card debt. This can be helpful if you have balances on multiple cards. It only took a few minutes on their site for me to enter my information and get back the details of my debt. Note: You do not have to borrow the full amount of credit card debt you owe. You can choose a lesser amount.

The next step was to create a Payoff account by entering my email address and setting up my password and then they provided me with a quote. One thing I really liked about Payoff was I had different loan options to choose from. Shorter loan periods had lower interest rates. Longer loan periods had slightly higher interest rates. I took a few days to consider my options and during this time I did receive an email from Payoff with a phone number I could call if I needed assistance as well as a link to their financial personality quiz. I took the quiz and received a report on some of the financial habits of my personality type as well as some recommendations in paying off my debt and improving my credit. Apparently I have the financial personality type of the Oasis - quiet, focused and reserved.

I accepted a 24 month loan at 9.97% interest rate/12% APR, much better than the 17% rate I had on my credit card. Keep in mind that loan rates will be based on your credit score. And I have a pretty decent credit score.

Once you accept your loan rate and term, you submit a longer application, all online, and some financial documents. I had to upload my two most recent bank statements and two most recent pay stubs. There are other ways you can submit your documentation if you do not wish to upload them. Payoff contacted me the next day with one question they had regarding my application and I was approved. I was able to e-sign the small number of loan documents online and download them for my records and 5 days later they deposited the loan into my bank account minus the $216 fee.

I was required to have the first two payments on auto-pay, deducted directly from my checking account. After the first two months I could go into my settings on the Payoff site and turn off the auto-pay. I left mine on auto-pay. One less bill to remember to pay. And I can pay off the loan early without a pre-payment penalty.

Every few weeks I receive the Payoff newsletter in my Inbox with helpful information such as how to request a pay raise or tips for boosting my credit score. Or I can get many of those same money tips on the Payoff YouTube Channel. Check out the video below and you'll see how different they are from other lenders. They seem to truly be committed to not just providing me with a loan but helping me be successful both in paying off my current debt and avoiding additional credit card debt.

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