Achieve Personal Loans and Happy Money Personal Loans consistently show up on “best rated” lists. These loans are similar in that both offer the same minimum ($5,000), have similar loan terms (up to 60 months) and are geared toward borrowers with near-prime credit scores. Achieve and Happy Money also operate as financial technology (fintech) companies, so the application and loan processes are done online.

If you’re in the market for a personal loan, it’s a good idea to understand the differences between Achieve and Happy Money. Knowing the characteristics of these lenders’ financing options can help you make the right choice for your financial situation.

Achieve vs. Happy Money at a glance

Achieve Happy Money
Bankrate Score 4.7 4.5
Better for Fair credit borrowers Credit card consolidation
Loan amounts $5,000-$50,000 $5,000-$40,000
APRs 8.99%-35.99% 11.72%-24.67% with autopay
Loan term lengths 24-60 months 24-60 months
Fees Origination fee of 1.99%- 6.99% Origination fee up to 5%
Minimum credit score 620 640
Time to funding Within 24 to 72 hours 3 to 6 business days

Achieve personal loans

Achieve logo

Achieve personal loans

Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5

Achieve Personal Loans offers a proprietary digital lending platform, with loan origination conducted through New Jersey-based Cross River Bank. You can use the money you receive for the following purposes:

  • Consolidating high-interest, unsecured debt
  • Refinancing high-rate credit cards
  • Funding hard-to-finance major purchases
  • Paying down medical expenses
  • Subsidizing home improvement projects
  • Financing vacations, weddings or other events

According to its website, Achieve has helped more than 1.5 million consumers since 2002, providing more than $10 billion in loan products and resolving over $18 billion in debt. The company prides itself on a fast turnaround on funding (you could see money in your account within 72 hours if you’re approved) and personalized service through dedicated, certified loan consultants.


Achieve began operations as Freedom Financial Network LLC in 2002 in Scottsdale. In 2013, the company launched its personal lending arm, FreedomPlus. The goal was to provide personal loan options to what the company described as 80 million “mid-credit Americans” who were typically underserved by banks that were more focused on prime and super-prime lending products.

FreedomPlus was rebranded as Achieve Personal Loans in late 2022


Achieve offers its application and prequalification processes on its website, meaning your entire application, loan and repayment process can be completed online. Also available online are the company’s Get Out of Debt Faster (Achieve GOOD) and Money Left Over (MoLO) apps, a debt-to-income calculator and various articles and resources.

Additionally, Achieve Personal Loan offers three types of discounts:

  • Co-borrower discounts: This lets you add a qualified co-borrower to your loan application, improving your approval chances.
  • Retirement asset discount: This discount is available if you can show proof of sufficient funds in your 401(k), IRA, Roth IRA or thrift savings plan (TSP).
  • Direct creditor payoff discount: If you’re using a personal loan to consolidate debt, you can authorize Achieve to use the funds you receive to pay creditors directly. This can eliminate the hassles and headaches involved with paying creditors yourself.

Application process

You need a minimum credit score of 620 to qualify for an Achieve loan.

To prequalify, visit the company’s website or call its customer service line at (833) 418-3193. You’ll answer a few questions, including proof of identity, state of residence, how much you want to borrow and your current income. Other information required might include your Social Security number and employment status.

With this information, Achieve will make a soft-credit pull (which won’t impact your credit score). Once you’re pre-approved and decide to obtain a personal loan, Achieve will run a hard credit pull to obtain additional financial information about you.

Customer support

Achieve Personal Loans offers two ways to get in touch:

  • By phone: Call (833) 418-3097 from 6 a.m. through 8 p.m. MT Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. through 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
  • Online: The Achieve website provides an online messaging platform for general questions, career opportunities and additional information.

What customers say

As of May 2024, Achieve had 4.8 stars out of 5 with 10,868 reviews on Trustpilot.

Reviewers praised the seamless process and expertise, with its particular emphasis on personalization. Borrowers liked that they could work with a human being on the application and funding processes. Many reviewers also complimented the loan consultants they worked with.

Negative reviews complained about poor communications, slow funding and sluggish payment to creditors. Achieve representatives asked those reviewers to contact the company to resolve their situations.

Happy Money personal loans

Happy Money personal loans

Happy Money personal loans

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Happy Money’s main product is its Payoff Loan, issued to borrowers with a minimum credit score of 640 and no delinquencies. The Payoff Loan is geared toward paying off credit card debt and has a maximum APR of 17.99%. This is lower than other personal lenders’ standard capped APR rates and the APR of many credit cards.

The company prides itself on transparency and long-time partnerships with community-based credit unions, including Alliant, U.S. Alliance Financial, Green State Credit Union and First Tech Federal Credit Union. These financial organizations issue loans through the Happy Money online platform. The origination fees vary based on the lenders.

According to its website, Happy Money has facilitated over $6 billion in loans to more than 300,000 borrowers.


The company was founded in 2009 in California as Payoff Inc. and introduced its Payoff Loan in 2015. In 2017, Payoff launched Happy Money, which relies on “a more complete picture of a person” by analyzing psychological and traditional financial data.


Happy Money partnered with TruStage in early 2023 to develop Payment Guard Insurance. This product protects you if you lose your job or have a disability due to injury or illness and can’t make the monthly payments on your loan. Once your claim is approved, Payment Guard covers up to three months of loan payments. Additionally, Payment Guard reduces your principal balance without extending your loan terms or accruing more interest.

In addition to providing credit card loans (and help with repaying them should unforeseen situations occur), the Happy Money website provides articles and first-person experiences from Happy Money borrowers. It also offers multiple FAQs to assist with questions about accounts, payments, rates and more.

Application process

You can qualify for a Happy Money loan with a credit score of 640 and no delinquencies.

To prequalify, you’ll be asked to provide your name, birth date (you must be at least 18 years old to apply, or 19 years old if you live in Alabama), annual income and any mortgage payments. This results in a soft credit pull (which won’t impact your credit score). You’ll then receive loan offers via email.

If you decide to proceed with the loan, you’ll be asked to provide additional information. Happy Money will run a hard credit pull to obtain more financial information about you. That hard credit pull will impact your credit score by a few points.

Customer support

You can contact Happy Money through the following:

  • By phone: Call (800) 878-0901 from 6 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. PT, Monday–Friday.
  • By email: Email the company any time at

What customers say

Recent rankings from Trustpilot placed Happy Money at 3.9 out of 5.0, with 374 reviews.

Positive reviews pointed to a streamlined application and funding process, no hidden fees and assistance in paying off credit card debt. The main downsides mentioned by consumers included slow funding that sometimes took up to a week. Other negative reviews complained about excessive (online) paperwork and poor customer service.

Similar to Achieve, Happy Money did respond to criticisms by asking reviewers to contact the company.

Achieve vs. Happy Money: Choosing the right option for you

Both Achieve and Happy Money offer means to help focus on financial wellness. Which loan you choose depends on what you need it for. If you aim to pay off credit card debt, Happy Money might be best for you. If you need a personal loan for other purposes, Achieve may be your best bet.

Before applying for any personal loan, compare these two, along with other lenders to determine interest rates, terms and repayment plans. Also, be sure to examine your financial situation to ensure that a personal loan is the right move for your purposes.