This BillsHappen.com review will interest consumers who need a personal loan despite having less-than-perfect credit.
Online personal loans come in handy when you need cash right away to pay a medical bill, energy bills, or any other type of bill. Personal loans are unsecured loans — you don’t have to pledge collateral to obtain one, just your signature. They’ve become so popular that scams and frauds are legitimate concerns.
BillsHappen.com is one of several lending networks we regularly review at BadCredit.org, and as you’ll see, it appears to be a legitimate company with a solid network of direct lenders. We recently gave it an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5, good enough to rank third among bad-credit personal loan services.
Cash Loans of Up to $5,000 as Soon as Tomorrow
BillsHappen.com is an online marketplace that prequalifies consumers looking for personal loans. It is not a lender, but rather runs a network of direct lenders. BillsHappen.com circulates your loan request on its network and links you to a direct lender interested in working with you.
The company was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Plantation, FL. It has helped more than 250,000 consumers connect to personal loan providers. The BillsHappen.com network encompasses hundreds of licensed, reputable lenders where you can borrow up to $5,000 in as little as 24 hours.
How To Apply
It’s important to understand the difference between a network lending service like BillsHappen.com and the direct lenders on its network.
When you need a personal loan, you initially apply to BillsHappen.com by completing a loan request form — it takes about 10 minutes. The form requires a limited amount of data, just enough to prequalify you for the next step, in which you fill out a more extensive loan application form at a direct lender’s website.
Here are the step-by-step instructions:
- From the BillsHappen.com home page, click on the “Get Started” link.
- Indicate how much you’d like to borrow. You have five choices in $1,000 increments, i.e., $1,000, $2,000, …, $5,000.
- Select the state you live in and then click Next.
- Enter your name, email address, and ZIP code, and then check the Terms & Conditions box. Click Next.
- Enter your phone number, agree to SMS updates, and click Next.
- Select your main source of income. Click Next.
- Enter your address, time at residence, and whether you rent or own. Click Next.
- Indicate whether you are active military or a dependent of active military. Click Next.
- Indicate whether you own your vehicle outright. Click Next.
- Enter your monthly income and click Next.
- Indicate whether you have a bank account and click Next.
- Select how often you get paid and your next pay date. Click Next.
- Enter your employer name, work phone, and time with employer. Also indicate whether you are paid via direct deposit or check. Click Next.
- Enter your driver’s license or state ID number and select the issuing state. Click Next.
- Enter your Social Security number and date of birth. Click Next.
- Enter the name of the bank where you want your loan deposited if you agree to work with a direct lender. Enter how long you’ve been a customer of the bank, the 9-digit routing number, and the account number. Click Next.
- Wait while the system verifies your information and connects you to a direct lender. The process can take a few minutes.
If you successfully prequalify and then catch the interest of a direct lender, you’ll be automatically forwarded to the lender’s website where you’ll finish the application process. If no lender is currently interested in working with you, you’ll be shown additional options you can follow.
Almost all online lender-matching services have similar general criteria. BillsHappen.com requires that you:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident
- Own a valid checking or savings account
- Have a valid Social Security number
- Have a valid driver’s license or state ID
- Are employed, self-employed, or receiving benefits
- Have a valid phone number
You will prequalify for a loan if you satisfy all of these criteria. This does not necessarily guarantee you’ll find a direct lender, but it is a necessary step. If a direct lender wishes to work with you, your prequalification data will be transmitted to it using AES 256-bit encryption to keep it safe.
Each direct lender has its own application process. If you’re offered a loan, first take the time to read all the accompanying information, including the fine print. Now is the time to ask any questions you may have.
Assuming all goes well, the lender will have you e-sign the loan agreement and arrange to have your money deposited into your bank or credit union account within the next one to two business days. You can use the money however you please.
Typically, the agreement will allow the lender to debit your bank account to collect each monthly payment.
Reviews Around the Web Are Scarce
We normally like to provide individual reviews from around the web, but, unfortunately, there don’t appear to be any for BillsHappen.com. The few website reviews we encountered give generally positive marks without providing any individual testimonials or complaints.
BillsHappen is a “Seen on TV” and “Heard on Radio” advertiser, having placed ads on CNN, MSNBC, VH1, the Hallmark Channel, and Fox. Personally, I would like to see some credentials associated with a website, such as membership in the Online Lenders Alliance, but BillsHappen.com doesn’t disclose any.
Furthermore, BillsHappen.com doesn’t appear to belong to the Better Business Bureau, and it doesn’t have any reviews listed on Trustpilot. In sum, BillsHappen.com seems to have a very low profile.
Is BillsHappen Safe to Use?
We’ve seen no indication that BillsHappen.com is involved in any fraud or scams. It explicitly promises to safeguard your personal data, and any information it transmits to direct lenders is first encrypted using McAfee security software.
Our friends at Scamadviser think that BillsHappen.com is legitimate and safe for consumers to access, having a trust score of average to good.
BillsHappen is “likely to be legit” and the trust rating is high, according to ScamAdvisor.
On the plus side, the website:
- Has registration running well into the future
- Has been up and running for multiple years
- Has a valid SSL certificate
Some not-so-good features of the website are:
- Hidden identity of the owner on WHOIS
- Low traffic, as measured by Alexa Rank
- The website is hosted in a “high-risk country”
Alas, Scamadviser (an initiative of the Ecommerce Foundation) has no consumer reviews for BillsHappen.com.
- Lending partners
- Other third-party lenders
- List managers
- Courts and law enforcement agencies
Otherwise, the company promises to protect your personal information from unauthorized access and improper use. Despite the reassurances, the best policy is not to expect that your personal information will always remain secure. You can review or request changes to your personal information by contacting the company.
In addition, BillsHappen.com may partner with ad networks and ad serving providers. Because the rules are in flux, the website ignores Do Not Track signals generated by your browser. It will also send you text messages unless you opt-out by texting STOP.
Personal Loan Scams
One important reason to use BillsHappen.com is that it is a legitimate business. But make no mistake — anything that operates on the internet can attract scammers and other bad actors who are looking to steal your money and/or identity from you.
In the personal loan market, some of the more common scams include:
- Fee scams: Beware of personal loan providers that offer you a lowball APR but then tack on hundreds or thousands of dollars in upfront fees. After they get your money, they terminate your loan contract without sending you any money.
- Credit-check scams: Although BillsHappen.com doesn’t check your credit, it clearly states that the direct lender it finds for you will probably do a hard pull of your credit. Dishonest lenders may guarantee that they won’t perform credit checks, but you may discover after the fact that they actually did check your credit, possibly shaving some percentage points off of it.
- Data theft scams: This involves collecting personal information like your Social Security number and bank account number and then selling the data to hackers. The result is that your identity can be stolen, and you’ll face months of work cleaning up the damage.
It’s a good idea to use only well-known and respected personal loan providers, such as those we review at BadCredit.org.
Warning Signs for Personal Loan Scams
It may be impossible to easily recognize every personal loan scammer, but here are nine steps you can take to protect yourself from bad actors, in which the lender:
- Doesn’t check your payment history: Reputable direct lenders need to see your credit history and will perform a hard inquiry at one or more of the three major bureaus. Conversely, fraudulent lenders advertise they never check credit to attract those with the weakest credit so that they can slap on late fees and interest penalties. BillsHappen.com doesn’t do a credit check because it only prequalifies lenders rather than make direct loans.
- Is not registered in your state: Lenders must register with each state in which they do business, as per the Federal Trade Commission. The lender should explicitly declare on its website the states in which it is not registered. You can contact your state government to verify that the lender is legit.
- Requires you to use a prepaid debit card: It’s illegal to demand upfront fees, such as those for applying for a loan or obtaining credit reports. Rather, any such fees should be subtracted from your loan proceeds. If the lender demands a prepaid debit card to cover fees, move on to another lender.
- Communicates with you outside normal channels: Normally, the lender will conduct business via email and website dialogs. If you hear from your lender via phone, mail, or a knock on the door, you may be dealing with a scammer. It is illegal to offer loans over the phone.
- Doesn’t have a secure website: A lender (or loan-matching network like BillsHappen.com) should operate a secure website. This requires a padlock symbol near the URL address. In addition, the URL address should start with HTTPS, indicating it has taken security precautions.
- Has no physical address: This is a good red flag, as any legitimate lender must have a physical address. You can verify the given address by pasting it into Google Maps. Also, be skeptical of addresses that are P.O boxes — you should investigate these thoroughly before doing business with them.
- Pressures you to act immediately: The oldest trick in the book is to create false urgency. Legitimate lenders may offer promotions, but these typically run over a period of weeks or months. A fraudster applies pressure to force rash decisions.
- Guarantees approval: There aren’t any guaranteed personal loans, although guarantees can apply to getting a prequalification decision. Lenders look at various factors to decide whether to offer you a loan. Don’t be suckered in by nonsensical guaranteed loan approvals
- Doesn’t reveal all its fees in advance: All fees must be disclosed before you sign a loan agreement. A good lender will disclose all fees on its website and in the loan terms and conditions. Don’t fall for vague upfront fees like paperwork, insurance, or processing.
If you feel you’ve been suckered into a scam, contact your local police as well as the FBI and FTC. It’s important to share your experiences with law enforcement so the good guys can keep up with the newest unlawful tactics.
Does BillsHappen Approve Bad Credit?
BillsHappen.com welcomes everyone, including consumers with bad credit. In fact, the company does not check credit, not even via a soft pull. It does ask some personal questions having to do with your income and employment, but it leaves credit checking to its direct lending partners.
This credit-checking policy is good and bad. It’s good in that you can prequalify for a personal loan even if you have bad or scant credit. If you fail to prequalify, you won’t be linked to the company’s lending network, but successfully prequalifying provides you no guarantees that you’ll get a loan.
Naturally, you can increase your chances of getting your loan if you take steps to boost your credit score, including:
- Fix your credit reports: You can increase your score by removing inaccurate negative information from your three credit reports. Although you can do this yourself, it’s faster to use a credit repair company. They aggressively challenge items on your credit reports, and the monthly fees are fairly reasonable.
- Pay down your other debts first. This includes other personal loans, credit card balance billing, and any balance billing on a home equity line of credit. By paying down your loans, you decrease your debt-to-income ratio, which ideally should be below 36% to provide the comfort required by potential lenders. Paying down your credit cards reduces your credit utilization ratio (i.e., credit used divided by total credit authorized) — the general rule of thumb is not to let your CUR exceed 30%.
- Pay your bills on time: Failing to do so can hurt your score when you are more than 30 days overdue. Lenders hate late payments since it sours their trust of loan applicants. If you never miss a payment due date, you should see a higher credit score in six months to one year.
- Don’t open other accounts during the same time period. If you are preparing to get a personal loan, don’t apply for credit cards or ask for higher credit limits for at least six months beforehand. When you apply for new accounts, you’ll experience hard pulls of your credit information which can lower your score.
- Don’t close old credit accounts you no longer use. Doing so can reduce your average account age, which can hurt your score. Occasionally, whip out and use one of your unused credit cards so that it isn’t marked as dormant by the credit bureaus.
- Sign up for Experian Boost: This handy-dandy credit service can increase your credit score by dozens of points by including your utility-type accounts in your credit history.
Another approach is to recruit a cosigner for your loan. The cosigner is responsible for timely payments if you fail to meet your obligations, something that may ruin your relationship.
How Much Can I Borrow Through BillsHappen?
You can search for loans of up to $5,000 by entering your initial request to borrow. BillsHappen.com uses this amount for purposes of prequalification. However, the actual amount you’ll be offered depends on the direct lender to which you are linked after successful prequalification.
You can borrow up to $5,000 through BillsHappen.
Of course, the amount you need to borrow depends on your circumstances. You may have unexpected energy bills, health care bills, or any other type of itemized bill that you can’t afford to pay all at once.
If you had access to an employee 401k plan, you may be able to borrow from it, but not all plans allow employee borrowing. Therefore, a personal loan may be the best alternative and offer the most flexible repayment terms.
Your initial loan request to BillsHappen.com allows you to choose a loan size of $1,000 to $5,000 in $1,000 increments, but the smallest loan available is $100.
The direct lender will evaluate your application to see whether it can accommodate the amount you request. It may make you a smaller offer if your income and other factors prohibit the lender from offering the full amount you want.
We’ve already mentioned the merits of raising your credit score to access loans with better terms and interest rates. While credit score doesn’t figure into the BillsHappen.com prequalification process, the direct lender will likely be strongly influenced by your score when evaluating your application.
Of course, lenders consider other factors besides credit score. The following factors are commonly incorporated into the loan underwriting process:
- Current or reasonably expected income or assets
- Current employment status
- The monthly payment on the requested loan
- Current debt obligations, alimony, and child support
- Your monthly debt-to-income (DTI) ratio
- Credit history
DTI ratio is usually an important part of a lender’s underwriting process, with a general consensus that the maximum ratio value should not exceed 36%. You can improve your DTI ratio by paying down debt and/or increasing income.
It’s hard to pay down debt at the same time you are applying for a new loan. It may be more realistic to consider quick ways to increase your income. Here are a few ideas:
- Ask for a promotion or raise: If you have good skills, you may be in an excellent position to request a raise from your current employer. Perhaps your company offers training programs to grow your skills or prepare you for promotion. You can also look for a new job that will pay you more money performing work similar to what you currently do.
- Take a side gig: The gig economy is huge, flexible, and convenient. You may be able to get a side gig you can perform from home using some of your life skills, such as article writing, math tutoring, bookkeeping, website design, commercial graphics, and many more. Websites like Upwork and Fiverr allow you to compete for gig work quickly and conveniently.
- Monetize a hobby: You may already have a beloved hobby that takes up your free time. Consider ways to make money from your hobby, such as selling your artwork or crafts on Etsy. Another idea is to create a YouTube channel to show off your items, review items you use, explain tools and techniques, etc., and then sell products, ads, and links to create revenue.
- Build investment income: You may have money invested in the stock market but would rather use a personal loan than cashing in your stocks. You may consider moving some of your investments to income-producing assets, such as bonds and high-dividend stocks to augment your monthly cash flow. We recommend you work with a financial advisor before making changes to your portfolio.
These are but a few of the ideas that can help you increase your income and reduce your DTI ratio. While some strategies may take months to pay off, others (like side gigs and pay raises) can immediately improve your monthly income.
Generally, the more income you can show, the more you’ll be able to borrow, all other things being equal.
Is BillsHappen a Payday Lender?
BillsHappen.com is not a lender, payday or otherwise. It is instead a company that finds direct lenders that may be willing to offer you a personal loan. It’s important to understand how personal and payday loans differ from each other before deciding which is more appropriate to your needs.
Structure of a Payday Loan
A payday loan has an extremely short term, usually the amount of time until your next paycheck. In fact, you can’t get a payday loan unless you have a job providing regular paychecks.
When the loan term is up, you must repay it in its entirety or else roll it over to your next payday. Rollovers require additional fees on top of the ones you already paid to take out the loan.
A personal loan is repaid in monthly installments. Typically, the shortest term is three months but can extend out for multiple years. Each payment is split between interest and principal, so if you repay early, you can save on interest expense (unless the loan contains a prepayment penalty).
Payday loans charge notoriously high interest rates, frequently in the three-digit range. There are also steep fees for late payments and rollovers. If you frequently rollover your payday loans, you can wind up doubling or tripling the amount you must pay back.
Average payday loan interest rates by state.
A debt spiral occurs when you must continually borrow more money to meet your current payment obligation. Doing this can lead you into poverty and/or trigger personal bankruptcy.
Personal loans are much less expensive, even if you have bad credit. You can arrange affordable monthly payments by choosing a long repayment period, although this increases the total cost of the loan. Late fees and other penalties may apply, and some personal loans may charge a prepayment fee for early payoff.
Payday loans are relatively small since they can’t exceed the size of your next paycheck. This restriction arises directly from the structure of payday loans, which you must fully repay in one to four weeks, depending on your pay frequency.
Personal loans can be much larger than payday loans since you can take months or years to repay them. The size amount depends on several factors, but in general, you must show you can afford the monthly installment amount.
Ease of Access
Generally, payday loans offer easier and faster access to money. If you live or work near a payday loan store, you can stop in and get your money within 30 minutes, less if you are a regular customer. Online payday lenders can usually deposit your money into your bank account within a day.
Personal loans can be quick or time-consuming, depending on the source. BillsHappen.com finds you online lenders that can fund you as quickly as can online payday lenders — as soon as the next business day. Personal loans from conventional financial institutions, such as banks or credit unions, will take more time to complete due to their bureaucratic structures.
Payday loans are made without regard to your credit score. The only thing that matters is your next paycheck. Because of this, payday loans are not reported to the credit bureaus, which means they can’t help you build credit.
Personal loan approvals often do rely on your credit score. BillsHappen.com doesn’t check credit scores, but it’s likely that the direct lenders on its network do. Accordingly, the credit bureaus will get your monthly payment data, allowing you to boost your credit score by consistently paying on time.
In general, we recommend you use payday loans as a last resort, due to their high cost.
Does it Cost Anything to Use BillsHappen?
It doesn’t cost a penny to prequalify with BillsHappen.com. The service is free to customers and there is no obligation to apply for a loan from the recommended lender.
It does not cost anything to use BillsHappen — it is a free lender matching service.
In addition, since BillsHappen.com does not check credit scores, you won’t damage yours by prequalifying with the network.
The direct lenders recommended by BillsHappen.com won’t charge you anything unless and until you take out a loan. Typically, the lender will do a hard pull of your credit, so you may pay the cost of lower credit scores.
You may be charged fees if you accept a loan from the direct lender. Because each lender is unique, it’s impossible to say what upfront fees will apply, if any.
Can I Use BillsHappen For Medical Bills?
You can receive a surprise bill at any time, but a surprise medical bill can be especially devastating. You may get a surprise medical bill when your insurance company offers a high-deductible health plan.
A health plan that results in a surprise billing can send you scrambling for a personal installment loan like those offered by BillsHappen.com. With this kind of health insurance, you must pay a high deductible that the insurance company doesn’t cover, which can easily exceed $5,000.
But with these high deductible plans, your out-of-pocket medical expenses may greatly exceed your deductible. The reason is that your medical expenses also include copays and may be subject to lifetime or annual caps.
At least you can schedule elective surgery. But imagine the unexpected bill you’ll receive if you need sudden, expensive emergency care. The costs of visiting the emergency room can mushroom if you are suddenly ill or injured.
Unlike elective surgery, you can’t plan for a trip to the emergency room and the resulting medical expenses for emergency care. Your hospital or medical provider is not at fault for the high unexpected bill you may receive, as these out-of-pocket costs are the reason why the insurance company can charge lower premiums for your health plan.
If you are a recent patient and are already saddled with student loans, credit card debt, and other obligations, a personal loan may be your best bet for handling your health care itemized bill obligations to your health care provider.
BillsHappen Review: A Legitimate Lending Network That Can Help
We are satisfied that BillsHappen.com is a legitimate business that can find you a reputable provider of personal loans. We haven’t been able to find any negative information about its business practices, although we’d be happier if it were listed with the Better Business Bureau and the Online Lenders Alliance.
We invite you to share your comments with us about your experiences using BillsHappen.com.
Personal loans are a time-tested way to borrow money without posting collateral. If you happen to own your home or car, you can also consider secured loans that allow you to cash out some of your equity in these assets. Credit cards offer another alternative via cash advances, though these are likely to charge APRs of 20% to 36%, making them more expensive than many personal loans.