Consolidating debt is a widely-used, tried and true strategy for managing debt. It involves combining your credit card balances into one, easily...
While debt consolidation isn’t a silver bullet solution, for people with multiple loans who want to reorganize their loans into one payment with a single interest rate, it might be a good option to consider. Learn more about consolidating your debt below.
For those who feel as if their debt is overwhelming, debt consolidation could be a viable option. Making monthly payments on a variety of financial obligations is time consuming. Missing payments, even by accident, could damage credit scores.
Debt consolidation combines financial liabilities into a single monthly payment. It’s an unsecured loan, so borrowers typically need good credit and a steady income to qualify. Often, the new loan has a lower interest rate and better terms than the individual debts. This saves the borrower money in addition to providing a means by which to pay down debt faster.
After securing loan approval with a debt consolidation company or lender, the borrower can access those funds to pay off each of their individual debts. This reduces the multiple balances to zero, eliminating the need to make a monthly payment to each of those creditors.
The borrower then makes a single monthly payment to the debt consolidation company or lender. This loan has a set monthly payment, making it easier to fit into a budget. It also has a fixed interest rate that in an ideal situation would be lower than the combined interest rates of the loans and credit cards.
Debt consolidation works for any type of debt, including credit cards, personal loans, payday loans, medical debt, collections, veterinary bills, tax debt, home repair debt, student debt, and store-issued credit cards. Borrowers can even pay off secured debts like car loans or a second mortgage if they have the credit and income to qualify for a debt consolidation loan.
Companies offering debt consolidation services may have options for people with less than great credit. A certified debt specialist can help borrowers understand their options so they can make the best possible decision for their situation.
Debt consolidation with the help of a debt consolidation company has some distinct benefits. Here are some reasons that borrowers may choose to pay off their various creditors through debt consolidation:
Juggling due dates, making multiple payments, and keeping track of balances on multiple accounts can be overwhelming. Combining those debts into a single monthly payment with a lower interest rate is one way to reduce the stress of out-of-control monthly bills.
Making minimum payments on credit cards traps many borrowers in a cycle of debt that can last decades. For many people, the only way out is to pay off high-interest credit cards in full with a debt consolidation loan. Without an income high enough to make more than the minimum monthly payment, interest charges and fees make it nearly impossible to reduce the principal owed.
Some types of debt don’t have an end date. Credit cards, store cards, and even rolled-over payday loans can trap a borrower in an endless cycle of payments that don’t reliably reduce the principal owed. Consolidating these loans into a single payment with a defined interest rate and end date helps borrowers see progress as they work toward paying off the loan.
Whether a borrower chooses to use a professional debt consolidation service or go straight to a lender for a personal loan to pay off debts depends on their credit status and whether they need help getting and staying out of debt.
A reputable debt consolidation service won’t ask for money upfront to start the process of helping a borrower learn about their options. Look for a company that uses certified debt specialists to help their customers understand all the options for eliminating debt.
It’s important to read online reviews from current and past customers to understand whether a specific debt consolidation company is a good fit. This helps borrowers evaluate the trustworthiness of the company.
After a free phone consultation that includes a complete debt evaluation with a debt expert, borrowers can decide whether to enter into a program that helps with outstanding debts for less than the total amount owed. For those who owe debts that are in collections or who want to eliminate credit card debt and close accounts, this type of debt elimination plan offers a single point of contact with a company that works with all creditors.
This company offers a variety of debt consolidation solutions including credit counseling, debt consolidation loans, and counseling about bankruptcy options. There are no upfront fees, and the company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They offer a personalized debt plan including potential savings to help borrowers decide the right course of action.
In some cases, it may be less expensive and faster to work directly with the creditor. For example, medical debts may be eligible for reduction or elimination if you meet certain income thresholds.
Before considering a consolidation loan for medical debts, contact the original creditor to find out if you may be eligible for financial assistance. Even if you can’t qualify to have your medical debts reduced by the doctor or hospital, ask about entering into a payment plan with regular payments that fit into your budget. Most medical facilities offer no-interest payment plans that will help you eliminate the debt without hurting your credit.
Tax debts may also be eligible for a low-interest payment plan through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), depending on your income level and financial situation. Compare the interest on a payment plan through the IRS before paying off tax debts with a consolidation loan.
Many people use consolidation loans to pay off credit cards. They secure a lower interest rate, a monthly payment that is the same throughout the term of the loan, and a defined end date. Borrowers who use consolidation loans to pay off credit cards should be 100% sure that they can resist the temptation to use those cards while they are paying off the loan. Even though closing accounts could hurt FICO credit scores, if the temptation to max out credit cards is too great, it’s better to cancel the cards.
One advantage of using a reputable debt consolidation company to help evaluate debt consolidation options is having access to a debt expert that can help solve the spending and budgeting problems that led to high levels of debt.
Without actionable solutions to money problems, borrowers are likely to find themselves in worse shape with new debt in addition to monthly payments on their consolidation loan.
Having a lot of debt is stressful. When researching consolidation companies, it’s crucial to take the time to find an organization that’s reputable, has great customer reviews, and has a long history of helping consumers get out of debt.
Be wary of consolidation companies that are new to the marketplace, make big promises, or require a deposit or funding fee upfront. Before turning over personal information to any debt consolidation organization, check their BBB ratings and reviews. Look for online reviews from customers who have completed the debt consolidation process.