Top Debt Consolidation Loans In September 2023 – Is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking and Debit Card Services The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members of the FDIC.
Getting a loan can happen gradually. Maybe open a credit card or two and take out a personal loan. Drop student loans and car payments; before you know it, you have more debt than you can handle.
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When you consolidate your loans, you combine multiple loans into one payment. You can do this by getting a new loan or credit card with enough credit to cover all of your existing debt.
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Consolidating your debt can be an effective strategy to streamline your debt repayment process. Instead of remembering to pay off multiple loans with different repayment terms and interest rates, you can focus on one payment. You also pay interest which can be fixed or variable depending on how your loans are combined.
The goal is to secure a new loan or credit card with a lower interest rate than your current payment, allowing you to lower your monthly loan payments.
When trying to get a consolidation loan, you will find that different lenders have different qualification criteria. However, some of the main factors for lenders are:
Assuming you’re not adding to your debt, debt consolidation can be a smart strategy to help you pay off your debt faster and get ahead financially.
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There are several options for debt consolidation. Each method has its own advantages and risks. Before you embark on any debt consolidation plan, make sure you know how it works.
Best for: Those with a good credit score (690 or higher) who can pay off the transferred loan in full before the interest rate kicks in.
Balance transfer credit cards allow you to transfer your balance from one credit card to another. Ideally, transfer your balance to a card with a 0% annual percentage rate (APR).
A balance transfer credit card can be a useful method of debt consolidation if your credit score allows you to qualify for the best transfer promotions. Many offer 0% APR for a fixed term, anywhere from 12 to 20 months. The best-case scenario is to pay off the ported loan in full within the 0% APR period to avoid paying interest.
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When comparing balance transfer credit card promotions, check your credit score to find out which cards you may qualify for. Then review the terms of the promotional offer to find out what the APR is and how long you can take advantage of the interest-free period. Before opening a balance transfer credit card, consider the following:
Asking these questions will help you avoid paying by opening a balance transfer credit card. If you’re confident you can pay off your balance in full within the promotional period, a balance transfer may be right for you.
Debt consolidation loans can be used to pay off student, health, and credit loans. If you can get approved for one with a better interest rate than what you’re currently paying, you may be able to reduce your debt by paying a lower interest rate.
If you pay 20% interest on your current loan but get approved for a debt consolidation loan with a 15% APR, you’ll save more money in the long run.
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Additionally, you generally need a good credit score to qualify for the benefits of this method. If your credit score is 600 or lower, it’s still possible to find a lender willing to work with you, but you may have trouble matching the best rates.
Shop and compare different loan offers. Pay attention to the return policy, fees and general terms of service so that you know the conditions in advance.
Debt Management Plans (DMPs), not to be confused with a debt settlement program, help you pay off your debt by working with your creditors for you. DMPs, offered by nonprofit credit counseling companies, are designed for people dealing with unsecured debt, such as credit cards or personal loans — they don’t cover other types of debt, such as student loans, car loans or mortgages.
A debt management program can be helpful if you don’t want to take out a loan or carry a credit card balance. Ideally, the debt management company you work with will be able to negotiate a lower interest rate or waive certain fees.
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If you choose this method, you must stop submitting new loan applications, as adding new loans during the program may disqualify you.
Best for: Homeowners with equity in their home who have the discipline to pay off the loan in full.
If you own a home and have equity in your home, you can get a home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC). Just keep in mind that your home is being used as collateral for the loan.
Because your home secures the loan, you’ll likely earn a lower interest rate than you would with a personal loan or balance transfer credit card. However, you can also lose your home if you don’t keep up with your loan payments, which is one of the riskiest methods of debt consolidation.
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When considering this method, make sure your total debt is less than half of your pre-tax income. This can help you determine how much risk you should take. If it’s more than half, you’re unlikely to put your house on the line unless you can get it back.
If you participate in an employer-sponsored retirement account, such as a 401(k), you can borrow that money as a loan and use the money to pay off your debts. In general, you can borrow up to 50% of your balance for up to five years for a maximum amount of $50,000.
These loans usually have a low interest rate and the interest you pay is returned to your account. Unlike most other debt consolidation methods, no credit check is required, so it doesn’t affect your credit score.
Your loan amount and specific payment terms will vary depending on your employer’s plan. Be sure to read what your plan offers so you know what you’re eligible for.
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While this can be a debt consolidation method if you run out of options, it’s best saved as a last resort because it requires dipping into your retirement savings. If you are unable to repay the loan, the amount you borrowed may be taxed and you may have to pay a prepayment penalty.
Use mobile banking to keep your costs down while you work on paying off your debt. Adjusting the automatic transmission
Whether debt consolidation is right for you depends on your financial situation and the type of debt you have. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of debt consolidation before deciding if it’s right for you.
Debt consolidation can benefit individuals, depending on their circumstances. Do your research to find out what debt consolidation can and cannot do for you.
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While debt consolidation is smart for some, it’s not always the best option. Here are some alternative solutions that don’t require a credit card loan or balance transfer:
Now that you know how to consolidate debt, consider whether or not it can work in your favor. Responsible debt consolidation can help you save money, pay off debt, and improve your credit score, but it’s not a magic bullet. You still need a plan to pay off your loans in any way you choose.
Learn how to save more money to pay off debt faster and reach your financial goals.
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Rebecca Lake has been writing about personal finance and business for nearly a decade. His work has been featured on CreditCards.com, Credit Karma, Credit Sesame and other personal finance sites.
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How To Consolidate Student Loans
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