Ideally, you will use a financial product with a lower interest rate to pay off debts charging a higher rate. The reduction in interest will help you save money you would have been required to pay had you not consolidated your debts. It also saves money on late fees, missed payment penalties and other consequences you may face when you have a difficult time managing debt. Depending on the size of your debt and the difference between the two interest rates, your savings may be worth thousands of dollars.
If you get denied for a major credit card, try applying for a retail store credit card. They have a reputation for approving applicants with bad or limited credit history. Still no luck? Consider getting a secured credit card which requires you to make a security deposit to get a credit limit. In some ways, a secured credit card is more useful than a retail credit card because it can be used in more places.
Step 1: Tell the credit reporting company, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate. Use our sample letter to help write your own. Include copies (NOT originals) of any documents that support your position. In addition to including your complete name and address, your letter should identify each item in your report that you dispute; state the facts and the reasons you dispute the information, and ask that it be removed or corrected. You may want to enclose a copy of your report, and circle the items in question. Send your letter by certified mail, “return receipt requested,” so you can document that the credit reporting company got it. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.
If you plan to use a debt consolidation plan to address your outstanding debts, make sure that you don’t inadvertently damage your credit score in the process with simple mistakes. How you consolidate all your credit card debts can negatively affect your credit score. Borrowers often use balance transfers and move all of their credit card debt to a single card with a higher credit limit. However, in doing so, they may end up with a high credit utilization rate if they close the old accounts completely. For that reason, it makes sense to keep at least a few of the paid-off cards open, but be sure not to use them.
The idea behind the snowball method is that you would be able to get one of your credit cards paid off fairly quickly and would then have extra money available to begin paying off the credit card with the second lowest balance and so on. We’ve seen examples where people were able to pay off $20,000 in debts in just 27 months using this method. Dave calls it the snowball method because as you pay off each debt you gain momentum for paying off the next credit card debt much as a snowball gathers momentum as it rolls downhill. A similar debt payoff method is called the debt avalanche. Both plans try to accelerate paying off your debt. They both can work if you can stick with them and have the money needed to pay off your debt.
“One of the more concerning trends is the increased use of enforcement, particularly through the high court, by the water companies,” says Andy Shaw, one of the charity’s debt advice coordinators. “Historically we might have seen cases where clients had got behind with their water bills progressing as far as a county court judgment but no further. The water companies seem to have become more aggressive in their debt collection methods.”
Type of lending company. Debt consolidation loans are offered by private banks and peer-to-peer marketplace lenders. Traditional banks are typically more well-established but can have higher qualification requirements and costs. Often, traditional banks require a minimum FICO credit score of 600. Some have prepayment penalties and a 1 to 5 percent origination fee. It’s a good idea to look for lenders that offer no prepayment penalties or origination fees.
Opening several credit accounts in a short amount of time can appear risky to lenders and negatively impact your credit score. Before you take out a loan or open a new credit card account, consider the effects it could have on your credit scores. Know too, that when you're buying a car or looking around for the best mortgage rates, your inquiries may be grouped and counted as only one inquiry for the purpose of adding information to your credit report. In many commonly-used scoring models, recent inquiries have greater effect than older inquiries, and they only appear on your credit report or a maximum of 25 months.
For most respondents, a debt consolidation loan was a good choice. Twenty-eight percent were able to lower monthly payments using their debt consolidation loan, 27 percent lowered or eliminated debt and 9 percent improved their credit score. But debt consolidation loans weren’t a good choice for all respondents, as 9 percent accrued more debt, 5 percent paid more interest overall and 2 percent lost their collateral.