Lower your interest rate: This is where you have to run the numbers to see if debt consolidation makes sense for you. What’s the average interest rate you’re paying on your debt? If it’s quite high (which is likely if you have a lot of consumer debt), you may benefit from consolidating under better terms. Just remember to only use a personal loan if the interest rate is lower than the one you are already paying.
First of all, aside from fees, you might also want to look at penalties. Almost all lenders have penalties for missing or late payments, so it’s important to make sure the fees from your lender aren’t extortionate. Next, you’ll want to see the type of repayment options available through the lender. It’s typically much easier to work with a lender that provides electronic repayments, as you can set up automatic payments that ensure you don’t miss a deadline.
With most lenders, you are able to complete a preapproval to check your rate based on your creditworthiness. A preapproval only triggers a soft inquiry on your credit. With preapprovals, you are able to shop around and find the best rate available without hurting your credit. Once you’re ready to close, the lender will complete a hard pull, but some lenders require a hard pull simply to find out what rate you will qualify for.
Your credit plays a bigger role in your overall financial well-being than many people realize. Your credit score and your credit report are seen as markers of your responsibility with money — and ones that nearly all lenders and financial institutions take seriously. Whether you’re looking to buy a car or a house, start a business or even get that dream job, a strong credit score will take you a long way toward realizing your goals.
Your loan balances also affect your credit score in a similar way. The credit score calculation compares your loan current loan balance to the original loan amount. The closer your loan balances are to the original amount you borrowed, the more it hurts your credit score. Focus first on paying down credit card balances because they have more impact on your credit score.
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Debt consolidation may be a good option if you’re dealing with a manageable amount of debt but just feeling overwhelmed by the number of creditors. One good indicator of when debt consolidation is a good idea is if your debt doesn’t exceed 50% of your income. If your debt exceeds 50% of your income, debt consolidation alone may not be enough to help whittle down your total debt.
If your credit rating is impeccable and you have found the perfect loan, you may find their payment process is indirect and very democratic. Is this still a viable option? You should always consider the accessibility and convenience of your lender. There are other concerns in your life besides settling your debt. If your chosen loan becomes a burden instead of making your life easier, you are better off with another creditor.
Seek help if you want it. You can dispute credit report errors yourself, but for some people, the process is stressful. If you feel overwhelmed, you can hire a credit repair company or law firm to help. Note that a professional credit repair firm will charge a fee for its services. A good credit repair company will never promise a “300-point jump in your scores!” In fact, that’s illegal. Instead, the company should be upfront about what they can do and will take payment only after they’ve helped resolve your situation.
In some cases we will file separate charges with the Federal Trade Commission and Bureau of Financial Protection against each Credit Bureau and each individual creditor. This procedure relies on using the required legal language and then holding the creditors and credit bureaus responsible by filing appropriate charges and providing the requisite evidence that the credit bureaus and creditors had notice but were negligent in following the law.
Private student loan consolidation refinances your student loans. You can combine federal and private loans into one payment. Unlike federal student loan consolidation, private student loan consolidation interest rates are not based on your current interest rates. Instead, your financial and credit history are used to determine your interest rate. If you’re able to reduce your interest rate, you can save money on your student loans with consolidation. With private student loan consolidation, federal student loan benefits no longer apply. However, some private student loan consolidation lenders have options for deferment and forbearance.
“Working with my local branch I gave them my ‘wish list” of debt consolidation items and credit issues that I needed to get taken care of to increase my credit score and reduce my monthly financial debt. I did not want a long loan or to have to pay a lot in interest. Not only did they get me my ’wish list” they were able to offer me a reduced length payment plan that took off 1/3 of the interest. Fabulous customer service, quick response, understanding and very friendly. I know I can count on One Main Financial for my future. Thank you!!!”3
5. Make a plan to avoid new debt. A debt consolidation loan can wipe the slate clean and allow you to start fresh with zero balances on credit cards and other credit commitments. Although it may be tempting, avoid using your newly cleared accounts to shop or manage household expenses. You don’t want to create new debt that you’ll have to pay on top of your debt consolidation loan.
We've done the research so you don't have to. In many cases, our technology works directly with financial institutions to match you to the offers from our partners that are right for you, which means you may be more likely to qualify for the products that are Matched for You. Our list is more personalized than other sites because we review partner requirements before showing you offers. We find your best matches using your credit profile and your spending habits. Also, we don't rank the credit card offers by how much we get paid, we rank based on what's best for YOU.
If you are considering using the equity in your home, you should do the proper due diligence to determine if it is economically feasible and wise to roll credit card debt into your home mortgage. A few calculations to compare the interest you will pay utilizing different consolidation methods will give you a clear picture of the right scenario for you.
Another downside of getting a personal loan with Tower Federal Credit Union is that there’s no way to know how much money you can take out without applying for the loan first. That’s because the credit union will offer you a range of borrowing limits based on your credit score and ability to pay, which it determines after you apply for a loan. This could be inconvenient if you go through all the hassle of applying for a loan only to find out the loan amount won’t work for you.
When shopping for a debt consolidation loan, you should watch out for red flags including aggressive sales representatives, guaranteed approvals and quick-fix promises, as well as requirements such as upfront payments before loan approval or access to bank accounts for automatic withdrawals. “No lender should charge you upfront before you get the loan … and you certainly shouldn’t send money with a wire transfer or prepaid card,” Detweiler cautions.