The second way to pay down credit card debt is called the debt snowball method. The financial wizard Dave Ramsey developed it. If you were to choose this method you would put your credit card debts in order from the one with the lowest balance down to the one with the highest and then put all of your efforts against paying off the one with the lowest balance.
Your credit history will significantly influence the interest rate quoted for your debt consolidation loan, as most lenders use risk-based pricing. With very good or excellent credit (a FICO credit score of 740 or higher), you will be in a better position to qualify for the lowest interest rate offered by a lender. With a lower credit score, you are a higher risk and will be offered a higher interest rate.
Debt management and debt relief are terms for programs that allow a company to manage debt repayment on your behalf. Typically, you’ll make a single payment to your debt management company, which can negotiate debts and monthly payments. The service provider will divvy up your payment to each of your creditors, often keeping part of it as a monthly administration fee.
If you are a careful money manager who fell into debt because of unusual circumstances (medical or veterinary bill, loss of employment or some other emergency) and NOT because you spent more on your credit cards than you could afford to pay off each month, then leave the accounts open. Doing so will help your credit score, because the amount of revolving debt you have is a significant factor in your credit score. Just be sure to put the cards away. Don’t use them while you pay down your debt consolidation loan.
Depending on your creditworthiness, you may be able to receive a lower interest rate on a debt consolidation loan than you are currently paying on your debt, saving you money on monthly payments and overall interest. Another option for lowering your monthly payment is with a long loan term. However, a longer loan term means you may pay more interest total.