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.
Many debt consolidation plans involve a new loan, and with any new loan there are risks. Make sure your debt consolidation loan has a favorable interest rate and a manageable monthly payment - or you may find yourself in the same situation you started out in. Debt consolidation loans also do nothing to lower the total amount that you owe your creditors - they simply move the debt to a new creditor.
“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.”
Most lenders offer rate quotes, which are soft inquiries on your credit and have no effect on your credit score. When you do a hard inquiry during the final approval process, it will be reflected on your credit report. However, if you have multiple hard inquiries within a 45-day period, it’s considered rate shopping and will only count as a single credit inquiry.
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.