A second way to get debt under control and ultimately paid off is with a debt consolidation loan. If you own your home and have some equity in it you might be able to get either a home equity loan or a homeowner equity line of credit (HELOC). You would then use the proceeds from the loan to pay off all of your other debts. You would then have only one payment to make a month, which should be considerably less than the sum of the payments you are now making. The reason for this is that either one of these loans would have a much lower interest rate than the average of the interest rates you’re now paying. If you’re paying an average of 15% or even higher on your credit card debts and were able to consolidate them into a variable rate home equity loan, your interest rate could drop to 4% or less. And the interest on an interest-only HELOC might be even lower.
A debt management plan is offered by a credit counseling agency. It’s similar to debt consolidation in that you’re making one payment, but instead of paying a creditor directly, you pay the agency who disburses payments across your creditors. The agency will try to work with your creditors in an attempt to secure more favorable terms. Payments are usually made on a monthly basis for three to five years.

You can get rid of credit card debt in several different ways. Debt consolidation loans are one way. You can also take out a home equity loan (or a cash-out refinance) from your mortgage lender, or you can open a new credit card and transfer the balances over. The latter might come with a zero percent introductory interest rate, giving you several months or more to pay down your balance interest-free.
If you don’t own your home or if you don’t have much equity in it the alternative would be to get personal or unsecured loan. These are called unsecured loans because they don’t require you to use any asset as collateral to secure them. These loans typically have higher interest rates then secured loans and can be more difficult to get if you’re already having a big problem with debt.
Happily, consumer protection laws now require credit card issuers to disclose the precise length of time that the "minimum payment plan" takes to work for each customer. When you get your next credit card bill, look for the box that says something like "If you make only the minimum payment on this balance, you will pay a total of 'X' dollars and take 'Y' years to pay off your balance."
You should think about a debt consolidation loan if the high interest rates on your credit cards are making it difficult to make a dent in paying down the balances. The interest rates on most debt consolidation loans are lower than typical credit cards, enabling you to focus on paying down your debt more effectively instead of racking up interest expenses. If you're having trouble keeping track of multiple outstanding debt payments each month, debt consolidation may be a good choice for you as well. That single monthly payment really helps make managing your overall debt much less time-consuming.
We made the following tips as practical as possible to give you both the structure of a plan and a clue about how to actually stick to it. Knowing what to do and actually doing it are two very different things, after all. We also explored how long the hands of time will have to turn before you can put bad credit behind you, hopefully once and for all.
When you apply for credit, it results in a hard credit inquiry on your credit report. And any hard inquiry into your credit slightly dings your scores. As hard inquires fade into the past, they have less impact. A year is generally when a hard inquiry begins to stop hurting your credit scores. Bottom line: Apply for new credit only when needed. Don’t be lulled by the offer of a discount to open a new charge card at virtually every store you shop at.
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.

Debt settlement is a process of negotiating a full and final settlement with creditors to satisfy a debt balance. Companies such as National Debt Relief collaborate with consumers to reach a settlement that is acceptable to both parties. While it is not an easy or fast process, and it will have a negative effect on your credit, it does have the ability to completely eliminate your debt problem and save you from some of the pitfalls of debt consolidation.


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.
Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
You can learn more about debt consolidation laws to make sure you’re protected. If you decide to work with a debt settlement company it’s important that you choose one carefully. National Debt Relief is accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating and belongs to the American Fair Credit Council, which is the watchdog of the debt settlement business. In order to be a member of this Council, we are pledged to treating our customers transparently, honestly, ethically and fairly.
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.
Not all forms of credit are actively bad, and many folks are able to use debt as a responsible means of augmenting their purchasing power. When you're dealing with a million competing priorities, however, it can be tough to keep your finances straight. If your expenses are rising faster than your income, you can only keep up this dance for so long.
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.

Some debt relief companies and lenders offer to consolidate federal and private loans together into one new loan to lower your monthly payments or interest rate. Don’t do it. Consolidating private and federal loans turns it into a private loan, which means you will lose the federal repayment benefits and protections of your federal loans, such as deferment and forbearance, income-based repayment plans, and loan forgiveness. 
They may be willing to waive some of the late penalties or spread the past due balance over few payments. Let them know you're anxious to avoid charge-off, but need some help. Your creditor may even be willing to re-age your account to show your payments as current rather than delinquent, but you'll have to actually talk to your creditors to negotiate.
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.

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you.
Services provided by the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: Banking products and services are provided by SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. Trust and investment management services are provided by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company. Securities, brokerage accounts and insurance (including annuities) are offered by SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a SEC registered broker-dealer, member FINRA, SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency. Investment advisory services are offered by SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered adviser. GFO Advisory Services, LLC is a SEC registered investment adviser that provides investment advisory services to a group of private investment funds and other non-investment advisory services to affiliates. Mortgage products and services are offered through SunTrust Mortgage, a tradename for SunTrust Bank, and loans are made by SunTrust Bank.
Improved credit score: Your credit score may increase with a debt consolidation loan, Ulzheimer notes. “You’ll be converting score damaging revolving debt into practically benign installment debt. As long as you don’t charge up your cards again you’ll be happy with your new scores.” By taking out a new loan and leaving consolidated accounts open but unused, you will have more total credit available. This results in a lower credit utilization rate, which can increase your credit score.
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