It’s important to remember that credit repair is usually one step (often the first one) you take when you want to build your way to a better credit score. So while the repair process may only take 3-6 months, the time it takes to rebuild your credit can take longer. It can take up to a year or more to achieve a good credit score, depending on how low you start.
If you are looking at estimated APR and monthly payments, you should already have narrowed down the list of potential lenders on where you qualify. Of course, you want to get the best deal out there. However, understand that this is limited by certain factors, largely by your FICO score. What you will have now is a range of your potential interest rates you can accrue based on the information you gathered. Assuming you have the same loan term, the higher the interest rate is, the higher your monthly payments will be.
Longer credit histories typically, though not always, can mean improved scores. What it does show to prospective creditors is that you are able to manage lines of credit in a responsible manner for a significant amount of time. Note that when creditors receive your credit report, it does not just show length of account, but average balance, as well as how often payments are late or missed. The graph below looks at the age of your credit history versus the average score for that amount of time.
For example, if you decide to start using your credit cards again after you’ve paid them off, your credit utilization rate may skyrocket and sink your credit rating. Similarly, if you fail to pay attention to the due date on your debt consolidation loan and miss a payment, your payment history may take a big hit as well. So, make sure you’re prepared to address all the challenges you have with credit when you take out a debt consolidation loan; otherwise, your credit rating may pay the price.
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.
Debt consolidation does not always require a loan. Debt consolidation loans combine various accounts with outstanding debt into one new account through the lending of a new loan - which pays off all of the other accounts. Technically, your various accounts are paid off at that point, but you now owe money on a new loan (hopefully with a better interest rate and lower monthly payment). However, certain debt consolidation plans do not involve loans and function more like debt settlement or debt relief programs. These programs seek to reduce the total amount you owe through negotiation with creditors. This option is similar to the loan option because you would only have to make one monthly payment - which would go into a secure account used to negotiate balances with creditors.
Your loan funds are automatically deposited right into your bank account, which gives you the flexibility to choose which bills, credit cards, or loans you want to pay down. Depending on your bank, it may take a few days for the money to appear in your account after your loan is issued. Consolidating debt reduces the amount of bills to keep track of each month, and it can save you money if you lower your rate and avoid credit card fees.
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.