If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy, be aware that bankruptcy laws require that you get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within six months before you file for bankruptcy relief. You can find a state-by-state list of government-approved organizations at www.usdoj.gov/ust, the website of the U.S. Trustee Program. That’s the organization within the U.S. Department of Justice that supervises bankruptcy cases and trustees. Be wary of credit counseling organizations that say they are government-approved, but don’t appear on the list of approved organizations.
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.
When you pay off a loan early, you’ll save on interest. That’s good news for you, but bad news for the lender, as they lose out on the interest you would have paid if you continued to pay your loan on schedule. Some lenders offset this cost with a prepayment penalty fee. This fee is usually a percentage of the remaining balance, or the interest charged for a certain number of months.

Dozens of lenders participate in LendingTree‘s personal loan shopping tool – including all of the lenders listed on this page. With one online form, LendingTree will perform a soft pull (with no impact to your score) and match you with multiple loan offers. This is our favorite (because it is easy) way to get multiple offers from lenders in minutes and consolidate debt. For people with excellent credit, you could get an interest rate below 6%. For people with less than perfect credit, there are many lenders participating with more liberal acceptance criteria.
Once you have your credit reports, read through them completely. If you have a long credit history, your credit reports might be several pages long. Try not to get overwhelmed by all the information you're reading. It's a lot to digest, especially if you're checking your credit report for the first time. Take your time and review your credit report over several days if you need to.
Lightstream is a great choice for people with excellent credit. It is actually part of a bank you might have heard of, SunTrust Bank. They were recently set up to offer some of the best personal loan rates available, and they are delivering. The interest rate you are charged depends upon the purpose of the loan.Interest rates can be as low as 3.99% for a new car purchase (and LightStream does not put their name on your title. They just put the cash in your bank account, and you can shop around and pay cash for the car). Home improvement loans start at 4.99% APR with AutoPay , making them cheaper and easier than a home equity loan.

All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details.
Something to consider, though, is that the introductory rate will eventually expire. If you haven’t paid off the balance by that point you could be in for a surprise when the bill comes due. The interest rate on credit cards is almost always higher than the interest rate on a personal loan, so if something comes up and you can’t pay off the balance on time you’ll face a large expense.

If the balances on your credit cards had been high – over 30% of the maximum credit balance – paying them off with a debt consolidation loan can be quite beneficial. While not a hard and fast rule, utilizing more than 30% of your available credit on a credit card account is generally the point at which your credit card use will start to hurt your credit score. Therefore, paying those card balances off with a debt consolidation loan should be a big help to your overall rating.


You’re entitled to a free credit report if a company takes “adverse action” against you, like denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment. You have to ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice includes the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company. You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft.
The best things in life are free. It won’t cost you a dime to speak with one of our experts about your situation. We’re upfront about the results you can expect from our program. If we don’t think you’re a good fit, we’ll tell you. We have an amazing word-of-mouth reputation, and we plan to keep it that way. The last thing we want is a disappointed client. Why not reach out to us today?

Don’t believe anyone that says you can’t pay down your debts on your own. It’s entirely possible to muster the financial resources required to shrink and eventually eliminate your balances for good. To do this, you’ll need to pay down your debts one at a time. You could begin by working on the credit card with the highest interest rate while still making the minimum payments on your other credit cards. This is called the debt stacking method and is favored by many experts because over the long run it will save you the most money. However, it can take a long time to pay off a high-interest credit card especially if it has a big balance. You will have to persevere and just keep chipping away at it.
If you consolidate by taking a personal loan to pay off your credit cards, your utilization ratio could go down, causing your score to go up. For this to work, you need to leave the credit card accounts open after you pay them off. But your credit rating could go down if an underwriter has cause for concern that you could easily rack up new debt on the open and now balance-free credit cards (many people do).
Debt consolidation is the process of combining several debt accounts into one in order to make monthly payments more manageable. On the other hand, debt management does not involve any formal debt restructuring. Instead, debt management plans aim to reduce monthly payments and/or interest rates for your various accounts where possible. But your accounts will stay separated.

Peer-to-peer marketplace lenders, such as LendingClub, Prosper (a lending partner), Upstart and Peerform, connect individuals with money to lend with applicants who need a loan. They typically offer more flexible lending options and have lower requirements for approval. Often, they have some of the lowest starting APRs available. However, they also have some of the highest APRs.

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.

There are many other ways to get rid your debt. Home equity loans and cash out refinances are a way to get a loan using your homes equity as collateral. Debt management and debt settlement programs are available to help reduce your debt or interest and provide a single payment. However, these programs come with high fees and will hurt your credit score in the process.
Could get hit with a penalty APR or deferred interest charges if you miss a payment or don’t pay off the balance during the promotional period	Home can be foreclosed on if you default on payments	Can negatively impact credit. Some companies may use predatory practices. May have to pay taxes on the amount of debt reduced or fees with the debt relief company

As adults, we’re expected to know how to manage our money, but who teaches us? Rather than just trying to figure things out for yourself, join one of our friendly, interactive financial or budgeting workshops and webinars. We’ll talk about how to create a realistic, personal budget that works, how a spending plan can help you avoid debt problems, how to use a credit card but not end up in debt, and learn many more helpful money management tips.
"SunTrust Advisors" may be officers and/or associated persons of the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: SunTrust Bank, our commercial bank, which provides banking, trust and asset management services; SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a registered broker-dealer, which is a member of FINRA and SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency, and which provides securities, annuities and life insurance products; SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered investment adviser which provides Investment Advisory services.
Will your debt consolidation loan diversify your “debt portfolio?” If so, then just taking out a debt consolidation loan may give your credit score a slight boost. One of the five factors used to determine your credit score is credit mix, a measurement of the different types of debt you’re currently holding. Lenders like to see that borrowers can qualify for and manage different types of debt. If your previous debts have been limited to credit card accounts, getting a debt consolidation loan may help to raise your credit score a little. However, the key word here is “little,” because credit mix only accounts for about 10% of your overall credit score.
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.
DIY debt settlement requires two other things. First you need to be very good negotiator as you will be up against people that are very shrewd and very experienced in debt negotiating. Second, and here’s the really tough part, you need to have the cash on hand to pay for any settlements you are able to negotiate. The overwhelming majority of credit card companies will refuse to negotiate with you unless you can immediately pay for the settlement in cash – either via a wire transfer or certified cashiers check.
But sometimes, particularly among the growing number of single parents calling the helpline, the problem is simply that they do not have enough money to live on since their relationship broke down. The replacement of the Child Support Agency with the Child Maintenance Service three years ago put the emphasis on parents agreeing a financial settlement and many callers appear resigned to receiving no financial support from their ex-partner.
Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 16.490% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.74% APR to 14.60% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of February 15, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.74% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.51% plus 4.28% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

Your best bet is to call and ask to see if they can put you on a payment plan where you can afford to pay them (even if it’s just the bare minimum a month) or if they will possibly settle for less money. A tip: anything that has your name attached (banking account,utility bills, credit cards, anything you finance, student loans, medical bills, car loans, home loans, your apartment, etc) that you miss a few payments on or don’t pay at all can be reported to the credit agencies and sold to collections companies.
Home equity is what’s left when you subtract what you owe on your house from what it’s worth. Some people think of home equity as how much they’ve paid off on their mortgage. Depending on how much equity you have in your home, you might be able to borrow against it and use the cash you get to pay off debt. There are mortgage rules in Canada about using your home equity to consolidate debt.
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3 Special Rate Advance: The special advance rate is variable for twelve (12) months and is applicable only for an initial advance of $25,000 or more taken under the variable rate option at the closing of the line of credit, to be disbursed immediately upon expiration of any applicable rescission period, and is valid for applications received by 4/30/2019 and that close by 6/14/2019. An initial advance of $25,000 or more taken at closing under this option shall accrue interest at the Special Rate for a period of twelve (12) months from the date of disbursement of the advance. Special Rate Advance may not be used to pay off or pay down any SunTrust debt. Advances under this option subsequent to the Special Rate Advance, as well as any promotional balance remaining upon expiration of the Special Rate, shall accrue interest at the standard rate(s) and margin(s) as described below and in your Equity Line Agreement. Offer subject to change without notice at any time.
Your credit score is separate from your credit reports. And your reports don’t include your scores. But, thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can get free copies of your credit reports from the three main credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion—once a year. You can access all of your free reports thru AnnualCreditReport.com. Or get your reports directly from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
If the credit bureaus or creditor cannot verify or prove an item of debt in your credit history, then that item has to be deleted from your report. Also, if certain letters are not answered within the time limit set by law, then the items specified therein have to be removed. Unfortunately, credit bureaus have been known to routinely disregard dispute letters, especially if sent directly by consumers. In most cases, our escalated attorney-backed letters, crafted with years of experience, elicit a response from the rating agencies or the creditors. Disputed or audited items that are successfully deleted from your credit history should be reflected in your new credit rating report. In any event, credit repair is a time-consuming step-by-step and item-by-item process which requires patience, persistence and determination. That’s why we have an entire investigative research team
Debt relief services include credit counseling, debt management and debt settlement. These services can help you strategize how to pay off your debt, create payment plans with creditors or negotiate on your behalf to settle accounts for less than the full balance. While some debt relief services can be helpful, working with debt relief companies can be risky, as scams are common in this industry.
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