* More on that note: it’s important not to be swayed by any firm’s claim they will “work faster than any other company.” The practice of spamming letters and notices to reporting agencies en masse is ill-advised, and is a sure-fire way to have your letters & disputes outright ignored. This is the case whether you’re doing your own credit repair, or having a company do it for you. Any legitimate credit repair firm will work methodically, yet at the quickest rate possible, to maximize reporting bureau response-rates.


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Many people choose to consolidate their debt because they have several different accounts with debt on each and are having trouble keeping up with the monthly payments - either with the amount that's due or the confusing nature of different payments and due dates each month. Others choose this route because they can negotiate a better interest rate or minimum monthly amount.

The lenders who partner with NerdWallet follow accepted industry standards for installment lending, with interest rates no higher than 36% (widely considered the upper limit of affordability) and consideration of your credit history and ability to repay. NerdWallet has reviewed their application processes and verified their underwriting guidelines.

Often times, after debt consolidation, consumers will find themselves accumulating credit card debt again very quickly. If they do not change their spending habits, the amount of monthly cash flow created with debt consolidation could dwindle quickly. Those who have never learned to budget and manage their money will find that very little will change for them with a debt consolidation loan. They will likely continue to overrun their monthly income and rely on credit cards to make up the gap.
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.

Check whether you’re applying for a secured or an unsecured loan: If it’s a secured loan (backed by an asset such as your car) and you fail to make your payments, the lender can repossess the item. Unsecured loans, on the other hand, aren’t backed by this kind of collateral, but often come with higher interest rates. Make sure you consider the trade-offs before you apply for the loan.
Disclaimer: NerdWallet strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions. Pre-qualified offers are not binding. If you find discrepancies with your credit score or information from your credit report, please contact TransUnion® directly.
We've done the research so you don't have to. In many cases, our technology works directly with financial institutions to match you to the offers from our partners that are right for you, which means you may be more likely to qualify for the products that are Matched for You. Our list is more personalized than other sites because we review partner requirements before showing you offers. We find your best matches using your credit profile and your spending habits. Also, we don't rank the credit card offers by how much we get paid, we rank based on what's best for YOU.

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.
If you've already used up your free credit reports for this year, you can order your credit reports directly from the credit bureaus for a fee. The bureaus all offer a three-in-one credit report that lists all three of your credit reports side-by-side. The three-in-one credit report costs more than a single credit report, but less than the combined price of purchasing your three individual credit reports.
While your credit score may seem like a complicated, arbitrary number, it is actually calculated based on five core factors: your payment history, credit utilization, the age of your credit accounts, the mix of your credit accounts, and your history of applying for credit. They are not equally weighted, and this information can be slightly different among the various credit bureaus.
Hint: If you pay a credit card off on time regularly, your issuer will likely see you as a good credit risk and increase your credit limit. Don’t however start charging more. Simply charge the same basic amount. Doing so will keep your utilization lower! Say you started with a $2,000 limit and charged just $200 a month, you had a 10% utilization. If your limit is raised to $4,000 and you continue to charge just $200 a month, your utilization is now just 5%.
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.

Debt management. Debt management is a service offered by credit counseling companies. Credit counseling services work with customers and creditors to create a plan for managing debt. With this plan, the agency negotiates to make paying down debt easier for the customer, usually by lowering interest rates or forgiving late fees. The credit counseling service will take payments from you and use your payments to pay off your debt according to the new schedule. For every payment you make, the credit counseling service receives a percentage from the creditor.

If your debt is from student loans, you should consider student loan consolidation. Student loan consolidation allows you to combine multiple student loan payments into a single one. Under certain circumstances, such as extending your student loan term or reducing your interest rate, you can save money on student loan payments with student loan consolidation.
Credit cards can be easy to get into trouble with because after you make a payment, unless you’re maxed out, you can use your credit card again. Low interest credit cards are no exception. Before you apply for a low rate credit card to consolidate other debts, make a free, confidential appointment with one of our Credit Counsellors and look at other debt consolidation options. To learn more about consolidating debt with credit cards, click here.
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One of the biggest pitfalls of debt consolidation is the risk of running up new debt before the consolidated debt is paid off. When you finish paying off credit cards with a consolidation loan, don’t be tempted to use the credit cards with their newly free credit limits. If you think you might, close the accounts. You may have heard that doing so could hurt your credit score, and it might. But you can recover from credit score damage much more easily and quickly than you can recover from crushing debt.
One benefit to consolidating with a Marcus loan is that you’ll know exactly when your debt will be paid off, which could help keep you on track. Consolidating your debt could help with financial discipline, but consolidation works best if you combine it with a plan to stay out of debt (e.g., changing your spending behaviors and cutting spending where you can).
The main thing that you should also be looking at is consumer watchdog sites. No matter how good you think a lender may be, it’s always important to make sure that you have a look at their customer service record. A lender might have great rates and fees, but they’re not worth working with if they have a long history of disappointing their customers. Also, checking these watchdog sites can help you tell if a company is acting fraudulently.
When you apply for and then obtain your debt consolidation loan, you may notice a slight drop in your credit score immediately afterward. Every time you apply for new credit, a lending institution pulls your credit report to help it decide whether to grant you a loan. New credit inquiries comprise approximately 10% of your credit report, and each new inquiry can potentially have a negative impact on your overall credit score.
You have the right to dispute any information in your credit report that's inaccurate, incomplete, or you believe can't be verified. When you order your credit report, you'll receive instructions on how to dispute credit report information. Credit reports ordered online typically come with instructions for making disputes online, but you can also make disputes over the phone and through the mail.
Borrowers often use debt consolidation loans to address multiple outstanding debts. If you’re thinking about debt consolidation, one important consideration is the loan’s impact on your credit score. Using debt consolidation to pay down debts can often be beneficial to a borrower’s credit score. However, there are pitfalls, and you could end up lowering your credit score if you’re not careful.

Hint: If you pay a credit card off on time regularly, your issuer will likely see you as a good credit risk and increase your credit limit. Don’t however start charging more. Simply charge the same basic amount. Doing so will keep your utilization lower! Say you started with a $2,000 limit and charged just $200 a month, you had a 10% utilization. If your limit is raised to $4,000 and you continue to charge just $200 a month, your utilization is now just 5%.


While the Internet can be a wonderful thing it is also the home of some real scoundrels. As an example of this there was until just a few years ago a number of very dishonest debt settlement companies online. They made grandiose promises, collected big upfront fees, closed up without providing any services and then reopened a few months later under different names. While the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on many of these fly-by-night operations there are some still lurking out there.
Getting negative and inaccurate information off of your credit reports is one of the fastest ways to see an improvement in your scores. Since credit bureaus have to respond and resolve a dispute within 30 days (there are a few exceptions that may extend this to 45 days), it’s a short timeline. Especially when consumers want to buy a house, get a new car, or open up a new credit card soon and don’t have the time to wait to build good credit in other ways.
Lenders and others usually use your credit report along with additional finance factors to make decisions about the risks they face in lending to you. Having negative information on your credit report or a low credit score could suggest to lenders that you are less likely to pay back your debt as agreed. As a result, they may deny you a loan or charge you higher rates and fees.
Rates for these loans are also relatively low. For example, if you opt for a one-year loan, rates start at 8.74% APR. Be warned: The longer your term length, the higher the minimum APR. If you instead opt for a six-year loan, rates instead start at 11.74% APR. At some point, you may need to reassess whether the interest rate you’re receiving is really lower than your current debts’ interest rate.
Your payment history is the most important factor in your FICO credit score and accounts for 35% of most scores. VantageScore doesn’t provide percentages, but the percentages used are likely similar to FICO’s. And even just one late payment can drop your scores significantly. Having a good payment history is critical to maintaining healthy credit accounts.
Lender preapprovals can help you identify the best loan offering, comparing rates and terms from lenders who are willing to extend you credit. But 59 percent of respondents didn’t get a preapproval from more than one lender, and of those, 37 percent didn’t get any preapprovals at all. Just over 40 percent of respondents got preapprovals from more than one lender, including 18 percent who obtained preapprovals from more than four lenders.
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