Imagine you had $5,000 worth of credit card debt with an APR of about 25%. Over 36 months, the monthly payment on the debt would be approximately $240 and you would pay a total of $2,500 in total interest. If you were to consolidate this debt into a new loan with an average APR of 17% over 36 months, the total amount you pay toward interest would drop to around $1,700 and your monthly payment would come down to $200. In this scenario, the lower the APR on your new loan, the less you will pay toward interest over time.
Credit repair companies can help with the process of disputing and re-disputing accounts when you might become simply too frustrated to continue on your own. Just like we choose everyday to pay for services we prefer not to try alone (i.e. filing taxes, plumbing, auto repair, etc.), you may also decide that it’s worth the money to hire a credit repair professional.
No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report. You can ask for an investigation —at no charge to you — of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. Some people hire a company to investigate for them, but anything a credit repair company can do legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost. By law:
If you decide to consolidate your debts, you should get organized as soon as you can. Make a list of all the different credit cards and loans you wish to consolidate. Once you do that, find your most recent billing statements and write down the exact balance you owe for each debt. Once you do this, add up all those balances to determine the total amount of outstanding debt you have. That number - the total amount of outstanding debt you're currently carrying - is what you'll need for a debt consolidation loan.
Under federal law, credit repair companies are prohibited from requesting or requiring payments upfront until they can document that they have achieved actual improvements to a client's credit report or score. Up until then, consumers shouldn't have to pay a cent. The companies involved in the new settlements allegedly sought to evade this requirement by requiring payment of a sliding series of fees — an initial "consultation" charge typically costing $59.95, hundreds of dollars for a "set-up fee" and monthly fees of $89.99.
Debt consolidation loans were a good choice for more than 60 percent of respondents, who indicated their loan helped them lower monthly payments, improve their credit score, or lower or eliminate debt. However, 58 percent of respondents spent two hours or less researching debt consolidation loans and 59 percent of respondents didn’t compare preapprovals from two or more lenders.