For many people, consolidation reveals a light at the end of the tunnel. If you take a loan with a three-year term, you know it will be paid off in three years — assuming you make your payments on time and manage your spending. Conversely, making minimum payments on credit cards could mean months or years before they’re paid off, all while accruing more interest than the initial principal.
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In debt restructuring, an existing debt is replaced with a new debt. This may result in reduction of the principal (debt relief), or may simply change the terms of repayment, for instance by extending the term (replacing a debt repaid over 5 years with one repaid over 10 years), which allows the same principal to be amortized over a longer period, thus allowing smaller payments.
If you're considering debt consolidation, it's best to carefully evaluate your financial situation and research your options to determine if it's the right solution for you. Before you begin, take a look at your free credit score to see where you stand and make sure to monitor it to track your progress and any changes as you work to pay off your debt.
For those with good credit, a personal loan from Marcus could have a lower interest rate than the one on your higher-interest credit cards and a lower rate means you can save money and pay off higher-interest credit card debt faster. Marcus rates are as low as 6.99% APR. Rates range from 6.99% to 19.99% APR, and loan terms range from 36 to 72 months — but only the most creditworthy applicants qualify for the lowest rates and the longest loan terms. These rates are fixed for the life of your loan. Learn more
2. Your creditors have no obligation to agree to negotiate a settlement of the amount you owe. So there is a chance that your debt settlement company will not be able to settle some of your debts — even if you set aside the monthly amounts the program requires. Debt settlement companies also often try to negotiate smaller debts first, leaving interest and fees on large debts to grow.
If you can’t get approved for one of these loans after trying a couple of lenders, you may want to talk with a credit counseling agency. These agencies can often help clients lower their interest rates or payments through a Debt Management Plan (DMP). If you enroll in a DMP, you’ll make one payment to the counseling agency which will then pay all your participating creditors, so even though it’s not technically a consolidation loan, it feels like one.
Using credit card balance transfers to consolidate your credit card debt is another way to save money on credit card interest and make progress toward paying down your debt. Here’s how it works. Take higher interest credit card debt and transfer the balance to a credit card that has a lower interest rate, preferably one offering zero-percent interest. For example, if you have $5,000 in credit card debt on a card with a 23.99% interest rate and you can transfer this debt to a 0% card (12-month introductory offer), you’ll save $1,200 over 12 months. Most credit cards charge a 3% balance transfer fee. In this case, that’s only $150: still worth filling out the application.
In that same scenario, if you paid an extra $50 a month, for a total of $250 a month, you would pay off the balance in 24 months at 15.24% APR and pay $805 in interest. At the higher APR of $29.96% you would pay off the balance in 29 months and pay $2,014 in interest. Paying just $50 extra a month could shave off 7 to 11 months of payments and save you quite a bit in interest.
Your APR will be between 6.99% and 24.99% based on creditworthiness at time of application for loan terms of 36-84 months. For example, if you get approved for a $15,000 loan at 6.99% APR for a term of 72 months, you'll pay just $256 per month. Our lowest rates are available to consumers with the best credit. Many factors are used to determine your rate, such as your credit history, application information and the term you select.
The National Debt Relief website is clean and customer-friendly. To start, you simply fill out their online form or call their dedicated debt help line at 1-888-919-1355. You'll discuss your financial situation with one of their certified debt counselors, who will walk you through a free debt analysis. Their staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and together you will create a plan to pay off your debts for less than you owe. Best of all, you can get started on your plan with no upfront fees.
Personal loans charge simple interest (as opposed to credit cards, which often have variable rates and sometimes have different rates for a credit card balance transfer and purchases on the same card) and they typically have a loan repayment term of three to five years. By consolidating your credit card debt into a personal loan, you’ll have a definite plan for paying off your old card debt.
Your credit counselor will negotiate with your creditors, who may agree to lower or eliminate fees, reduce interest rates and possibly even reduce the amount you owe. If you agree to the DMP, you will close your credit cards and give the agency permission to manage your accounts. You will send the counselor a single payment each month, and the counselor will pay your creditors. You just need to ensure that enough money is in your checking account on the date the agency withdraws the funds.