Debt consolidation is when someone takes out a loan and uses it to pay other loans, often high-interest debts, such as credit cards and car loans. In a nutshell, yes, you can combine the full amount of multiple loans into a single loan. And having to worry about just one monthly payment can make all the difference in your budget. Plus, you may be able to save money by getting a lower interest rate.
A debt consolidation loan is a personal loan that is used to pay (or cancel) other debts. By using one loan to pay others, you consolidate several bills into one. Plans generally allow you to pay off your debts within three to five years, and could save you money overall and free up cash for other purposes. You may also be able to get a personal loan in a day or two and cover emergency expenses if you're struggling and don't have an emergency fund.
Achieving a lower monthly payment with consolidation has many positive aspects, but you should keep in mind that it could also mean that you'll stay in debt for longer, since everything you owe is included in a single amount. A bank or credit union may allow you to use your home as collateral for a larger loan if you have accumulated a large amount of mortgage equity over time. With a secured loan, such as a mortgage or car loan, you have to use your property as collateral and the lender can garnish it if you don't repay the loan. Lenders can advertise their unsecured personal loans as debt consolidation loans to attract customers looking to consolidate their debts.
This drop in credit rating is usually temporary, and your credit rating can recover quickly if you continue to make timely payments on your other debts and strive to maintain a low credit utilization rate. The opportunities available to you really depend on the type of loans you have and the repayment terms of your loan. If you are very cautious with your finances and can manage your expenses at 110%, then a personal loan may be a cheaper option. You can also use other types of loans to consolidate debts, such as a personal line of credit, a home equity loan, or a home equity line of credit.
All debt consolidation loans are personal loans, but not all personal loans are debt consolidation loans. If you don't want to compare lender-to-lender offers, you can use Experian CreditMatchTM to get personal loan offers based on your unique credit profile. I'm in favor of reducing interest rates, and if a loan or balance transfer can do that, great, you'll pay off your debt faster (and you'll pay less interest). However, if you need to make a major repair or home improvement, you may want to compare using a personal loan with a home equity loan or line of credit for this purpose.
Making card and loan payments could exceed the budget, nullify the credit rating benefits of reducing the utilization rate, and defeat the original purpose of the loan.