A debt consolidation loan is any type of loan you take out for the purpose of paying off other creditors. Ideally you want to find a loan with lower interest than what you are currently paying on your bills. However, even if you don’t lower your rates, you can lower your monthly payments by choosing a long term loan. The drawback of course is paying more in interest charges.
You can choose from a secured loan, usually backed by your home, or unsecured loan. Secured loans, including a home equity loan, second mortgage, and line of credit, will have lower rates and the tax advantage of writing off your interest payments. However, if you don’t have a home, you can still find relatively low rates with a personal loan.
You can also work with a debt consolidation program to lower your rates and consolidate your bills. This third party agency will negotiate lower rates with your creditors for a small fee. You also only make one monthly payment, letting the agency pay your bills from that sum. Some non-profit agencies also specialize in helping those with six or more months of late payments.
Before you sign up with these types of programs, be sure you have researched several agencies. Compare pay back dates, fees, and estimated monthly payments.
If you are confused about your options or just don’t have a plan for getting out of debt, consider visiting a credit counselor. As a non-biased person, they can explain your financial options. They can also discuss with you’re the pros and cons of each options, helping you find the best program for your unique situation.
Besides helping you to consolidate your bills, they can also help you develop a monthly budget and long term financial goals.