Consolidate Into One Payment

I have about 5 bills I would like to consolidate into one payment, worth about $25,000. Is it worth it for me to consolidate? D

I have about 5 bills I would like to consolidate into one payment, worth about $25,000. Is it worth it for me to consolidate? Does it affect your credit?

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Updated: Sep 18, 2014

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If you are seeking a debt consolidation loan, then generally speaking, a debt consolidation loan should not negatively affect your credit rating. Basically, a debt consolidation loan replaces one type of debt on your credit report with another; it does not increase the total amount of debt you owe. Since one of the major considerations used in calculating your credit score is your ratio of debt to available credit, and since a debt consolidation loan does not increase your debt, this type of loan should not harm your credit rating. In fact, since the debt consolidation loan will pay off other debts, leaving you with the same amount of debt but more available credit (the available credit on your old accounts), consolidation could actually improve your credit score.

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Another consideration, however, is that usually, you are not required to close credit cards or other accounts you pay off with a consolidation loan. The primary benefit to keeping older accounts open is to maintain the positive payment history you have built over the years. If you do decide to keep the accounts open, make sure that you do not charge up new balances. A common pitfall for consumers who consolidate debts is that they then charge their credit card accounts back up, leaving them with twice the debt they started out with. And in many cases, half of that debt is now secured by their home. If you are considering a debt consolidation loan, I definitely encourage you to get rid of most of the accounts you paid off with the consolidation loan so that you are not tempted to use the cards again and put yourself in a worse financial bind. You can keep a few of the accounts open for emergencies, and to maintain accounts with a long payment history on your credit report, but you should try to pay off any charges made on the accounts at the end of each month, if at all possible.

Credit scoring is too complicated for me to tell you specifically how a particular action will affect your credit score, but I do not think that taking a debt consolidation loan would have negative effect on your score, or your ability to obtain a new mortgage loan. In fact it may help you improve your credit score. The better your credit score, the lower the interest rate on your new mortgage should be, so if you do decide to consolidate, you should probably keep your oldest accounts with a positive payment history open, so that you can maintain their positive influence on your report, but you may want to close some of your newer account to prevent building up new balances.

If you are interested in a debt consolidation loan, you should check out the Debt Consolidation section of the Bills.com website at http://www.bills.com/debtconsolidation

If you want to explore other types of debt consolidation, I will give you some information on those alternatives as well:

Debt consolidation comes in many forms, so it is important that each consumer reflects on what their needs and concerns and financial situation is before signing up for any kind of debt consolidation program. The four primary concerns for most consumers are: i) monthly payment, ii) time to debt freedom, iii) total cost, and iv) the credit rating impact of the consolidation program. Be sure to evaluate each program, relative to your prioritization of these factors.

The main debt consolidation options include credit counseling, debt negotiation/debt settlement, a debt consolidation loan. Again, it is important to fully understand each option and then pick the solution that is right for you.

Credit Counseling

Credit counseling, or signing up for a debt management plan, is a very common form of online debt consolidation. There are many companies offering online credit counseling, which is essentially a way to make one payment directly to the credit counseling agency, which then distributes that payment to your creditors. Most times, a credit counseling agency will be able to lower your monthly payments by getting interest rate concessions from your lenders or creditors. It is important to understand that in a credit counseling program, you are still repaying 100% of your debts – but with lower monthly payments. On average, most online credit counseling programs take around five years. While most credit counseling programs do not impact your FICO score, being enrolled in a credit counseling debt management plan DOES show up on your credit report… and, unfortunately, many lenders look at enrollment in credit counseling akin to filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy – or using a third party to re-organize your debts.

Debt Settlement

Debt settlement, also called debt negotiation, is a form of online debt consolidation that cuts your total debt, sometimes over 50%, with lower monthly payments. Debt settlement programs typically run around three years. It is important to keep in mind, however, that during the life of your debt settlement program, you are NOT paying your creditors. This means that a debt settlement solution of online debt consolidation will negatively impact your credit rating. Your credit rating will not be good, at a minimum, for the term of your debt settlement program. However, debt settlement is usually the fastest and cheapest way to debt freedom, with a low monthly payment, while avoiding Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The trade-off here is a negative credit rating versus saving money.

Debt Consolidation Loan

Many people think first of a debt consolidation loan when seeking online debt consolidation. This option typically means a second home loan (or home equity line of credit) or refinancing your primary mortgage. In a debt consolidation loan, you exchange one loan for another. The most frequent form is taking out a mortgage loan, which carries a lower interest rate and is tax deductible, to pay off high interest rate credit card debt. It is important to be aware that shifting unsecured debt to secured debt can create a volatile situation, if there is ever a chance that you cannot afford the new mortgage payment you are now putting yourself at risk of foreclosure! In the case of a debt consolidation loan, most mortgages are 30 year loan, which means that the total cost and the time to debt freedom could be very high… but the monthly payment will be lower than other options and there is no credit rating impact.

Net-net: while there are many forms of online debt consolidation, many people with good to perfect credit who own homes should look into debt consolidation loans, while consumers with high credit card debt and poor credit may want to explore debt settlement or debt negotiation. However, each consumer is different, so find the online debt consolidation option that fits for you.

Bills.com makes it easy for you to apply, by following this link: https://www.bills.com/debthelp/debt

You can also submit your information on the Bills.com Savings Center, found near the top of all Bills.com pages, and we can match you with potential loan providers to discuss debt consolidation loans options that fit your needs. Also, if you visit the Bills.com Mortgage Resources page at http://www.bills.com/mortgage you can read more about mortgage loans and begin your search for a loan that fits your needs. I hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.

Bill

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