My husband and I are newlyweds and do not own a home. We have a combined credit card debt of $29,400. We would like to take out a debt consolidation loan to pay off the credit cards and have one monthly payment. We have good credit, but combined with our age and our high balances, we cannot secure a loan for such a high amount. What are our other options?
I doubt you will find a loan that fits the parameters outlined in your question due to the amount of money you wish to borrow and the fact that you have no assets to offer as security for the loan.
Most debt consolidation loans require the borrower to own a home, since these loans are essentially home equity loans used to consolidate unsecured debts at a lower interest rate. Since you do not own a home, a secured consolidation loan is probably not an option for you.
Before going into detail, I advise you to seek a debt consultation to see if you can get help with your debts. Bills.com has many pre-qualified debt counselors who can help you sort out your problems, if you want a free debt consultation with one of Bill's approved debt help partners, click here for a debt relief savings quote.
Unsecured consolidation loans exist, but due to your age and debt amount, it is unlikely that you will be able to find an unsecured loan with an interest rate low enough to save you money. In fact, some people searching for unsecured consolidation loans find that the interest rate on the consolidation loan will be higher than the rates they are currently paying on their credit cards. Thankfully, there are several other options available to consumers in your position to assist them in resolving their credit card debts.
If you can afford to pay more than your minimum payments, the best option may be what I call a "strategic payoff" plan. In this plan, you would rank your credit cards and personal loans based on their interest rates. Then, you would pay as much above the monthly minimum payment as possible on the highest interest card until it is paid off, while continuing to meet the minimum payments on the other debts.
Once the highest interest card is paid off, you would move to the second highest rate card, and down the line until all of your unsecured debt is paid off. This plan will not only allow you to pay off your debts relatively quickly and save you a lot of money in interest, but it should also help you in building your credit score, which will help you in establishing your new life as a married couple.
If you cannot afford a repayment plan as described above, a couple of different options exist that may interest you. One option to consider is a Consumer Credit Counseling Service, or CCCS. CCCS companies offer numerous services, such as financial counseling and budget planning, as well as Debt Management Plans (DMPs). In a DMP, the CCCS would arrange a new payment amount with each of your creditors, usually based on a reduced interest rate. You would then make a single monthly payment to the CCCS which would distribute the funds to your creditors, based on the new payment amounts.
One benefit of CCCS is that it should not seriously damage your credit score. However, it may have a negative impact on your ability to obtain a loan, as many lenders view enrollment in a CCCS program the same as filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
There are a few additional drawbacks to CCCS. First, depending on your creditors, it may not be able to reduce your monthly payments enough to improve your financial situation. Second, the average DMP takes around five years to pay off your debts, so you must be willing and able to commit to a long-term repayment plan.
You may also want to consider the services offered by debt settlement firms. Rather than making monthly payments to your creditors, these programs negotiate lump sum settlements with your creditors, frequently reducing your debts by 50% to 60% of your principal balances. These programs usually take only 2-3 years to complete, so this is a good option for many people to rid themselves of debt in a relatively speedy manner. In many cases they can also reduce your monthly payment toward your debt.
Many consumers prefer debt settlement programs to CCCS, as debt settlement programs tend to be significantly shorter than CCCS plans, and the monthly payments in debt settlement are usually lower. There is one major drawback to debt settlement programs, though -- they will damage your credit significantly while in the program and for at least a year or two afterward. However, if you are unable to afford to pay your creditors currently, the hit to your credit may be worth the benefit of ridding yourself of credit card debt.
Depending on your income and amount of debt, one of the options I have described above may be able to help you. I encourage you to read What Are My Debt Consolidation Options? to learn more about these and other options available to you.
I hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.