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Best Debt Consolidation Loan for July 2024

A debt consolidation loan can help simplify your life and save you money. Finding the best debt consolidation loan is a matter of matching your needs with the marketplace. At Bills.com, we have done the research and looked at debt consolidation lenders over a variety of factors, including rates, fees, repayment terms, and customer service. Our top recommendation is to check multiple lenders to find the loan that best meets your situation.
Betsalel CohenJul 12, 2024
Editor’s Note
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At Bills.com, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. While many of the products reviewed are from our Service Providers, including those with which we are affiliated and those that compensate us, our evaluations are never influenced by them.

Compare Debt Consolidation Loans

Best for borrowers with fair credit
Achieve Logo
FIXED APR
8.99 - 35.99%%
LOAN AMOUNT
$5K - $50K
MIN. CREDIT
620
Bills.com rating
SHOW DETAILS
Best for low rates
light stream logo
FIXED APR
2.49 - 19.99% with AutoPay
LOAN AMOUNT
$5K - $100K
MIN. CREDIT
660
Bills.com rating
SHOW DETAILS
Best for subprime credit card consolidation
Happy Money Logo
FIXED APR
5.99 - 24.99%
LOAN AMOUNT
$5K - $40K Loans are not currently offered in MA MS NE and NV.
MIN. CREDIT
640
Bills.com rating
SHOW DETAILS
Best for Large personal loans
sofi logo v1
FIXED APR
7.99% to 23.68% APR (with .25 % auto pay discount)
LOAN AMOUNT
$5K - $100K
MIN. CREDIT
None listed
Bills.com rating
SHOW DETAILS
Best for invitation only
marcus logo
FIXED APR
6.99 - 24.74%
LOAN AMOUNT
$3.5K - $40K
MIN. CREDIT
not disclosed
Bills.com rating
SHOW DETAILS
Best for Excellent credit
discover logo
FIXED APR
6.99 - 24.99%
LOAN AMOUNT
$2.5K - $35K
MIN. CREDIT
660
Bills.com rating
SHOW DETAILS
Fast funding
upstart logo
FIXED APR
6.5 to 35.99%. Average 5- year loan has an APR of 26.57%
LOAN AMOUNT
$1K - $50K Varies by state
MIN. CREDIT
No minimum
Bills.com rating
SHOW DETAILS
Best for borrowers with poor credit
avant
FIXED APR
9.95% - 35.99%
LOAN AMOUNT
$2K - $35K
MIN. CREDIT
600
Bills.com rating
SHOW DETAILS

What is a Debt Consolidation Loan?

A debt consolidation loan combines multiple debts, such as credit cards, personal loans, and medical bills, into one loan with a fixed, often lower interest rate. It simplifies your payments and can reduce the total cost of your debt, making it a smart choice for managing and paying down what you owe

Here is a brief explanation of the key terms around a debt consolidation loan:

  • Loan Amount: The amount you can borrow varies widely among lenders. Typically, debt consolidation loans start at around $5,000. However, some lenders like Upgrade are willing to offer loans as low as $1,000, catering to those needing smaller amounts. On the higher end, amounts can reach up to at least $35,000, with lenders like SoFi offering loans up to $100,000 for qualified borrowers, accommodating a broad range of debt consolidation needs.
  • Term: The term of your debt consolidation loan, or how long you have to pay it back, significantly influences your monthly payments. Generally, these loans span from 2 to 5 years. Yet, some lenders, such as Lightstream, extend options up to 7 years, offering more flexibility in managing monthly payments. It's important to consider that longer terms might lower your monthly payments but could result in higher overall interest costs.
  • Interest Rates and APR: The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is a critical factor to consider when comparing debt consolidation loans. It represents the yearly cost of borrowing, encompassing both the interest rate and any fees charged by the lender. The APR provides a comprehensive view of the loan's cost, assuming you do not repay the loan early. Opting for a loan with a lower APR can lead to significant savings over the loan's lifespan.

Check top debt consolidation offers now

What Interest Rate Can I Get on a Debt Consolidation Loan?

The interest rate on a debt consolidation loan is crucial because it directly impacts how much you'll end up paying back. Generally, these loans come with fixed interest rates, meaning your rate stays the same throughout the loan term, making budgeting easier. Remember, some lenders may charge administration fees upfront, which are considered in the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). The APR is a helpful tool for comparing loans as it includes the interest rate, fees, and loan term.

The average interest rate for a 24-month personal loan), as reported by the Federal Reserve in March 2024, hovers around 11.35%, but this can fluctuate based on economic conditions. Several factors influence the interest rates you might be offered for a debt consolidation loan:

  • Market Conditions: Economic trends can lead to fluctuating interest rates.
  • Location: Depending on where you live, local regulations and economic conditions might affect the rates available to you.
  • Loan Amount and Term: Generally, larger loans and shorter repayment periods feature lower interest rates. Debt consolidation loans are typically repaid within 2 to 7 years. Opting for a shorter term can reduce your interest rate but will increase your monthly payment.
  • Credit Score: Your credit score is perhaps the most significant factor. Those with excellent credit can expect the best rates, while a lower score may lead to higher rates.

Understanding these elements can help you gauge the interest rate you might receive and decide on the best loan term and amount for your situation.

Sample of debt consolidation loan interest rates by credit score

The table offers an idea of sample rates for a $10,000 debt consolidation loan for different credit rates.

Credit scoreRangeSample rates - Fixed APRYears to repay
Excellent720+Achieve: 8.17%3
Good660 - 719Achieve: 8.17%3
Fair620 - 659Lendingpoint: 19.49%5
Bad< 620OneMain Financial: 22.74%3

Source: Bills.com and EvenFinancial rate table March 2024. Please note that the rates provided are solely for illustrative purposes and do not represent actual loan offers.

Can I qualify for a debt consolidation loan?

Before approving your loan application, lenders want to ensure that you can consistently make your monthly payments. The three major qualifying factors they consider are your credit score, income, and credit history.

Credit Score: Most debt consolidation lenders require a minimum credit score. The higher your credit score, the easier it is to qualify for favorable terms. However, even with a less-than-perfect credit score, you may still be eligible for a personal unsecured loan, albeit with potentially higher interest rates.

Income: Lenders closely evaluate the stability of your employment and income. Some lenders have a minimum annual income requirement, while others analyze your overall financial situation by considering your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Your DTI includes your housing payments (mortgage or rent) and recurring debt payments (credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, etc.).

Credit History: Your credit report provides a comprehensive record of your past payment history. Negative records, such as judgments, bankruptcies, or tax liens, can not only damage your credit score but also make it more challenging to qualify for a loan.

Some lenders may allow you to add a co-borrower with a stronger financial profile if you don't initially qualify for a loan due to low income or a low credit score. Alternatively, secured loans, which require collateral, may be an option. Even if you do qualify for a debt consolidation loan, it's essential to carefully consider whether this is the best debt consolidation option for your specific situation, especially if you have bad credit or are experiencing financial hardship.

Debt Consolidation Loans – Pros and Cons

Debt consolidation loans are a great alternative, especially if you qualify for a low-rate loan. However, there are other debt consolidation solutions, so make sure that it is a good fit.

Pros
  • Simplifies your bill-paying schedule.
  • Saves money with a lower interest rate, if you have good to excellent credit
  • Boosts your credit score

Cons

  • Doesn’t immediately reduce your debt
  • This leaves you with the risk of running up new credit card debt
  • Need a good credit score for the best rates.

Debt Consolidation Loan Tips

Navigating the process of securing a debt consolidation loan can be challenging, but these four tips can help you find the best solution for your unique situation:

1. Protect Your Credit Score: When shopping around for rates, submit multiple loan requests. Most lenders will only perform a soft credit pull for pre-approval, which won't impact your credit score.

2. Improve Your Chances of Qualifying: Before applying for a debt consolidation loan, take steps to improve your credit score by paying off small debts and reducing your debt-to-income ratio. If you have a less-than-ideal credit history, consider options like adding a co-borrower with a stronger credit profile or exploring secured loans.

3. Crunch the Numbers: Carefully analyze whether a debt consolidation loan will genuinely save you money in the long run. Ensure that the lower interest rates, combined with any administrative fees, will result in overall savings compared to your current debts. If you have extra cash on hand, a debt snowball plan might provide similar or even better results.

4. Assess Affordability: Consolidating debt into a single loan can simplify your repayment process, but it's crucial to ensure that the new monthly payment is affordable for your budget. Avoid consolidating debts into a large, unmanageable monthly payment. If the new payment seems too high, explore alternative options like a long-term home equity loan or debt consolidation alternatives that lower your monthly obligation.

By following these tips, you can confidently navigate the debt consolidation loan process and make informed decisions that align with your financial goals and capabilities.

Debt consolidation loan alternatives

If you have bad credit, a debt consolidation loan is not your only option. Three factors to consider when looking for an alternative to a debt consolidation loan with bad credit are the amount of debt you have, the amount you can afford to pay each month, and the level of your financial hardship.

Here are some bad credit debt consolidation loan alternatives that you can consider to improve your situation.

Home Equity Loan: If you own a home, have sufficient equity, and wish to lower your monthly payment, consider a home equity debt consolidation loan. You need to have a credit score of about 580. Also, your total loan to value ratio cannot exceed 80%. For example, if your home is worth $300,000, then your current mortgage and the additional new home equity loan cannot exceed $240,000. (Some lenders will go up to 85% LTV).

The following are not credit-based solutions.

Snowball Debt Payoff: If you can afford to make a significant monthly payment, but don’t qualify for a short-term debt consolidation loan, consider the debt snowball method. You pay off your debt quicker by adding to your current payments. Even though you don’t get a lower interest rate, you pay off your loan quicker and save money by making additional payments on your principal.

Debt Management Plan: If you can afford your minimum payments but are looking to reduce your interest rates, a debt management plan might help. A debt management company negotiates with your creditors (mainly credit card companies) to lower interest rates and fees for a monthly fee. You make one consolidated payment into a special account. The debt management company then transfers the appropriate sum to each creditor. Similar to a bad credit debt consolidation loan, your pay off your debt in about five years.

Debt Settlement: If you are in financial hardship and can't afford your monthly payments consider a debt settlement program. To qualify, you will need to show hardship. Otherwise, your creditors will most likely not negotiate an agreement. You stop paying your creditors, and your credit takes a hit. Your creditors potentially continue with collection efforts, including collection letters, calls, and a possible lawsuit. You make monthly payments into a special account in your name. When there are sufficient funds, the debt settlement company then negotiates a settlement. Your total costs might be around 75% of your original debt. 

Bankruptcy: A more extreme debt consolidation loan alternative is bankruptcy. If you are in undue hardship, you can discharge your qualifying debts through Chapter 7 and hold on to protected assets. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a court-supervised payment plan, whereby you pay back your creditors over four to five years. Bankruptcy protects you from lawsuits during this period. Bankruptcy is complicated, and it is recommended to consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.

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