- 7 min read
- Bad credit debt consolidation loan lenders charge high rates
- Comparison shop to find the best loan
- Never pay a fee in advance for a loan
How to Find the Right Bad Credit Debt Consolidation Lender
When you are carrying debt, each bill that comes in can be stressful. Not paying the balance in full means you are paying interest, and some credit cards have rates of 20 % or higher. Even if you never miss making your monthly payment on time, seeing the balance on your statement, and knowing bills from other creditors are coming your way, can cause your blood pressure to rise. If you are carrying debt from month-to-month, It makes sense to look for a solution that will improve your situation.
You might think, “If someone loaned me enough to pay off all my debts, at a better interest rate, I would save money and be able to dig out this hole. Making one payment would simplify my life, too.”
That is how a debt consolidation works. You borrow enough to pay off your current debts and make one monthly payment to the company that gives you the loan.
The catch is that you have to qualify for a debt consolidation loan. And the loan needs to have a lower interest rate than your current debts, improve your cash flow with a more affordable monthly payment, or solve a crucial life problem, in order for the loan to benefit you.
The higher your debt and the harder it is to pay all your bills, the more you need the loan. However, sometimes in life, the more you need something, the harder it can be to get.
Credit scores are a key factor that personal loan lenders use to determine whether to lend to you and what rate you will get.
Many people struggling with debt have seen their credit scores drop as their debt levels grow. The lower the credit score, the harder it is to qualify for a loan. If you do qualify for a bad credit debt consolidation loan, the higher the interest rate your loan will be.
What is Bad Credit?
FICO scores are the most common credit scores used by lenders. FICO scores range from 300-850.
A basic breakdown of FICO scores is:
- Excellent: 740-779
- Very Good: 700-739
- Good: 670-699
- Fair: 640-699
- Poor: 600-639
- Very Poor: <600
If you have excellent or very good credit, many lenders will compete for your business. Not so if you have bad credit; the options for a bad credit debt consolidation loan are far fewer.
If your credit score is below 640, debt consolidation loan options narrow significantly; If your score is below 600, there are even fewer lenders who will work with you.
Find a Lender Using the Personal Rate Table Below
You can find lenders that are licensed to offer loans in your state and receive a no-obligation rate quote, by entering your Zip Code and estimated credit score on the personal loan table below. Using this causes no impact on your credit score.
Be Clear About Your Goal in Getting a Loan
Bad credit debt consolidation loans exist, but if that is the only loan you can get, you need to be extra careful. Double-check that you can afford the payment, that the loan saves you money, lowers your monthly payment, or fills some life need that is so urgent that solving the problem is worth paying through the nose.
From High Costs to Extremely High Costs
The costs of some bad credit loans are extremely high. For example, there are bad credit debt consolidation loans with interest rates as high 155% APR offered by NetCredit.
Using an example from the NetCredit site, a typical loan in California would be for $4,421, with an interest rate of 84%. The loan would be repaid in 38 monthly payments of $338. The borrower is paying back $12,844.
It is painful to borrow money at this high a rate, but if you take out bad credit loan, you are not necessarily making a bad choice. You only take this type of loan if your need for cash is great. Who can argue with paying for a car repair, if not having a working vehicle would cause you to lose your job or if it is the only way to pay for an important medical procedure? These kinds of problems pop up all too frequently for people scraping by, who haven’t built a reasonable Emergency Fund. As expensive as they are, there may be no better alternative.
If you are considering applying for a high interest loan, it is crucial that you fully understand your options, weigh them, and make the best choice possible.
Comparison Shop Wisely
Rates and fees differ from lender to lender. If you restrict your shopping to lenders who do a soft pull of your credit report during the pre-qualification, then you can comparison shop without hurting your credit score.
Bad Credit Debt Consolidation Loan Lenders
Here are some bad credit debt consolidation loan lenders to consider:
OneMain Financial has been in business for over 100 years but has changed ownership. At one point, CitiFinancial owned it. Springleaf bought it in 2015. OneMain has more than 1,600 branch locations nationwide, located in 44 states. OneMain works in all states other than Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont, as well as Washington D.C. You can start the OneMain borrowing process online. If approved, you need to come into a local branch to verify documents and discuss options. OneMain Financial's target customer is one who has a lower than average credit score. The result is that OneMain's lowest interest rate of 16.05% on an unsecured loan (as of December 2018) is higher than the lowest rate from many personal loan lenders. That is less important to you than who is offering you the best loan. OneMain's looser requirements around credit score mean that they are a good source to check out if your credit score is below 640.
One Main Financial Personal Loans
As of December 2018, OneMain Financial loans:
- Range from $1,500 - $30,000 Have interest rates from 16.05% - 35.99% APR.
- Come with repayment terms are of 36, 48 or 60 Months.
- OneMain charges an origination fee for their loans, taken out of your loan proceeds before you get them
- OneMain Financial offers unsecured and secured loans, so you may be required to offer collateral to qualify.
Avant is an online personal loan lender founded in 2012. Avant accepts borrowers with a minimum credit score of 580, making them a good option for borrowers turned away from other lenders due to credit scores.
Avant has made over 600,000 personal loans, totaling over $4 billion. Avant offers a streamlined process where consumers can check their loan options without affecting their credit, apply for a loan, and submit all documents electronically.
Avant Personal Loans
Avant offers personal loans, as of December 2018, with:
- Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $35,000. The minimum loan amount can vary by state.
- Interest rates range from 9.95% to 35.99% APR.
- Loan repayment terms range from 24 to 60 months.
- An administration fee up to 4.75% of your loan amount
- Fast Funding
NetCredit targets very specific customer: a borrower with bad credit or no credit and a need for cash that is so great that the high costs that NetCredit charges are still worth it to a borrower. Their website states, "our eligibility and customized personal loan offer will be determined by looking at your broader financial picture—not just your credit score."
The fact that NetCredit lends to borrowers that other lenders turn down is not a bad thing. However, you should only work with NetCredit if more affordable options are not available.
NetCredit Personal Loans
NetCredit offers loans, as of December 2018:
- With interest rates from 34% to 155% APR.
- From $1,000 to $10,00.
- With loan repayment terms from 6 months to 60 months.
- With a loan origination fee of 0% to 5% of the loan amount. This fee is taken from the loan off the top, at the time your loan funds.
- Operates in 14 states in the USA. You can see the list of states here.
To qualify, you may need to provide proof of:
- Income, with a $20,000 yearly minimum requirement
- An active checking account
LendingPoint is worth checking out if you are a borrower with a credit score in the range of 600-680, what they call and have trademarked as the NearPrime™ borrowers. The LendingPoint site says that it works with borrowers with "credit scores in or near the 600s." It isn't clear if LendingPoint will approve you if your score is under 600, but they want to be in contact with you. If your FICO is under 600, they may have some good information for you on what you could do to raise your score and get a loan from them.
LendingPoint Personal Loans
- LendingPoint offers personal loans in 43 states with:
- Interest rates from 15.49% APR to 35.99%.
- Loan size from $2,000 to $2,5000
- Repayment terms of 24 to 48 months
- An origination or other fees from 0% to 6%, depending upon your state of residence.
Bad Credit Debt Consolidation Loan Alternatives
If you are turned down for a debt consolidation loan, are offered one with a payment you are not sure you can make each month, or if the costs are so high they outweigh the benefit, then you should look at alternative solutions.
If you are struggling with high interest credit card debt, look into a Credit Counseling Service's Debt Management Program.
If you need a significantly lower monthly payment to afford any debt relief solution you are considering, look into debt settlement.
You can use our free Debt Navigator tool, below, to find the right approach for your situation, by providing your priorities and goals. There is no effect on your credit from using the Debt Navigator.
Dealing with debt
If you are struggling with debt, you are not alone. According to the NY Federal Reserve total household debt as of Quarter Q4 2023 was $17.503 trillion. Student loan debt was $1.601 trillion and credit card debt was $1.129 trillion.
A significant percentage of people in the US are struggling with monthly payments and about 26% of households in the United States have debt in collections. According to data gathered by Urban.org from a sample of credit reports, the median debt in collections is $1,739. Credit card debt is prevalent and 3% have delinquent or derogatory card debt. The median debt in collections is $422.
Each state has its rate of delinquency and share of debts in collections. For example, in Georgia credit card delinquency rate was 5%, and the median credit card debt was $390.
While many households can comfortably pay off their debt, it is clear that many people are struggling with debt. Make sure that you analyze your situation and find the best debt payoff solutions to match your situation.