Consolidate Your Credit Card Debt the Right Way

Understand the different Credit Card Consolidation Companies and how they work

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IN THIS ARTICLE:
  • No single credit card consolidation approach is right for all circumstances.
  • Once you choose a solution, shop around for the best company to work with.
  • Shop carefully so you don't harm your credit score.

Find the Best Credit Card Consolidation Companies


Credit card consolidation is one solution for paying off debt you took on. It’s easy to run up credit card debt. Think about it. You see something you want in a store. You wait in line, giving your credit card to the cashier, sign the receipt after the purchase is rung up, then leave with your new goodie in hand. Convenient, for sure. Each purchase may not be large enough to cause a debt problem, but that can be its own problem.

There is no one "best credit card consolidation company," just as there is no one best credit card consolidation solution. Finding the right solution depends on your specific goals, credit score, income and assets. Bills.com  will help you find the best debt consolidation solution for your situation and companies that provide those solutions.

Free Online Consolidation Recommendation

The Bills.com Debt Navigator, located just below. is a free tool that recommends the best debt consolidation option based on the goals and priorities you provide. 

To help you find the best credit card consolidation companies, Bills.com reviewed companies that provide debt consolidation loans and, debt management programs.

Credit Card Consolidation from Personal Loan Companies


A debt consolidation loan is one option for getting out of debt. When you consolidate high-interest rate accounts into a new loan at a lower rate, you can save money and get out of debt faster. It also gives you the convenience of making one monthly payment.


We looked at four personal loan companies to illustrate similarities and differences between them and to guide you toward the kind of firm that can provide the right loan for you.

Sofi

SoFi is a leading FinTech firm that offers unsecured personal loans. They are strictly an online lender. SoFi started by offering student loans and now also offer purchase and refinance mortgage loans and personal loans.

The SoFi business model is based on identifying financially responsible borrowers. SoFi loan underwriting places great emphasis on the borrower's monthly available cash flow, the income potential of the borrower's profession, and the level of education.

SoFi Personal Loans:

  • SoFi Interest rates range 7.24% to 15.74%, although you can get a 0.25% discount on your rate if you make your payments through an automatic withdrawal from your checking account.
  • The minimum loan amount is $5,000 in most states and the maximum is $100,000.
  • No fees of any kind: no origination fees, closing costs, or prepayment penalties.
  • Fixed-rate and Variable-rate loans available.
  • Prequalification done with a soft-pull of your credit, so it doesn’t affect your credit score. A hard pull is done with a full application.
  • Flexible payment dates on fixed-rate loans. You can set a payment date for the best time of the month for your cash-flow. 
  • Unemployment Protection may allow you to miss payments if you lose your job.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is a giant in the financial services industry. The company website describes them as is "a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets...Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 8,050 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 38 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States.

Wells Fargo Personal Loans:

  • Interest rates range from 7.49% to 20.49% APR
  • Loan Amounts are from a minimum of $3,000 to maximum of $100,000.
  • No origination fee or prepayment penalty
  • To qualify for a .25% discount, you must maintain a qualifying Wells Fargo consumer checking account and make automatic payments from a Wells Fargo deposit account.
  • Not available in all states.

Freedom Plus

FreedomPlus is an online lending platform that offers loans of $7,500-$40,000 to prime or near prime consumers for purposes of debt consolidation, home improvement, and other major purchases and expenses. FreedomPlus provides unsecured personal loans that let people more effectively consolidate debt with over $1.5 billion in loans funded from FreedomPlus applications.

Freedom Plus Personal Loans:

  • Interest rates range from 4.99% to 29.99% APR
  • Loan amounts from $7,500 to $40,000
  • Fast funding, as quickly as same day 
  • Direct payoff of current creditors available
  • Discounts offered for direct pay, having a co-applicant, and for retirement assets over $40,000 in value
  • Origination fees, though their lowest rate APR loans are lower than the lowest rate from other leading lenders that charge no fees.

Avant 

Avant is an online personal loan lender founded in 2012. Avant accepts borrowers with a minimym credit score of 580, making them a good option for orrowers 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

  • Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $35,000. 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.
  • Administration fee up to 4.75% of your loan amount 
  • Fast Funding
  • Avant approves borrowers with lower credit scores, emphasizing a comparison between their loans and payday loans
Shop Around to Find the Best Rate

Use the personal loans rate table immediately below to shop for the best rate you can find. If you limit your shopping to lenders who use only a soft a pull on your credit, you can comparison shop without harming your credit score.

Credit Card Consolidation from Consumer Credit Counseling Companies

Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) can help people struggling with debt. They offer budget and credit report review, as well as giving general financial advice. For people looking for a credit card consolidation solution, they offer a Debt Management Program (DMP). With one monthly payment, all the debts included in the DMP are paid from the credit counseling service. Many creditors, but not all, are willing to lower the interest rate they charge when a customer enrolls in a DMP. All charged a monthly service fee.

The different CCCS firms BIlls.com examined shared some features, including:

  • Accepting unsecured debts, such as credit cards, personal loans, and medical debt, including accounts in collection.
  • Accepted debts as low as $100.
  • Not accepting a promotional credit card during the time the card was in its promotional period, but would once the promotion ended.
  • Allowing clients to miss a payment during the program, but missing two could lead to termination, original interest rates returning.
  • Permitting clients to leave accounts out of the program that they did not want to include.
Shop Carefully

The interest rate one DMP offers you from a creditor isn’t necessarily the same as another. Shop around.

Here is information about 3 Credit Counseling Services, including some of the pros and cons about each one.

Money Management International (MMI)

Founded in 1958, with corporate headquarters in Sugar Land Texas, MMI is licensed to do business in every state in the US, Washington, DC., and US Territories. MMI has 43 physical locations throughout the US. Consumers can use MMI’s website and call them, instead of meeting at an office. Office hours vary based on location.

MMI is member of number of financial organizations, including the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), the National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER), the Home Ownership Preservation Foundation, and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). MMI is an approved housing counselor of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Money Management International Pros:
  • Online chat feature for people looking into their services.
  • They don’t require that you make next credit card payment and DMP payment the first month.
  • You can choose your own start date.
    Online client dashboard available to monitor account.
Money Management International Cons:
  • $39 set up fee.
  • If you miss two payments, you could be dropped from the DMP and all original interest reapplied.
  • Program proposal they provide before you sign up is an estimate.

American Credit Foundation

American Credit Foundation (ACF) is a non-profit that was founded in 1999 and is based in Utah, licensed to operate in 23 states. They have a sub-company called Debt Guru. American Credit Foundation's credit counselors are certified by the National Institute For Financial Counseling Education. They are an accredited member of the BBB, with an A+ rating, as of November 2018.

American Credit Foundation Pros
  • No set-up fee charged.
  • Their website claims that 95% of their clients reduced their interest payments by nearly $10,000.
  • They claim that the program quote they provide is not just an estimate, but actual costs you will pay.
American Credit Foundation Cons
  • They did not provide a written copy of their program quote in advance, so you can’t see the interest rates they will get from each creditor.
  • You have to make your next credit card payments and your DMP program payment the first month.
  • Website emphasized the DMP and did not provide a range of financial tips and tools.
  • No online client dashboard.

Take Charge America

Take Charge America (TCA) is a non-profit Consumer Credit Counseling Service that has been in business since 1987. Their headquarters are in Phoenix, Arizona. Take Charge America has helped over 1.6 million consumers, according to their website.TCA is licensed to operate in all 50 states and in US Territories, as of November 2018. They have an A+ rating with the BBB and are an accredited member, as of November 2018.

TCA's credit counselors are certified by The Association of Financial Counseling and Planning Education.

Take Charge America Pros:
    • Informative website with articles and financial calculators.
    • Offers help with student loan debt and housing debt, although neither debt can be included in a DMP.
    • Their website states that they are "the only credit counseling agency to have received the BBB Business Ethics Award, recognizing ethical business practices and integrity."
Take Charge America Cons:
    • $39 set up fee
    • You have to make your next credit card payments and your DMP program payment the first month.
    • No online client dashboard.
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