Frequently Asked Questions About Debt Consolidation
Credit card debt is a significant problem for millions of Americans these days. The typical consumer household has around three or more credit cards and a total of more than $15,000 in credit card debt. Making multiple monthly payments for all of these credit cards can result in missed or late payments, making the problem worse.
What is debt consolidation?
Debt consolidation is the process of combining your credit card debt into one single financial obligation instead of several different ones. Debt consolidation does not eliminate your debt. Instead it shifts your debt into a more manageable account with only one monthly payment.
What are debt consolidation loans?
Debt consolidation loans are one method of debt consolidation. Secured loans have easier qualifying requirements compared to other types of loans. For this type of consolidation loan, you put up something for collateral to secure the loan. In most cases, this is your house, but there are also secured loans that will accept high value jewelry, cars or other valuable assets as collateral.
Another type of debt consolidation program is one in which an account is set up on your behalf for you to deposit regular monthly payments. These funds are used to pay off your credit card accounts on your behalf by the debt relief organization.
What effect does debt consolidation have on my credit?
A significant benefit to credit card debt consolidation is that if your credit is still in relatively good shape, then you can retain your good credit rate by consolidating your debts. In many cases, people with overwhelming debt are having problems making regular monthly payments without being late.
Debt consolidation allows you to avoid those late payments by shifting your credit card payments into one monthly payment.
Even if your credit is shaky, you may be able to consolidate your debts. Once you pay off your credit card balances, this will be reflected on your credit report, and it should improve. Keep in mind that you will need to make your other debt payments on time and in full in order to continue to improve your credit rate. Credit reports have become more and more important in today’s economy. They can impact far more than your ability to obtain credit. Employers are now using them in the job application process and insurance companies use credit reports in determining policy rates. As a result, anything you can do to improve your credit, including debt consolidation will help you overall.
Will debt consolidation lower my monthly credit obligations?
In most cases, a credit card consolidation results in lower monthly payments. Consolidation programs usually have lower interest rates than credit cards. Additionally, credit card balances are considered short-term loans and are expected to be paid off in a short period of time, so payments are high. In contrast, consolidation programs are usually financed for a longer period of time, so your monthly payments are usually significantly lower than credit card payments.
Also, credit counselors are often able to negotiate lower interest rates and a reduction in the amount of debt you owe, making your payments lower in the process.
Will consolidation help me avoid bankruptcy?
For many people, debt consolidation helps them avoid further credit problems. Although debt consolidation does not eliminate your credit card debt, it does allow you to reduce your monthly payments and pay off credit card balances. For many people, lower monthly payments provides needed financial relief and allows them to more easily pay other financial obligations, such as a home loan, student loan or auto payment. All of this together helps many people avoid the burden of declaring bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy can have extremely long term effects. It will stay on your credit report for seven to ten years. Also, even if it has been several years since you declared bankruptcy, if you are able to secure a loan or credit, the interest rates of the loan will usually be much higher. Bankruptcy can also have an effect on other aspects of your life beyond credit. Since many employers look at credit reports as part of their background check process, certain jobs may be more difficult to obtain.
Is there a certification organization for debt relief organizations offering debt consolidation programs?
There are several different certification organizations for companies offering debt consolidation programs. If you are talking to a debt relief organization about this kind of program, find out if it belongs to the National Foundation of Credit Counselors, the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counselors or the National Association of Certified Credit Counselors.
Is debt consolidation limited to credit card debts?
Debt consolidation can be applied to many different kinds of debt. Although many people are struggling with credit card debt, other types of debt can be just as financially debilitating. Consolidation programs can be used for medical bills, accounts that have been turned in for collection and unsecured debts. However, in most cases, consolidation plans cannot be applied to auto loans, home loan mortgage obligations, IRS debts or student loans so be cautious of companies promising to help you with these types of debts through a consolidation program.
Using debt consolidation can be an excellent solution if you are having financial problems.
This type of debt relief solution does not eliminate your credit obligations. However, it may make them more manageable and allow you to avoid further financial problems.