Often there are so many loans that it is simply impossible to deal with all of them separately. In this case, some resort to debt consolidation.
First of all, it is worth noting what debt consolidation is and in which case it can be helpful. When a client consolidates their debt, all of their debts from one or more banks are combined into a single account. Following such an operation, the loan’s interest rate is often decreased. Debt consolidation is often used in debt restructuring.
After consolidation, the payer does not need to monitor the debt balance and make timely payments to various banks. The borrower can clearly see their total debt, repayment dates, and accrued interest. Their credit and budget can benefit from consolidating debt into a single, manageable payment, but there are some drawbacks.
While debt consolidation can result in cheaper monthly payments, it can also temporarily damage one’s credit score. Obviously, consolidation does not mean all financial troubles are gone, so one may still find out that I need a loan urgently to repay already existing debts. Two popular debt consolidation strategies are getting a balance transfer card or a debt consolidation loan.
In this article, we are going to discuss some of the potential effects that debt consolidation with a personal loan or balance transfer credit card may have on your credit, as well as some more debt consolidation approaches.
Using a Personal Loan For Debt Consolidation: Pros and Cons
In comparison to a balance transfer card, this debt reduction strategy typically requires a lower credit score for approval. Since it is an installment loan, it can also help you improve your credit mix if you previously only had credit cards. If you transfer credit card balances to an installment loan, a personal loan can consolidate multiple payments into one, simplifying your finances and enhancing your credit by reducing how much of the credit limits you are using.
Naturally, there are several flaws in this approach. If you spend up the newly available space on credit cards, it could result in even more debt. Missed payments will harm your credit if you get overextended and unable to pay. If you don’t comprehend the APR, you could end yourself paying excessive fees to borrow money. The loan may also feature a prepayment penalty that would force you to stick with a set payment schedule.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Debt Сonsolidation With a Balance Transfer Card
The need to take out a loan can arise for anyone. As a recent survey shows, during the pandemic, in most cases, people used personal loans to cover basic needs such as hospital bills or home repairs. This has benefits and drawbacks.
First and foremost, you might be able to obtain a cheaper interest rate (typically for a predetermined period of time), including a 0% APR for people with exceptional credit. Unlike a loan, payments are more flexible. Additionally, there would be no prepayment penalty if you choose to consolidate your debt with a balance transfer card.
However, if you utilize a lot of the new card’s credit limit, your score may initially decline due to high credit use. If you don’t pay off the debt before the introductory rate expires, interest can be due.
Although these two approaches are widely used, there are other ways to consolidate debt. These are a debt management plan, a home equity loan, and a 401(k) loan. Of course, these methods also have their strengths and weaknesses.
Using a Debt Management Plan
Credit score damage can result from canceling credit cards or negotiating to pay less than the entire amount owing, but visiting a credit counselor and enrolling in a debt management plan have no immediate impact on your score. When a DMP is active, but not once the plan is finished, it is recorded on your credit report.
One of the biggest advantages of this strategy is that you nearly stop receiving phone calls from creditors or debt collectors and may finally leave debt in the past. However, if you are having difficulties making payments on secured debts like a mortgage or auto loan, if your income is insufficient to meet basic expenses like food and electricity, or if you wish to keep using credit cards, then this choice is definitely not the best for you.
Home Equity Lines of Credit
Home equity loans and lines of credit (HELOCs) often have lower interest rates than credit cards. Another advantage is that, unlike credit card interest, interest paid on home equity loan products may be tax deductible. However, if you default on a loan secured by your home, you run the possibility of foreclosure. If the value of your home declines, you can owe more on it than it is worth. You must also take the possibility of 10-year or longer repayment terms into account when choosing a HELOC. Additionally, bankruptcy makes it simpler to erase credit card debt.
Debt Consolidation With a 401(k) loan
The interest on the loans is often equivalent to the prime rate plus one percentage point, making them more affordable than credit cards. Additionally, using a 401(k) loan doesn’t affect your credit score, and you pay interest to your own account. A 401(k) loan, on the other hand, can seriously impede your retirement savings. Tax penalties and punishments are also risks. It’s also vital to keep in mind that credit card debt can be wiped more readily through bankruptcy. Apart from all the aspects mentioned, the loan itself doesn’t deal with the possible causes of your debt accumulation.
Overall, debt consolidation can go a long way in helping you deal with financial difficulties. However, it is not a panacea. If you choose the wrong approach or do not take into account some vital factors, you can not only leave your problem unresolved but also harm your budget.