If you have multiple balances on different credit cards and you’re wondering how to consolidate credit card debt, look no further! To consolidate your credit card debt, there are three different paths you can choose:
- Credit card
- Debt management
Consolidate Credit Card Debt
It’s easy to sign up for reward cards with different stores because it takes a quick credit check and using them multiple times can help you build up points to use as discounts. Unfortunately, as humans do, we go a little crazy with the ability to spend more money than we actually have. Before you know it, you have hundreds of dollars spread across multiple credit cards. With your minimum monthly payment and all the different finance charges, it could take forever to pay off each individual card.
Consolidating multiple balances can provide stress relief as well as monetary relief. When consolidating your cards, you have to figure out which consolidation option is best for you:
- Another credit card
- Personal loans
- Debt management
Whatever you may choose, it will leave you with one payment versus a handful of others. The option that is best for you will have to be up to you, but here are some steps to figure out how and the break down of the options you have.
Check Credit Reports & Scores
Before you make any decisions, check your credit report for accuracy. You never know what kind of error there can be, and if there is one, it could prevent you from qualifying for debt consolidation help. You can check your credit report from one of the three major agencies:
You can get one free report from each agency every year. That gives you three reports throughout the year.
Knowing How to Consolidate Credit Card Debt
There are several safe and smart ways to consolidate your credit card debt. Some strategies might be greater than others, but you could be limited in options based on your credit score.
It may seem counter productive to open up another credit card, but it is the first option that most people turn to. If you have good credit, this might be a good option for you. You’ll have the option to look for another card that has a low interest rate. This way, you can transfer high interest balances to the single card that has a lower APR. It helps you save in finance charges.
Another perk for having good credit will be the options for cards with a low balance transfer fee and low interest credit card. There are also deals that credit card companies have like 0% APR for 12-18 months, but you will have to commit to paying off the card within the time frame you’re given.
A personal loan can be another option for you if you have good credit. Personal loans offer simple interest compared to the variable interest credit cards can give you. With typical payment plans from 3-5 years, you’ll be set with a definite plan to pay it off.
The only catch is you’ll need excellent credit to get a low APR. If you don’t have good credit and are on the lower end, a personal loan might not be a great option for you.
You may still be able to get a loan regardless of your credit score if you get an auto title loan. At LoanMart, we help those in need of financial help by using the title of their vehicle as collateral for a loan, as well as their monthly income to determine how much they may receive1. If you are considering a loan to consolidate your debt, you can learn more about our title loans on our resource blog!
If you think you’re making little to no progress in repaying your credit card debt, or you think you have a severe debt problem, you may benefit from talking to a credit counseling agency about debt management. You make a single payment to the credit agency who then pays each of your card lenders. Some lenders even lower your interest rates on your balances if you participate in a program. It can typically last from 3-5 years.
Do Your Math
Credit card consolidation might save you money in the long run, but it’s not free. All banks have balance transfer fees, and eventually promotions end. You have to calculate whether the costs will outweigh the benefits and take into consideration if you plan on paying off the entirety of your card before the promotion ends. Some personal loans also have origination fees, which you’ll have to calculate whether or not that would be in your budget.
If you decide to try LoanMart to get an auto title loan to consolidate your credit card debt, you won’t have to worry about any fees or penalties for prepayment. We make sure your loan amount is in your budget by using the equity in your vehicle and your monthly income. On top of this, we offer many other benefits to make the lending process easier on our customers.
How it Affects Your Credit Score
There is a lot of important information to consider if you plan on consolidating your credit card debt. If you already know that having all these separate accounts is harming your credit and you’re worried about missing a payment, consider the harmful affects that your options could cause towards your credit.
- Credit Cards – Adding another credit card onto your report has its downsides. When adding a new card, you want to make sure you don’t go over the limit of that card because it could harm your credit utilization rate (the debt you carry to the total limit). It contributes to 30% of your credit score, so keep the ratio of credit debt to limits less than 30%, and the overall utilization of each individual card less than 10%. Applying for a credit card can also leave a hard inquiry on your report, which can be damaging.
- Debt Management – Debt management can actually reflect poorly on your credit. Creditors generally suspend your accounts while you’re in the program which can also affect your credit utilization.
- Loans – Adding a personal loan can increase your overall level of debt. If you’re interested in auto title loans, you can learn more about how title loans are related to your credit and how they can affect it.
Once you’ve figured out your options for consolidating your credit card debt, you need to commit to a plan. Whether you make a deal with a credit counseling agency or you decide you’re going to pay it off within the deals term length, you have to make sure you are also not using your card again unless it’s absolutely necessary. Keep tabs on your credit score by using the three major agencies throughout the year, and you can see an increase in your credit score as you maintain your commitment.