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Having debts is normal, whether you want to buy a new car or pay for your education. However, it can rapidly lead to high-interest rates and can be difficult to manage. Thankfully, there are ways to handle your debts to avoid such situations.
Debt consolidation is a strategy where you combine all of your debts into a single payment. As you can imagine, this makes managing your debt much easier. It has a cheaper interest rate than what you’re paying for each month. To top it all off, it can also improve your credit score.
Before you get started with debt consolidation, it’s important to know how it affects your credit score. This article will discuss different aspects of debt consolidation and its impact on your credit score. Moreover, you’ll also learn the different ways that you can consolidate your debts.
Credit Repair And Debt Consolidation
For people who want to enhance their credit score, they can get a credit repair or debt consolidation. The two are effective in different situations. That’s why it’s important to know when to use each method.
What is Credit Repair?
Credit repair is a service that will assist you in improving your credit score. To do so, credit repair professionals will:
- Identify proofs for any negative items that damages your credit,
- Ensure that your credit isn’t being harmed by the same debt
- Uncover faults in your credit report
This can have a significant impact on your credit, allowing you to get approved for new credit lines. Not only that but you can also avail of home, business, and car loans. If you have the time, you can restore your credit on your own. However, it’s advisable to seek a professional opinion on this.
Credit repair is extremely helpful for people who want to clean up their credit reports. Additionally, those who want an accurate credit report can also benefit from this. Some credit repair businesses provide legal assistance as well as credit counseling. They can help you improve your credit in the short and long term.
What is Debt Consolidation?
Debt consolidation helps you combine all of your debts into one easy-to-manage bill. This can lessen your monthly payments.
The process involves the type of account you have, whether it’s a credit card or a federal loan. Debt consolidation can help you better manage your account balances. It’s easier to monitor a single loan than it is to keep track of several.
If you have several loans with different interest payment schedules and interest rates, debt consolidation works best. You’ll save money and simplify your payments by merging these loans with a lower interest rate.
How Does Debt Consolidation Affect Credit Score?
There are different ways of consolidating your debt, which will be discussed in a few. Whatever option you choose, it’s important that you understand how it affects your credit score.
- Applying for a New Credit Card
When you apply for a personal loan or balance transfer credit card, the lender will do a hard inquiry on your credit. This will drop your credit scores by a few points. According to FICO, your credit score can be reduced by less than five points.
- Getting a New Credit Account
When you open a new credit account, it can temporarily reduce your credit score. For lenders, new credit is a new risk. Therefore, taking out a new loan will result in a temporary drop in your credit score.
- Changing Your Credit Card Balance
How you consolidate your credit card balance can impact your credit utilization rate. These rates are a major element in your credit score.
This percentage is computed by dividing your card balance by the credit limit on your card. For example, if you have a $1,000 balance on a card with a $2,000 limit, the card has a 50% utilization rate.
Credit experts suggest that your credit utilization rate should be below 30%. The ratio is determined for each of your cards individually and across all of them.
Merging your credit card debt with a personal loan can make your credit card balance zero. And, as a result, your credit utilization rate will be 0%. It means that you’re not using your credit more often, and it’s not a good sign. Your credit score can improve if your rate was high before the consolidation.
If you obtain a new credit card and balance transfer offer, your utilization rate will be recalculated. This will be based on the balance you transferred and it relates to the new card’s credit limit. It’s possible that the transaction will affect your credit if it raises your utilization rate. However, if it lowers the rate, it may have a good effect.
Lastly, if you pay your credit card dues, your utilization rate will decrease. Ultimately, your credit score will improve.
- Applying for Debt Management Plan
To get approved for a low-interest personal loan, you need a good credit score. If it’s not good enough, a credit counseling service can help you get a debt management plan.
The credit counselor functions as an adviser in this plan. They will assist you in improving your money management abilities. They’ll also take care of payments to all of your creditors. What happens is you make a single monthly payment to the agency. In return, the agency will split it up and directly pay your creditors.
Debt management plans do not directly impact your credit score. However, some plans may need you to close your credit cards. And this can impact your credit history and, ultimately, your credit score.
In addition, it’s also helpful if you’re behind on payments. Credit counselors can negotiate with your creditors to change your payment status. This can have a significant impact on your credit score.
How to Consolidate Your Debts?
Debt consolidation is the process of combining numerous credit balances into a single new loan. However, not all debt consolidations are beneficial. Depending on your credit and savings, there are four ways to consolidate debt:
- Balance Transfer Credit Cards
This method of debt consolidation allows you to open a new card with reduced interest rates. After doing so, you can transfer the balances of your card with high-interest rates to your new card. In essence, you’re paying off one card with another.
This strategy is only useful if it allows you to save money over time. There are things that you need to know first before transferring your balances. These include:
- Fees for transferring a balance
- The interest rate for transferring balances
- The length of your promotional period
- Your annual fees
If you lack financial discipline, this is not an ideal option for you.
- Personal Loans
When it comes to credit settlement, getting a personal loan is an option. However, it’s not usually suggested. Instead of making multiple credit card payments each month, you can make a single payment on your loan.
Although, this will only work if you have a strong credit score. If the circumstances are right, you can get a lower interest rate on your loan than on your credit cards.
- Retirement Account Loans
It’s not a good idea to use your retirement funds to pay off your debts. However, if you really need to, then you can always consider using it.
Your retirement savings are your long-term safety net. Because of that, you should be cautious when using these funds. As long as your plan includes a loan option, you don’t need a credit check for these types of loans.
- Home Equity Loan
A home equity loan is when you opt to take out a loan against the value of your property. The money you receive can be used to pay off your debt.
However, this method has its risks. While home equity loans have lower interest rates, if you missed any payments, there will be consequences. This means that the lender has legal rights to initiate foreclosure on your home. With that being said, this should be your last option.
Debt consolidation both has its pros and cons when it comes to your credit score. Transferring a credit card balance, for example, can temporarily boost your utilization rate. However, you can benefit more from the interest savings from a 0% annual percentage rate offer.
Before you choose the best solution, you need to consider your situation and your options carefully. And, whatever you do, keep in mind that debt consolidation is a way to eliminate your debts.
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