Friday, July 6, 2012

Are Debt Consolidation Loans Worth It?

A debt consolidation loan is, as its name suggests a loan that will consolidate all of your debts into one tidy package. The interest rate may be the same as the rates on the existing loans, or it may be somewhat less.

Defining the terms

Make certain that you have reviewed all the terms and clauses included in the debt consolidation loan before signing on the dotted line. For example, you should review the loan length, the interest rate, whether there is a prepayment penalty, and such terms as variable rate, fixed rate and balloon payment. If your consolidation loan applies to existing credit card debt, you should determine whether your cards must be surrendered to get the loan, and whether the balances are transferred to a new card, paid off, or whether you receive the cash and must do the payoffs yourself.

Benefits

The benefit for obtaining a debt consolidation loan is primarily to save money, but there are other advantages for those who reduce multiple debts to one payment monthly. You can probably save money on the interest rate, particularly if consolidating the debt means you can obtain a lower rate. Another advantage is the benefit of a single payment with a regular due date. You don't have to spend much time paying bills. Just set up an automatic payment and your bill paying is la minor part of your monthly duties. This type of regular prompt payment will make your credit report look better and better

Avoiding the pitfalls

For all the benefits that a debt consolidation loan can offer an individual, there are several drawbacks that you should be aware of before choosing to borrow additional money to solve your debt problems. If you are using this type of loan to bail you out from maxed out credit cards, you should certainly look at changing your spending habits in conjunction with the loan, or you can quickly end up in even more problems with larger debts. Consider getting rid of all your credit cards and switch to one debit card. Don't justify consistent overspending as an emergency. Create a budget and stick to it.

Find the best deal

It seems that finding the best deal would be logical, but many individuals looking for a debt consolidation loan take the first offer that they see and run with it. Often, had they looked further, they would have been able to obtain better terms, better interest rate and other accouterments of the loan. Take the time to review several loans and make certain to ask questions about each of the variables that affect the amount of your monthly payment. You won't want to keep applying and applying, as this can negatively affect your credit score, making the terms less desirable each time.

Reviewing interest rates

The main feature of your debt consolidation loan in most instances is the interest rate you will be charged during the duration of the loan period. Usually the rate of interest that the borrower is assessed depends on the credit report of the borrower. Credit scores higher than 700 make it easier to obtain the loan and generally means the terms of the loan are much more favorable to the buyer.

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