“No lender should charge you upfront before you get the loan … A debt consolidation loan can wipe the slate clean and allow you to start fresh with zero balances on credit cards and other credit commitments.and you certainly shouldn’t send money with a wire transfer or prepaid card,” Detweiler cautions. Although it may be tempting, avoid using your newly cleared accounts to shop or manage household expenses.You don’t want to create new debt that you’ll have to pay on top of your debt consolidation loan.You will go through several steps to apply for and receive a debt consolidation loan.However, a longer loan term means you may pay more interest total.There are two types of debt consolidation loans: secured and unsecured.
Compare your debt payment obligations and your spending to create a budget and determine how much you can realistically pay on your debt each month.Most lenders offer rate quotes, which are soft inquiries on your credit and have no effect on your credit score.When you do a hard inquiry during the final approval process, it will be reflected on your credit report. Although debt consolidation loans are a legitimate solution for eliminating debt, some other debt consolidation options are scams.However, if you have multiple hard inquiries within a 45-day period, it’s considered rate shopping and will only count as a single credit inquiry. It’s best to stick with trusted, well-established lenders such as the ones recommended on our list.
When shopping for a debt consolidation loan, you should watch out for red flags including aggressive sales representatives, guaranteed approvals and quick-fix promises, as well as requirements such as upfront payments before loan approval or access to bank accounts for automatic withdrawals.
Before you apply for a debt consolidation loan, you should consider alternatives, figure out how you’ll make payments and make sure you’re finding the best rate available.