Feeling overwhelmed by multiple bills? Looking for a solution to growing credit card debt? Reduce your debt, restore your credit and feel relief with a debt consolidation loan.
A debt consolidation loan is where a bank, credit union, or finance company provides you with the money to pay off your outstanding debts and "consolidate" them (bring them all together) into one big loan. This usually applies to your unsecured debt, which may include your credit card bills, lines of credit, unsecured loans – or any other debt that doesn’t require collateral, such as a home or car.
Advantages of a Debt Consolidation Loan
- You only have one monthly payment to worry about
- You often consolidate at a lower interest rate which saves you money
- Your debt will be paid off in a set amount of time (typically 2 - 5 years)
- Simple, monthly fund transfers by telephone banking, debit card, or money order
- Timely, automatic payments to creditors, with full tracking
- Any fees charged for this service are usually very low
Debt Consolidation Loan Interest Rates
Banks and credit unions usually offer the best interest rates for debt consolidation loans. Many factors can help you get a better interest rate with a bank or credit union including your credit score, your net worth, whether you have a relationship with them and can offer good security (collateral) for a loan or not. Good security for a debt consolidation loan will often be a newer model vehicle, boat, term deposit (non-RRSP) or another asset that can easily be sold or liquidated by the bank if you don't pay make your loan payments.
For the past decade, banks have typically charged interest rates on debt consolidation loans of around 7% - 12%. Finance companies tend to charge anywhere from 14% for secured loans to over 3% for unsecured loans.
Disadvantages of a Debt Consolidation Loan
- They usually require security (collateral)
- You must have a decent credit score
- Interest rates are higher than a home equity loan (refinancing your home)
- Interest rates for unsecured debt consolidation loans can be high
While banks rarely approve unsecured debt consolidation loans, some do get approved from time to time. To qualify for one of these you would typically need to have a high net worth (the value of your assets after you subtract all of your debts) and a very strong credit score or a co-signer who has a very high net worth and a very strong credit score.
What are your chances of getting a Debt Consolidation Loan?
If your credit score meets the bank's minimum requirement (meaning: not too many late payments or any big negatives on your credit report), you earn enough income, your total monthly minimum debt payments aren't too high and you can offer some good security for a loan, then you may qualify for a debt consolidation loan. If you don't quite meet all of these requirements on your own, you may still be able to qualify if you can find a good co-signer.
If your minimum monthly debt payments are too high - even after a consolidation loan is factored into the situation, you have bad credit, or you can't offer some reasonable security for a loan, then a consolidation loan probably won't work.