What is Debt Consolidation?

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What is Debt Consolidation?A lot of us are in debt. Many people feel helpless when it comes to the debt they have. If you’re flooded in debt, one option that you might have heard about is debt consolidation. There are pros and cons to using a debt consolidation program. In this post, I will be going over how debt consolidation works.

Debt Consolidation 101

Basically, debt consolidation works like this. Let’s say you have four different debts. They total up to $1400 a month in payments. You simply can’t afford the payments anymore.

Instead of going into bankruptcy or going into default, you decided to go to a debt consolidation company. The debt consolidation company will go to your lenders and negotiate a deal to pay off all your loans for you. Typically they will get you a deal for between 25% to 75% off.  That’s a heck of a deal.

The debt consolidation company will pay off the loan; then you will owe them the money instead of your lenders. Instead of having to make four payments, you only need to make one now. Your monthly payment is much lower than your previous monthly loan payment amount.

They need to make money too

Remember, debt consolidation companies, even if they are a non-profit company, need to make money as well. Some companies will structure their program in a way that you will end up paying more at the end of the day. For example, they can lower your $1400 payment down to $900 a month while extending your loan terms by 24th months. This is something that you must consider if you are thinking about going the debt consolidation route.

Your monthly payment may be less, but in terms of the full loan, you may end up paying a couple of thousand dollars more. For the debt consolidation company, it’s a trade off. They need to make money, but if you can’t afford the higher monthly payments, then a smaller monthly payment, with a higher overall payment might be the lesser of two evils. Consider all of your options befoe you make that decision.

How does it affect your credit?

This is the million dollar question. Does debt consolidation affect your credit? Settling a debt is not as good for your credit as paying it off in full. It is better than ignoring it or not paying it off at all.

How it affects your credit depends in part on how delinquent you were before the consolidation. It also depends on if the creditor charged off the debt to a collection agency. If that has happened, the charge-off will appear on your credit report even if the consolidation company reaches a settlement with the collection agency. Timing is everything.

Working with a debt consolidation company does not lower your credit. Getting your debt charged off, settling for a lower amount than you owed and being delinquent on your debt can negatively affect your credit report. Is that something that you want?

Debt consolidation isn’t for everyone. If you are struggling and or near bankruptcy, it may be the option for you.

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