It’s also a good idea to stay clear of websites and lenders that charge you big upfront fees for a debt consolidation loan.
With a debt management plan, you make one monthly payment to a credit counseling agency and the agency pays each of your credit card lenders.
And you can verify if a lender is registered to do business in your state by contacting your state Attorney General’s office or your state’s Department of Banking or Financial Regulation.
Beware of any lender that promises to offer you a loan regardless of your credit.
Here’s how credit card consolidation works: You first decide if you want to take out a new loan, open a new credit card or enroll in a debt management plan (more on that later).
Whichever option you choose, you will use it to pay off your multiple balances.Some strategies will be more affordable than others, and your credit card consolidation choices may be limited by your credit standing.Personal loans charge simple interest (as opposed to credit cards, which often have variable rates and sometimes have different rates for balance transfers and purchases on the same card) and they typically have loan terms of three to five years.For it to truly help you get out of debt, you have to stick to the plan, whether that’s paying off your credit card balance within a 12-month promotional financing period or making sure you make payments as agreed for the entire five-year loan term.Throughout the process, you can keep tabs on how your credit card consolidation plan is affecting your credit by reviewing your free annual credit reports and viewing your Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser.The best way to consolidate credit card debt — and whether consolidation will work for you at all — depends on your situation, so you might want to consult a non-profit credit counselor about your best options.The following five tips can help you figure out which credit card consolidation strategy suits you best.Credit card debt consolidation may save you money, but it’s often not free.Credit cards may have a balance transfer fee, so you’ll want to make sure that cost doesn’t outweigh the potential benefit of getting a lower interest rate on your debt.Promotional interest rates expire — like 12 months of a 0% APR on a balance transfer card — so make sure you can repay your debt within that time frame, otherwise you may not be saving any money at all.The same goes for debt consolidation loans: Ask about any loan origination fees, and make sure the loan payment amount is something that easily fits into your budget.