Getting a loan to consolidate your debt has its benefits.
In this article we’ll consider some alternative lenders for debt consolidation so you can start shopping around for rates and terms for your specific situation.
Should you apply for a debt consolidation loan? If you can qualify for a lower APR than what you’re currently paying to creditors and you know you can make timely payments, then the answer is probably yes. And if you are ready to actively manage your credit, then a debt consolidation loan can provide these benefits:
- Quick funding – Sometimes on the same day.
- Direct payments to creditors – For convenience.
- Simplified debt – Repaying the debt consolidation loan via one lender versus debts through several creditors.
- No surprises – Unlike revolving debt, such as credit cards, payments on debt consolidation loans are often in fixed amounts.
Those are some benefits of debt consolidation. How do they work? In simplest terms, it all starts with seeing if you can prequalify via different lenders. This lets you see how much of a loan and what type of rate you can get without affecting your credit score. Once you find a lender you like, you apply for the debt consolidation loan. If approved, you could get the cash deposited to your account the same or the next day or have the lender pay your creditors directly. Finally, you’ll need to repay the debt consolidation loan with fixed monthly payments that are spread out over several years, depending on the size of your monthly payments and the amount of time they are spread over.
If all of that sounds like it would be a good fit for your current financial issues, here are some online lenders that can provide an instant quote to shop around. Its a good idea to bring these quotes to a traditional credit union or your existing bank to see if they can beat the rate. Although online lenders are quickest in replying and delivering funds they often charge a bit more for that convenience. When shopping around these are the terms to compare the loans based on:
- Credit score – Some lenders require a higher minimum credit score to qualify.
- APR – You want the lowest possible. It should be lower than what you’re paying now to your other creditors.
- Amount – The loan should be enough to cover your debts, so you can pay them off. Some lenders offer higher loan amounts than others.
- Terms – Do you need a lot of time to repay the debt consolidation loan? Look for a lender with terms that fit your needs, knowing that longer terms equal higher interest expenses.
- Perks – Lenders differ in their fees (origination, late, etc.), discounts (autopay, checking account, etc.), direct payments to creditors, etc.
Online Debt Consolidation Loans
- Upgrade – Loans up to $50,000 for borrowers with bad credit.
- Upstart – Loans up to $50,000 for bad credit borrowers or those without a credit history.
- Happy Money – Up to $40,000 debt consolidation loans for people with fair credit.
- LightStream – Best for those with good credit seeking the lowest rates. Loans up to $100,000.
- Marcus – Loans up to $40,000 for borrowers with good credit seeking no fees.
- SoFi – For excellent credit borrowers seeking no fees. Loans up to $100,000 with unemployment protection.
- Discover – Very flexible payment options and higher amount loans between $35,000 and $300,000.
Others to consider: LendingClub, Best Egg, Universal Credit, Prosper, FreedomPlus, OneMain Financial, LendingPoint, and Avant.