Home Debt Relief Personal Loans Refinance Home Equity Loans Loan Modifications Credit Repair Insurance Bankruptcy and  Foreclsoure

How Does Debt Consolidation Work?

Digg  Add to del.icio.us  Facebook  StumbleUpon  Technorati   Reddit   MySpace

Do you find it confusing or frustrating to keep track of monthly payments for credit cards, installment loans, or other debts? Tired of paying excessive interest rates on the balances you owe? Debt consolidation may be a good option for you to combine all of your payments into one easily manageable sum, at a better interest rate.

What is Debt Consolidation?

Debt consolidation is usually a fairly simple arrangement where a bank or other financial institution arranges a loan to pay back all of your existing debts and loans. Usually offering relatively low interest rates, debt consolidation loans are designed to help struggling individuals improve their financial well-being and avoid bankruptcy.

This type of loan is typically offered by banks, financial institutions, debt counselors, and debt relief agencies. Some of these are revenue-generating groups and others are non-profit agencies, with each offering different variations of debt consolidation. It's a good idea to shop around and check client references before you choose a provider and give them access to your credit information. Try to find the institution that offers the lowest interest rates and the best plan for your individual needs.

Debt Consolidation Services or Debt Consolidation Loans?

Although debt consolidation services and debt consolidation loans sound similar, they are actually different products with different options.

A debt consolidation loan is usually a bank loan that pays off existing debts. Its primary purpose is to simplify your monthly banking and to secure a lower interest rate, saving money in the long run. Debt consolidation loans are often secured by property collateral, such as your home, which can result in lower interest rates but also puts your house at risk if you are unable to repay your consolidated debt.

Debt consolidation services, on the other hand, are programs offered by debt relief agencies. These can be simple or comprehensive services that help people re-examine their finances, consolidate and pay off debt, and get back on safe financial footing. These kinds of services can cost anything from an initial flat fee to a percentage of each payment. Some are reputable, but others can damage your credit score or qualify as outright scams. Be sure to closely investigate a particular debt consolidation service before you agree to anything.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Debt consolidation can be helpful when the balances starts piling up and you don't know where to turn to get back on the right track. Debt consolidation loans and services simplify your finances by turning several loans or a pile of credit card statements into one convenient monthly payment. They also offer much lower interest rates than most credit card companies and other creditors, so you'll pay a bigger chunk of the principal with each payment you make, shortening the time it will take to pay off your debts.

Debt consolidation isn't for everyone, though. Only certain types of loans, such as credit card balances and consumer loans, qualify. Other types, like mortgages, can't be included in a debt consolidation program. You'll also need to have a reliable income and decent credit to secure a debt consolidation loan, which assures the lenders that you'll be capable of repaying the new, consolidated loan. If you've been keeping up with your credit card payments and other loans up to this point, your credit is probably good enough to get approved for a debt consolidation loan, but people who have defaulted on their payments may need to seek other financial services.