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With a debt consolidation loan, a lender issues a single personal loan that you use to pay off other debts, such as balances on high-interest credit cards.You’ll pay fixed, monthly installments to the lender for a set time period, typically two to five years.Your credit scores can take a hit if you use all or most of the available credit on your cards.A personal loan balance is reported as installment debt, which is treated differently in credit scoring formulas than revolving debt such as credit cards.A personal loan offers some advantages over balance transfer cards.
Almost all lenders require you to be 18 years or older and a legal U. resident with a verifiable bank account and not in bankruptcy or foreclosure.Look for a site that offers educational tools such as a credit score simulator or guidance on how to build credit.If you can’t qualify for a loan through a reputable lender, don’t head for a payday lender. For borrowers with good credit, a balance transfer credit card is an alternative to a debt consolidation loan.Borrowing limits are typically higher; some lenders offer loans of ,000 or more.In addition, a personal loan may improve your credit if it means your credit card balances shrink relative to the credit limits.
Nerdwallet has reviewed more than 25 lenders to help you compare and choose one that’s right for you.