Unsecured debt consolidation loans are offered online through banks and marketplace lenders.This makes applying for a loan convenient, and some providers offer instant approval online, so you can find out right away if a loan is going to work for you.Before you apply for a debt consolidation loan, you should consider alternatives, figure out how you’ll make payments and make sure you’re finding the best rate available.Credit cards with zero percent APR on balance transfer offers allow you to transfer existing credit card balances to that new card. It’s essential to have a plan for how you can make the new payments, especially if you’ve previously struggled to keep up with minimum payments on your balances.Most lenders offer rate quotes, which are soft inquiries on your credit and have no effect on your credit score.When you do a hard inquiry during the final approval process, it will be reflected on your credit report. Although debt consolidation loans are a legitimate solution for eliminating debt, some other debt consolidation options are scams.
Getting a debt consolidation loan is a major financial decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
However, if you have multiple hard inquiries within a 45-day period, it’s considered rate shopping and will only count as a single credit inquiry. It’s best to stick with trusted, well-established lenders such as the ones recommended on our list.
When shopping for a debt consolidation loan, you should watch out for red flags including aggressive sales representatives, guaranteed approvals and quick-fix promises, as well as requirements such as upfront payments before loan approval or access to bank accounts for automatic withdrawals.
However, home equity loans for debt consolidation can be risky, as your home may be foreclosed on if you can’t pay your loan.
“The danger is if you eat up a significant part of your home equity,” says Gerri Detweiler, education director of business credit website