Best Debt Consolidation
Programs of 2019

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Minimum Debt: $15,000
Minimum Debt: $15,000

What's an APR?

APR is an acronym for annual percentage rate. It combines the charges, fees, and payments to tell you the grand total of what your loan will cost you per year. The lower the APR, the less you are going to pay in the long run.

The APR calculation on personal loans will vary depending on your lender usually starting at 10% and capping at 35.99%. It is not ideal to owe any money, but if you require a loan, then a personal loan could certainly be a viable option.

APR rates mentioned include associated fees.

Full repayment for the loans displayed range between 61 days to 180 months.

Representative example: assuming a loan of $10,000 over 60 months at a fixed rate of 3.1% per annum and fees of $60.00. This would result in a representative rate of 3.3% APR, with monthly repayments of $180.80, for a total amount paid of $10,848.00.


What is Debt Consolidation?

Debt consolidation is the process of consolidating multiple debts into one loan with one monthly payment, replacing your old creditors with a new creditor. The idea behind debt consolidation is that you pay off your debts with a lower interest rate and lower monthly payments, saving money in the process. Any type of consumer debt can be consolidated, including credit card balances, student loans, and medical bills.


How Does Debt Consolidation Work?

Debt consolidation involves taking a secured or unsecured personal loan with a fixed term and a fixed interest rate. Let’s say you’ve racked up debts on three credit cards and are finding it impossible to keep up with the monthly payments. With a debt consolidation loan: you transfer the debts to a lender; the lender pays off those debts; you repay the lender.

A debt consolidation loan works just like any other personal loan in that you repay your lender in monthly installments consisting of principal and interest. All the qualifying requirements that usually apply to personal loans apply in the case of debt consolidation loans. For example, your lender will run a credit check when deciding whether to approve you and at what interest rate.

Personal loans are the most common way of consolidating debt. An alternative method is to transfer your debt into a low-introductory period credit card. Some credit cards offer an interest-free or low-interest introductory period (usually around 12 months). This is only really a good option if you judge that you’ll be able to pay off the credit card quickly.


The Top 3 Companies You Should Know

1. Freedom Debt Relief

  • Specializes in debt settlement
  • Has settled more than $10 billion in debts
  • Client could be debt-free in 24-48 months

Freedom Debt Relief (FDR) is one of the largest debt settlement providers in the United States. Since 2002, it has helped settle more than $10 billion in unsecured debt. FDR always keeps you in the loop with an online dashboard that shows you the progress of negotiations and repayments. Being such a large agency has its benefits, with some customers saving 25-30% (after fees).


2. ClearOne

  • Full satisfaction guarantee
  • Settle debt in 24 - 48 months
  • No upfront costs or consultation fees

For over a decade, ClearOne has helped people work their way out of debt - without any upfront costs or consultation fees. The company uses a staff of veteran financial services professionals who know the tricks of the trade, and can stand behind a 100% service guarantee. The company focuses exclusively on settlement negotiation, and for customers dealing with debt of $10,000 or higher. Through the company’s 4 stage program, most customers are able to complete the debt settlement process within 24 to 36 months.


3. Accredited Debt Relief

  • Specializes in various forms of debt relief
  • No upfront or monthly fees
  • Clients save average 25-32% on debt

Accredited Debt Relief offers a range of debt relief options. It offers a free consultation to all new customers, where a dedicated counselor goes over all the customer’s needs and forms a debt relief plan. Accredited’s expert negotiators handle debt settlements, and it also works with other parties who can help customers with things like debt consolidation and debt management.


How to Choose the Best Debt Consolidation Companies

Searching for a debt consolidation company isn’t that much different to searching for any other consumer finance product. The golden rule with anything in consumer finance is to compare at least three to five providers. Before choosing a debt consolidation company, think about how long you’re prepared to spend repaying your debt and what your credit history looks like.

Here are some of the main things to look for when comparing debt consolidation companies:

  • Rates: Debt consolidation loans are just like any other personal loan, they come with an interest rate. The main reason to consolidate all your debts into one loan is to save money. Therefore, you should be looking out for a loan with a lower interest rate than the rates attached to your existing debts.
  • Fees: Rates aren’t the only thing that go into determining the cost of your debt consolidation loan. Another aspect is fees, which your lender adds to the rate to form an APR (annual percentage rate). Again, it’s important to check that your APR is lower than those attached to your current debt. Also check that your new lender doesn’t charge any hidden fees and that it’s transparent about things like prepayment and late payment penalties.
  • Terms: The term is the amount of time you have to pay back your loan. This is really important because it helps determine your monthly payments. Take too long a term and you’ll end up paying more interest overall. Take too short a term and your monthly payments might end up too high. Finding the right balance is crucial, as is finding a lender with the term to suit your needs.
  • Customer support: This may sound obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing anyway. When comparing debt consolidation companies, we recommend reading online reviews, reading customer feedback, and speaking to an actual customer service rep at least once. Always take into account what people are saying about the company and rely on your intuition too.

Debt Consolidation vs Debt Management

Debt consolidation and debt management are similar in one major respect: both involve consolidating your debts into one monthly payment. But where debt consolidation involves paying a new creditor, debt management involves paying a debt counseling agency.

The first step to debt management is meeting with a debt counselor, also sometimes referred to as a credit counselor. The counselor negotiates with your creditors, which can sometimes lead to a lower interest rate and lower monthly payments. You pay your debt counselor, who transfer the money to your creditors.

Most debt management plans take three to five years to complete. Debt management is more restrictive than debt consolidation. With debt management, you’re usually prevented from borrowing more money until you’ve paid back all your debts. With debt consolidation, there aren’t really any restrictions – and you’re free to keep borrowing.

Which option is best for you? As a general rule, debt consolidation should be your first option. You should only consider debt management if your debt is out of control. If you have a small amount of debt and a decent credit score, then a debt consolidation loan is a viable option. If your debt is through the roof or your credit is poor, then debt consolidation mightn’t be an option. In that case, you should start thinking about debt management or other types of debt relief such as debt settlement.