Best Debt Consolidation Loans
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If you’re struggling with multiple credit card debts, consolidating those debts can help you get your finances back under control. With debt consolidation, you take out a loan to pay off multiple debts, leaving you with one loan and a single, fixed monthly payment.
The best debt consolidation loans offer low interest rates, flexible repayment terms, and direct payment to the creditors whose debts you’re paying off:
What is debt consolidation?
Debt consolidation combines multiple debts into a single loan with one fixed, monthly payment. Some common types of debt to consolidate include credit card debt and medical debt.
Taking out a debt consolidation loan is generally a good idea if you’re able to get a lower interest rate than what you’re paying on your existing debt. Usually, the higher your credit score, the better interest rate you can get.
Consolidating your credit card or medical debt into a new loan with a lower APR can reduce your total interest costs and potentially help you pay off your debt more quickly.
Debt consolidation loans from our partners
The personal loan companies in the table below compete for your business through Credible. You can request rates from all of these partner lenders by filling out just one form (instead of one form for each) and without affecting your credit score.
|Lender||Fixed rates||Loan amounts||Min. credit score|
|4.99% – 35.99% APR||$2,000 to $50,000||600|
|5.99% – 24.99% APR||$2,500 to $35,000||660|
|7.99% – 29.99% APR||$7,500 to $50,000||Does not disclose|
|5.99% – 24.99% APR||$5,000 to $40,000||600|
|3.99% – 19.99% APR||$5,000 to $100,000||660|
|6.99% – 19.99% APR1||$3,500 to $40,0002||660
(TransUnion FICO®️ Score 9)
|5.99% – 35.99% APR||$3,500 to $40,000||600|
|6.99% – 22.23% APR10||$5,000 to $100,000||Does not disclose|
|6.95% – 35.97% APR||$1,000 to $50,000||560|
|5.4% – 35.99% APR4||$1,000 to $50,0005||580|
|Compare rates from these lenders without affecting your credit score. 100% free!Compare Now
|All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | LightStream disclosure | 10SoFi Disclosures | Read more about Rates and Terms|
While most lenders will allow you to use a personal loan for debt consolidation, some specifically market their loans for the purpose, including the following Credible partner lenders:
Best for: Secured loan option
If you have an adverse credit history but want to consolidate your debt, you may be interested in a secured debt consolidation loan with Best Egg. A secured loan is backed by collateral, such as a car, home, or other valuable item, which you put up as a guarantee that you’ll repay the loan. But if you default on a secured loan, you’re at risk of losing your collateral.
Best Egg offers debt consolidation loans in amounts ranging from $2,000 to $50,000 for terms of two to five years. Its interest rates range from 4.99% – 35.99% APR, and you can expect to pay an origination fee of 0.99% – 5.99%. Best Egg requires a minimum credit score of 600, but it also looks at a number of other factors to determine your rate.
Best for: Fast funding
You can expect to receive your funding from a Discover debt consolidation loan as quickly as the next business day after your application is accepted. Loans are offered in amounts of $2,500 to $35,000 for terms of three to seven years. Expect to pay an interest rate ranging from 5.99% – 24.99% APR. Discover does require a minimum credit score of 660.
Best for: Rate discounts
If you’re looking to get the lowest possible rate, FreedomPlus could be one of your best options. You may be able to qualify for its lowest rate if you meet any of the following conditions:
- Use at least 85% of the loan funds to directly pay off qualifying existing debt
- Add a co-borrower with sufficient income
- Show proof of sufficient retirement savings
FreedomPlus loans are available in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 for terms of two to five years. Rates range from 7.99% – 29.99% APR, and you can expect an origination fee of 1.99% to 4.99%.
Best for: Paying off credit card debt
Happy Money, formerly Payoff, is our top pick for paying off high-interest credit card debt. You can consolidate $5,000 to $40,000 with this loan, with repayment terms ranging from two to five years.
Expect to pay an origination fee that ranges from 0% to 5%, and interest rates ranging from 5.99% – 24.99% APR. Happy Money requires a minimum credit score of 600.
Best for: Low rates
If you’re trying to consolidate your debt into a loan with a lower interest rate, LightStream may be the debt consolidation lender for you. LightStream’s interest rates range from 3.99% – 19.99% APR.
LightStream loans are available in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 for repayment terms of two to seven years. You must have a minimum credit score of at least 660 to qualify.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Best for: No fees
If you’re looking for a consolidation loan with no fees, Marcus by Goldman Sachs is one of the best. The lender doesn’t charge application, origination, or prepayment penalty fees, and you won’t have to worry about late fees, unsuccessful payment fees, or check processing fees. You can also defer one payment, interest free, after you make 12 consecutive, on-time payments.
You can consolidate between $3,500 to $40,0002 with a Marcus loan and choose a repayment term from three to six years. Rates range from 6.99% – 19.99% APR1 and Marcus requires a minimum credit score of 660
(TransUnion FICO®️ Score 9).
Best for: Customized monthly payments
Reach Financial offers debt consolidation loans ranging from $3,500 to $40,000, with repayment terms of two to five years. Its rates range from 5.99% – 35.99% APR. Reach offers unique features, such as the ability to customer your monthly payment amount. You’ll have free access to your credit score each month, so you can track your progress. And you can also pause your payments for up to 90 days.
Best for: No fees
Like Marcus, SoFi also promises no application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties on its debt consolidation loans. The lender doesn’t charge late fees, unsuccessful payment fees, or check processing fees either.
You can borrow $5,000 to $100,000 from SoFi to consolidate your debt, and you can expect a repayment term of two to seven years. Interest rates range from 6.99% – 22.23% APR.
Best for: Best overall
You can consolidate $1,000 to $50,000 with an Upgrade loan, and repayment terms range from two to six years. Rates range from 6.95% – 35.97% APR, and the lender has a minimum required credit score of 560, although borrowers with a lower credit score can apply with a cosigner.
Upgrade loans have no application or prepayment fees, but all loans include an origination fee of 2.9% to 8% that’s taken out of your loan funds.
Best for: Bad credit
Upstart may be the right lender for you if you need to consolidate your debts but have either bad or “thin” credit, meaning you don’t have enough information to generate a credit score.
You can qualify for loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,0005 with a credit score as low as 580. Interest rates range from 5.4% – 35.99% APR, and you can expect repayment terms from three to five years. The lender charges an origination fee of 0% to 8%, as well as late and unsuccessful payment fees.
How we picked the best debt consolidation loans
To identify the “best companies” for personal loans, we looked at data points in the following categories (with the following weightings):
- Min. fixed rate: 30%
- Term length: 10%
- Fees: 10%
- Discounts: 3%
- Customer experience: 15%
- Time to fund: 10%
- Max loan amount: 10%
- Other: 12%
Learn more: How to Build Credit Fast and Effectively
Will debt consolidation affect my credit score?
When you apply for a debt consolidation loan, the lender will do a hard credit check, which is reflected on your credit reports and can temporarily lower your score. (Simply checking your rate by prequalifying with multiple lenders only results in a soft credit check, which doesn’t affect your score.)
However, the debt consolidation loan itself helps to lower your credit utilization ratio — the amount of debt you owe compared to the amount of credit available to you. By consolidating your credit cards or other unsecured debt, you’re increasing your available credit on those accounts when you reduce or pay off their balances, which lowers your credit utilization ratio. A lower credit utilization ratio can boost your credit score.
In addition, making on-time payments to your debt consolidation loan each month will help improve your credit score, as that will establish a positive payment history.
How to choose the right debt consolidation loan for you
When choosing the right debt consolidation loan for your needs, you’ll want to consider a number of important factors, including:
- APR/interest rates: It’s important to reduce the interest that you’re paying on your debt consolidation loan compared to the debts you’re consolidating. The lower your interest rate, the less you’ll pay for the loan overall.
- Origination fees: Many lenders charge an origination fee, which is an upfront fee for processing your loan. This fee is a percentage that the lender will deduct from your loan amount. The origination fee reduces the amount that you’ll receive for the loan, so it’s important to calculate your borrowing needs with the lender’s origination fees in mind. You may also be able to find a loan with no origination fees, particularly if you have good credit.
- Lender features: Look for a lender who can directly pay your creditors with your debt consolidation loan funds. Several lenders offer this feature, which ensures that your debts will be paid off without you having to coordinate with multiple creditors.
How to apply for a debt consolidation loan
To apply for a debt consolidation loan, follow these four steps:
- Compare lenders. Shopping around and comparing a number of lenders can help you find the right one for your consolidation needs. Consider not only interest rates but also repayment terms, origination fees or any other fees the lender charges, eligibility requirements, and whether the lender will directly pay your creditors.
- Pick your loan. Once you’ve comparison shopped, choose the loan that will best suit your needs.
- Fill out the application. You’ll generally apply for a debt consolidation loan online. Make sure you have access to any documentation you might need, such as pay stubs for proof of income.
- Pay off your unsecured debts. Upon approval, your lender will have you sign for the loan so the funds can be released to your creditors. Funding times can vary from as soon as the same or next business day to about a week, depending on the lender.
Check out: Where to Get a Personal Loan
How to qualify for a debt consolidation loan
Not everyone will qualify for a debt consolidation loan. Lenders may not loan money to borrowers with a less-than-ideal credit score or history. But even if you have imperfect credit, here are some ways you can increase your likelihood of qualifying for a loan:
- Build your credit. If you have a low credit score, you can do several things to improve it. First, make sure you pay your bills on time, since your payment history is a major component that determines your credit score. Additionally, paying off any revolving lines of credit that you can will reduce your credit utilization ratio and help boost your score. Finally, don’t close old credit cards, since the length of your credit history is also factored into your credit score. Alternatively, you can look for a lender who specializes in bad credit loans (though keep in mind you’ll likely pay a higher interest rate).
- Apply with a cosigner. If you’re unable to qualify for a debt consolidation loan on your own, you can potentially qualify or get a better rate by adding a cosigner with good credit to your application. Your cosigner is accepting responsibility for the loan if you default on it, which is why the lender may offer better rates and terms if you have a cosigner.
- Shop around and compare. Even if your credit score leaves something to be desired, you may be able to find a favorable loan by comparing your options. You can prequalify for a debt consolidation loan without affecting your credit score, so comparing rates among various lenders can help you find the best and least expensive option for your situation.
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Additional strategies to get out of debt
A debt consolidation loan isn’t your only option for getting out of debt. Depending on your financial situation, you may consider one of these debt payoff strategies:
0% APR balance transfer credit card
Credit cards sometimes offer a 0% APR on balance transfers for a certain period of time, often 12 to 18 months. If your income will allow you to pay off your debts during the 0% APR promotional period, a balance transfer can be a relatively easy way to consolidate your debt without taking out a loan or paying any additional interest.
But you generally need good credit to qualify for a 0% APR offer, and this option will only work if you can trust yourself not to rack up new charges on the balance transfer card, since new purchases will generally start accruing interest immediately. If you’re still carrying a balance at the end of the promotional period, that balance will begin accruing interest at the card’s regular rate, which can be higher than a debt consolidation loan.
Credit counseling is available through nonprofit agencies. A counselor can help you create a budget, figure out a debt repayment plan, and potentially work with your creditors to reduce your interest rates.
You can find a reputable credit counseling agency through the U.S. Trustee Program.
Debt snowball method
This strategy is designed to help you master the psychology of the debt payoff process. With the debt snowball method, you make a list of your debts in order from smallest to largest balance.
From there, figure out how much money you can send to your creditors each month, above and beyond your minimum payments. You’ll add the additional amount to the debt with the smallest balance while continuing to make the minimum payments on the rest.
By paying extra money toward your smallest debt, you’ll be able to pay it off quickly. Once you’ve cleared that debt, add the amount you were paying to the debt with the next-smallest balance, and so on, until you’ve paid them all off.
Debt avalanche method
With the debt avalanche strategy, you’ll start with a list of your debts in order from highest to lowest interest rate. Like the snowball method, you’ll send the minimum payment to all but the first debt on your list. The debt with the highest interest rate will receive the excess payments until you’ve paid it off. After that, you’ll roll that payment over to the debt with the next-highest interest rate, and so on.
This method allows you to minimize the amount you pay in interest as you work on your debt payoff.
Carrying several debts at once can feel overwhelming, but you have a number of strategies available to help you pay off your debt — including debt consolidation loans. If you do decide to consolidate your debt, make sure you compare lenders so you can feel confident you have the best consolidation loan for your needs.
Keep Reading: What Credit Score Do I Need to Take Out a Personal Loan?
About Rates and Terms: Rates for personal loans provided by lenders on the Credible platform range between 3.99%-35.99% APR with terms from 12 to 84 months. Rates presented include lender discounts for enrolling in autopay and loyalty programs, where applicable. Actual rates may be different from the rates advertised and/or shown and will be based on the lender’s eligibility criteria, which include factors such as credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history, and vary based on loan purpose. The lowest rates available typically require excellent credit, and for some lenders, may be reserved for specific loan purposes and/or shorter loan terms. The origination fee charged by the lenders on our platform ranges from 0% to 8%. Each lender has their own qualification criteria with respect to their autopay and loyalty discounts (e.g., some lenders require the borrower to elect autopay prior to loan funding in order to qualify for the autopay discount). All rates are determined by the lender and must be agreed upon between the borrower and the borrower’s chosen lender. For a loan of $10,000 with a three year repayment period, an interest rate of 7.99%, a $350 origination fee and an APR of 11.51%, the borrower will receive $9,650 at the time of loan funding and will make 36 monthly payments of $313.32. Assuming all on-time payments, and full performance of all terms and conditions of the loan contract and any discount programs enrolled in included in the APR/interest rate throughout the life of the loan, the borrower will pay a total of $11,279.43. As of March 12, 2019, none of the lenders on our platform require a down payment nor do they charge any prepayment penalties.
Methodology: Credible evaluated loan and lender data points in 8 categories to identify the “best companies” for personal loans. We looked at interest rates, repayment terms, repayment options, fees, discounts, and customer service availability offered by 21 lenders. We also considered each company’s max loan amount, how long it takes to receive funds, whether the minimum credit score is available publicly, and whether consumers could request rates with a soft credit check. Credible receives compensation from its lender partners when a user of the Credible platform closes a loan with the lender. Read the full Credible rating lender methodology. Learn about Credible’s mission and promise to our readers.