Debt consolidation allows you to roll multiple account balances into a single debt. That leaves you with one big payment instead of multiple. The hope is that it will make your debt easier to manage, and help you to pay off your debt more quickly. But those are just a couple of the potential upsides. In fact, there are probably more benefits of debt consolidation than you realize.
Here are three big benefits of debt consolidation:
1. Debt consolidation can save you money
There are several ways consolidating your debt can save you some cash. The first is getting a lower interest rate, which makes your debt less expensive.
For instance, if you have balances on two credit cards that charge 16% and 12%, getting a personal loan for 10% allows you to repay your debt with less interest.
Depending on how much you owe, moving it to a lower-rate personal loan or balance transfer credit card could save hundreds or thousands in finance charges.
The second way that consolidation saves money is by allowing you to pay off debt faster. By plowing your interest savings back into your debt, you make a bigger dent in your principal balance. The result could shave years off your minimum payment schedule.
Alia Dudum, Millennial Money Expert at LendingClub, says, “The biggest benefit of debt consolidation is the cash savings and the peace of mind knowing when you can be debt free.”
While there is often a cost to consolidate — a loan origination fee or a balance transfer fee — the savings you get can make it worthwhile.
Just make sure you to compare debt consolidation loan offers thoroughly before deciding.
2. Debt consolidation can save you aggravation
On top of saving money, a side benefit of debt consolidation is reducing aggravation. That’s because consolidating takes multiple accounts and payments and turns them into one. It’s a whole lot easier to stay organized and make payments on time with fewer of them to manage.
Instead of worrying about multiple payment deadlines and online account logins, you can make one payment each month. This keeps you focused on your debt, makes it easier to budget and reduces your stress.
If you have any past due amounts that are in collection, consolidating them gives you a fresh start. You won’t have to deal with annoying debt collectors sending notices or calling you anymore.
3. Debt consolidation can improve your credit score
As if saving money and aggravation weren’t enough, another terrific benefit of debt consolidation is improving your credit score. The better your credit the less you pay for debt, such as credit cards, personal loans and mortgages.
Your credit rating also impacts other parts of your financial life. For instance, having poor credit could keep you from getting approved to rent an apartment or from getting a job. You’re also likely to have higher security deposits on utility accounts and be quoted higher rates for auto and homeowner’s insurance.
Having an additional credit account on your credit report, such as a personal loan or a new balance transfer credit card, helps you build credit, if you make payments on time. Shifting balances from maxed out credit cards to a personal loan or a new credit line boosts your available credit, which reduces your credit utilization ratio and raises your credit score.
Additionally, having a mix of credit types on your credit report builds your credit score over time.
If you have poor credit or are building credit from scratch, Dudum says getting a personal loan can be difficult. But she offers a solution, “If you have less than six months of credit history, consider submitting a joint application with a co-signer who has a longer credit history.”