Loan consolidation is when you use one huge loan to pay off all your small loans. Loan consolidation allows you to put all your loans together into one loan. In most cases, you get to pay a lower interest rate on the new loan. Many people opt for loan consolidation when there are overwhelmed by their debts. When they cannot keep track of the due dates, and when they have several high interest loans. You can consolidate your credit cards, unsecured loans, and auto loans.
Types of Loan Consolidation
There are several types of loan consolidation. These options are made to suit the different demands of people. It is crucial to choose the right package in order to have a successful loan consolidation.
- Student Loan Consolidation
Only people who recently graduated from college are eligible for this loan package. This option will help you to put all your student loans together. What the loan consolidation does is to lock the interest rate on the loans. This means that the interest rate on the loan will no longer rise. Also, the loan consolidation will also increase the loan repayment period. This will reduce your monthly payments making it manageable.
- Unsecured Loan Consolidation
This loan also referred to as signature loan consolidation. With this loan, you will be granted an amount that covers all your debts. You will be required to use the loan to pay your debts and then you will be given a period to pay for the new loan. In most cases, the interest on this loan is lower than that of your credit card and the other loans you are paying off. This will help you save a little on interest rates.
- Consolidation Using Home Equity or Second Mortgage Loan
With this loan, the borrower will use his or her home as a mortgage for the loan. This loan attracts lower interest rates when compared to the unsecured loan. The idea is to use the new loan to pay off all old debts. This loan is risky since there is a risk of you losing your home if you are unable to pay the loan.
How Does Loan Consolidation Work?
Generally, there are two approaches to loan consolidation. You will either be given the cash to pay your debts or the lender will do it for you. When the lender decides to grant you a loan to pay off your debts, he or she will discuss the interest rate and the payment schedule for the new loan. It is expected that you use the money to only pay for your loans. The good thing is that the interest rate will be lower than the rate on your previous loans. Hence, your monthly payments will be lower. If the lender decides to make the payments for you, you will still be informed about the rate and payment schedule for the new loan.
When Do I Consider Loan Consolidation?
Although debt consolidation is a popular debt management approach, it does not work for everyone. There are many factors to consider and these can help you to determine if debt consolidation will work for you or not.
Loan consolidation is for people who are ready to make changes to their lifestyle in order to reduce their expenditure and pay their debts. If your monthly expenditure is higher than your monthly income and you are not ready to alter your lifestyle, loan consolidation will not work for you. This is because you will still need to make monthly payments to make debt consolidation successful. If you cannot make payments, there is no need to consolidate your debt.
If you are someone who also tends to miss payments because you cannot keep track of payment dates, consolidating your loans may prove beneficial. Consolidating your credit puts all your credits together into a single debt. It will be easier to keep track of the payments and it will also be easy to make payments since you are now making a single payment.
You should also consider loan consolidation is you struggling to make payments on your loans due to high interest rates on the loans. With this, you will need to make your calculations and be certain that you can access a new loan at a lower rate.
If you are convinced that you can save some cash due to lower interest rates, then you can proceed to consolidate your credit. If it, however, turns out that the interest rate for the new loan is almost the same as the ones on all your current loans put together, it may not be prudent to consolidate your debt.
You should also think about the fees and other charges on the new loan. Sometimes, the interest rate on the new loan will be low but the fees will make the loan expensive. The fees may even swallow the savings you will make on the loan. if that is the case, there is no need to consider loan consolidation.
Do I Qualify for Loan Consolidation?
Just like accessing all other loans, there are certain requirements to meet before applying for a loan consolidation. You should be a citizen of the United States and be at least 18 years old. The lender will also request for proof of a steady source of income. Your income details are particularly important if you are applying for an unsecured loan. The lender will use this information to check if you can repay the loan. He or she will also use the information to determine your monthly payments and term for the loan. Apart from that, the lender will also request for details of your bank account. If the lender intends to give you the cash to pay your previous loans, the money will be paid into this account. If the loan you are requesting for is a secured loan, you will also be required to provide details and documents on the property you intend to secure the loan with.
Even if the lender decides not to check your credit score before granting you a loan, they will still run a credit check just to know your creditworthiness.
Pros and Cons of Loan Consolidation
- Loan consolidation reduces the number of payments you need to make in a month. Since your debts are combined into one, you need to make only one payment in a month. Of course, there may be other debts or bills that were not consolidated but that does not change the fact that consolidating your loan significantly reduces the payments you need to make at the end of the month.
- Consolidating your loan also reduces the possibility of missing payments. You can now keep track of your payments since the number has been reduced. You will at least remember to make the remaining two or three payments at the end of the month.
- Your monthly payments will also be less. This is one of the most important reasons why people consolidate their loans. Since the new loan has lower interest rates, their monthly payments will also reduce. All the high interest loans have now been paid off and the borrower can save on interest at the end of every month.
- It may also improve your credit score in the long run. If you are able to successfully pay off your loan, your credit score will improve. Once your credit score improves, you will even be able to access lower interest credit in the future.
- Consolidating your loan is risky if you obtained a risky loan. You will lose your property if are unable to repay the loan.
- Sometimes, you will stay in debt for a longer period. This happens if the loan term is longer than the terms on the debts you consolidated.
A common alternative to loan consolidation is balance transfer. The balance transfer allows you to move your previous debts to a new card. Usually, the transfer is made from high interest credit cards to a low interest credit card. You can only transfer balance up to your available line of credit. Sometimes, your credit card company will send you a promotional mail concerning a balance transfer. You can then proceed to apply for one. You can also request for a balance transfer by applying for one online.
When you apply online, you need to wait to receive an approval notice. The credit card company will then contact your debtors on your behalf. They will proceed to pay to your debtors and then transfer the balance to your new card.
In some cases, the credit card company will offer you a zero percent promotion for a limited time, if you are able to clear your debt within that period, you will get to pay a loan a lower amount. It will be difficult to pay off your loan entirely during that period but at least the debt will stop growing when you are offered a 0 percent interest rate for a period.
Consolidating your debts does not take away the debts. The best that can happen is that your debt will be reduced. However, that does not change the fact that you need to make monthly payments. It is essential to make payments regularly to avoid missing payments. Missing payments can attract late fees which can increase your debt again.
You should read the lender’s terms and conditions and make your calculations before proceeding to get a consolidation loan.
You should be certain that the process will help you to make some savings before proceeding. It also vital to research the offers the lenders are willing to grant and choose the best option.
After a successful loan consolidation, it is easy to slip back into debts if you let your guard down. Try not to go back to your lifestyle completely. You can also always enjoy your luxurious life but make sure you do not spend beyond your means. Do not depend on borrowed cash to supplement your income at the end of the month. These habits will just grow debts for you.