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Debt Loan Consolidation

The best personal loans for debt consolidation offer low annual percentage rates (APRs) and flexible repayment terms, while avoiding fees like prepayment penalties, so you can retire debt early without having to pay a fee.

debt loan consolidation

Achieve (formerly FreedomPlus) is an indirect lending platform that offers personal loans underwritten by Cross River Bank or MetaBank. Founded in 2014, the lender is one of our top picks for debt consolidation loans because of the flexible loan terms (two to five years) and loan amounts ($7,500 to $40,000). These characteristics make it easier to consolidate a large amount of debt while spreading payments out over a lengthy period of time and reducing monthly payments.

Like some of our other top picks, Achieve also offers direct payment to creditors. In fact, borrowers who put 85% of the total loan amount toward debt consolidation via direct payment are more likely to qualify for a loan.

And, while Discover does charge a late payment fee, it does not charge any origination fees or prepayment penalties, making it competitive with other top personal loan providers. Discover also will disperse funds directly to third-party creditors, which can save time when trying to consolidate your debt and take control of your finances. Finally, Discover stands out because of its online application and mobile banking tools, well-reviewed customer support team and quick funding.

Eligibility: To qualify for a Discover personal loan for debt consolidation, prospective borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 660; the average Discover borrower has a score of 750. Discover does not require applicants to have a minimum credit history length, but applicants must demonstrate a minimum household income of $25,000 per year. Applicants also are evaluated based on their credit history, recent credit activities and other credit inquiries. Co-signers and co-applicants are not permitted.

Loan uses: Loans from Upgrade must be used to pay off credit cards, consolidate other debt, make home improvements or pay for other large purchases. Unlike some other lenders, Upgrade also offers direct payment to third-party creditors, though it can take longer for these funds to be processed.

Eligibility: To qualify for a Happy Money debt consolidation loan, applicants must have a minimum credit score of 640, though approved applicants have an average score of 705. To be eligible, applicants also must have a minimum credit history of three years, no current delinquencies and a debt-to-income ratio under 50%. There is no minimum income requirement, but Happy Money does not offer borrowers a co-signer or co-applicant option, so applicants must qualify based on their individual financial circumstances.

Loan uses: Happy Money specializes in credit card debt consolidation, making it an excellent option for readers who want to take control of their finances and streamline their debt repayment.

Best Egg is a lending platform available to borrowers in every state except Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. Personal loans are issued by Cross River Bank and range from $2,000 to $35,000, though offers up to $50,000 may be available. Loan proceeds can be used for debt consolidation, and payment terms are available from three to five years, so Best Egg can be a great way to consolidate your other debts and spread the payments out over time.

Loan uses: As with other top lenders on our list, borrowers can use Best Egg personal loan funds to simplify their finances through debt consolidation and credit card refinancing. Still, Best Egg loans are just as flexible as those offered by other lenders, and can be used for a variety of purposes, including everything from home improvement to moving and relocation or taxes and medical expenses. As with many other lenders, however, loan proceeds cannot be used for post-secondary educational expenses, purchasing or carrying any securities or illegal activity.

Turnaround time: The application process for a Best Egg personal loan can take less than five minutes. Expect loan approval and funding to take one to three business days, although some customers may receive same-day funding.

Turnaround time: LendingClub borrowers typically receive their loan funds as soon as four days after loan approval. However, this timeline may vary if an application is complete or if the lender requires additional documentation or verification.

Eligibility: LightStream recommends applicants have good to excellent credit before applying for a personal loan. To increase their chances of approval, applicants also should have several years of credit history, including multiple account types, as well as an income that is stable enough to service current debts and a new LightStream loan.

SoFi is an online lending platform that offers unsecured fixed-rate personal loans in every state except Mississippi. Founded in 2011, SoFi has extended over $50 billion in loans and stands out for allowing high loan amounts and its availability of extended loan terms.

Eligibility: Personal loan applicants should have a minimum credit score of 650. However, many successful applicants have a score of 700 or higher. Applicants also must have an annual income of at least $45,000, though the average income of a SoFi borrower is over $100,000.

Loan uses: In general, SoFi personal loans are limited to use for personal, family and household purposes. This means a borrower can use loan funds to cover things like medical costs, credit card consolidation, home improvements and relocation costs. However, SoFi loans cannot be used to fund a new business venture, the purchase of real estate, investments and securities, post-secondary education or short-term bridge financing.

We reviewed 15 popular lenders based on 11 data points in the categories of loan details, loan costs, eligibility and accessibility, customer experience and the application process. We chose the 10 best lenders based on the weighting assigned to each category:

Personal loans often are available online through traditional banks, credit unions and alternative lending platforms so you can apply quickly and conveniently, without having to visit a bank branch. Many of these lenders also offer competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms, meaning you may be able to save money by consolidating your other debts.

Debt consolidation is when a borrower takes out a new loan, usually with more favorable terms (a lower interest rate, lower monthly payment or both) and then uses the loan proceeds to pay off their other individual debts. Debt consolidation loans are commonly used to help pay off credit card balances, auto loans and other personal loans.

Consolidation loans have the potential to affect your credit score in several ways. Applying for a loan requires a hard credit check, which can result in a small dip in your credit score. However, the impact of the inquiry on your score will decrease over time and disappear typically after two years. Your credit score may also decrease if you take out a debt consolidation loan, pay off your credit cards and then rack up more debt on those cards.

Debt consolidation comes with various advantages and disadvantages. For instance, it may help you streamline finances, expedite your payoff, lower your interest rates and reduce your monthly payments. However, it may come with added costs, an increase in total interest paid over time and the urge to increase your spending.

Approval turnaround times typically vary per institution. For example, some online lenders may approve your loan within a matter of minutes, while banks may take a few days or up to a week to process. Once your loan is approved, funding can arrive within 24 to 48 hours or up to one week, depending on your lender.

Also, keep in mind that once you are approved for a debt consolidation loan, it might take several weeks to pay off your existing debts, depending on the lender. They will likely still hold you responsible for any payment due dates within that waiting period.

Kiah Treece is a licensed attorney and small business owner with experience in real estate and financing. Her focus is on demystifying debt to help individuals and business owners take control of their finances.

A representative example of payment terms for a Personal Loan is as follows: a borrower receives a loan of $14,861 for a term of 36 months, with an interest rate of 13.49% and a 6.00% origination fee of $892, for an APR of 17.89%. In this example, the borrower will receive $13,969 and will make 36 monthly payments of $504. Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $40,000 and loan term lengths range from 24 months to 60 months. Some amounts, rates, and term lengths may be unavailable in certain states.

For Personal Loans, APR ranges from 8.05% to 36.00% and origination fee ranges from 2.00% to 6.00% of the loan amount. APRs and origination fees are determined at the time of application. Lowest APR is available to borrowers with excellent credit. Advertised rates and fees are valid as of October 11, 2022 and are subject to change without notice.

Consolidation loans are eligible for loan forgiveness under the PSLF Program if you meet additional program requirements. The PSLF Program forgives your remaining debt if you make 120 qualifying payments while working full-time for a qualifying non-profit or government employer.

If you applied to consolidate your FFEL Program loans and/or Perkins Loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan by October 31, 2022, and timely submitted your PSLF form to MOHELA, be assured your PSLF form will be evaluated under the limited PSLF waiver rules. These time-limited changes to PSLF Program rules allow borrowers to receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF. This opportunity ended on October 31, 2022.

Note: Just remember, you must continue making payments after submitting your application until you receive notice from your servicer that underlying loans have been paid off. You have the option to select the servicer of your choice (of which, Nelnet is an option). 041b061a72