When you have bills to pay, it’s easy to lose track of them and miss a payment. If you’re struggling to keep up with your debt, or if you just want to save money on credit card bills, consider debt consolidation.
Why we chose it: This lender disburses loan amounts quickly and offers direct payment to your original creditors when you take out a debt consolidation loan.
Overview: Achieve is another lender worth exploring if you’re looking to borrow more than $5,000. Its loans come with an origination fee between 1.99% - 6.99%, and you can choose a repayment term of 24 to 60 months. Achieve also offers a quick funding timeline with consumers receiving their personal loan funds in as little as 48 hours after they are approved.
May receive loans within 48 hours of approval
Can choose your payment due date
Allows for co-applicants
Loans are not offered in all 50 states
Charges an origination fee of 1.99% - 6.99%
High minimum borrowing amount of ($5,000)
Eligibility requirements: While Achieve isn’t exactly clear on the specifics, this lender takes the following factors into consideration when deciding whether to approve you for a loan:
Why we chose it: Avant is willing to work with borrowers with low credit scores and provides quick funding.
Overview: Avant offers personal loans for debt consolidation between $2,000 and $35,000, which you can pay off over the course of 12 to 60 months. Two potential downsides to consider: You might have to pay an origination fee of Up to 4.75%, and you likely can’t apply with a cosigner, which could make it difficult for some consumers with low credit scores to qualify.
Funding as soon as the next business day
Low credit score requirements (most Avant borrowers have scores between 600 and 700)
No prepayment penalty
Must pay an origination fee (Up to 4.75%)
Does not allow for co-applicants
Unclear about specific eligibility requirements for personal loans
Eligibility requirements: Avant isn’t entirely clear about its eligibility criteria, but it does offer consumers the opportunity to prequalify. However, applicants must have a personal checking or savings account to qualify for a loan with Avant.
Why we chose it: With competitive interest rates and flexible loan amounts, Best Egg may be a good route for those with good credit to consolidate their debt.
Overview: Unlike some other loan companies, Best Egg makes its credit score requirements explicit: You must have a score of at least 580 to take out a loan. Assuming you can meet this and other requirements, you could score an APR as low as 8.99% and may be able to borrow up to $50,000.
May receive funds as soon as the next business day
Option to change your due date
No prepayment penalties for paying your loan off early
Charges an origination fee of 0.99% - 8.99%
High credit score requirement (580)
High income requirement to receive lowest APR
Eligibility requirements: Other than a minimum credit score of 580, Best Egg does not specify other qualification criteria, such as debt-to-income ratio or credit history. However, you will need to provide the following information during the application process:
Why we chose it: Happy Money is specifically out to serve those who are looking to refinance their credit card debt and is up front about its eligibility requirements.
Overview: Happy Money is a solid option for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit since it specifies a relatively low credit score requirement of 640. With this lender, you can borrow up to $40,000 and pay it off over a maximum period of 60 months. Note that a personal loan through Happy Money can only be used to consolidate your credit card debt.
Eligibility requirements are clear
No prepayment penalties or late fees
Rates may be lower than credit card interest rates
Loans can only be used to consolidate credit card debt
May charge an origination fee (0.00% - 5.00%)
No joint applications
Eligibility requirements: To qualify with Happy Money, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:
Why we chose it: LightStream has some of the most competitive interest rates on the market and may be a good choice for consumers with excellent credit.
Overview: LightStream emerges as the winner in several important categories. It offers one of the lowest APRs at the time of writing, with rates starting at just 5.99%. Plus, it offers large-amount loans up to $100,000 and gives you a maximum of 144 months to pay them off. However, LightStream does not offer the opportunity to get preapproved for a loan.
Low APR (5.99%*)
Charges zero fees
High maximum loan amount of $100,000)
No prequalification services
High minimum loan amount of $5,000
Eligibility requirements: Because LightStream only approves consumers with good to excellent credit, here’s what qualities they believe fall under the “excellent credit” category:
*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $304.17. © 2023 Truist Financial Corporation. Truist, LightStream, and the LightStream logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.
Why we chose it: While this lender doesn’t have the lowest rates on the market, low-credit borrowers may have an easier time getting qualified with this lender.
Overview: OneMain Financial offers higher rates than many other lenders, with APRs starting at 18.00%. However, it might be worth exploring if you have relatively weak credit. In particular, this lender may be a good choice for bad credit borrowers who also own valuable collateral, as OneMain Financial offers secured loans.
Offers secured loans
May receive funds within one day of approval
Flexible loan term options
High minimum APR (18.00%)
May lose collateral if you take out a secured loan and fall behind
Unclear eligibility requirements
Eligibility requirements: While OneMain Financial doesn’t specify exactly what its personal loan qualifications are, it does examine the following factors:
Why we chose it: Prosper offers a unique alternative to traditional lending by instead providing peer-to-peer lending. Instead of the lender providing your funds, investors will fund your loan.
Overview: Prosper is a peer-to-peer lender that connects borrowers with investors. It offers a fast, easy, online process that lets you prequalify for offers before you submit a full application. You’ll get a fixed interest rate that won’t change over the life of your loan, but you may have to pay an origination fee ranging from 1.00% - 5.00%.
Offers quick funding
Flexible loan amount options
Peer-to-peer lending alternative to traditional lenders
Limited options for loan terms
Charges an origination fee
Charges late fees
Eligibility requirements: Prosper isn’t entirely clear on its requirements for potential borrowers, but during the application process, you will need to provide basic personal and financial information.
Why we chose it: With its lack of required fees, large loan amounts and flexible loan terms, SoFi is a solid choice for those with good credit looking to consolidate their debt.
Overview: SoFi offers some of the largest loan amounts and longest repayment terms on this list of debt consolidation loan companies. You may be able to borrow up to $100,000 and choose a repayment term of up to 24 to 84 months. Plus, you don’t have to worry about being required to pay fees, including an origination fee, on your loan.
Same-day funding available
Doesn’t charge any fees
Allows for co-applicants
High minimum borrowing amount of $5,000
High minimum credit score requirement
Not available to LendingTree customers in Vermont
Eligibility requirements: Other than its credit score requirement, SoFi also has requirements around employment. To be eligible, borrowers must either be:
Why we chose it: Upgrade may be a good option if your credit could use some work. It offers quick funding, an autopay discount and long loan terms.
Overview: Upgrade is another online lender that provides debt consolidation loans up to $50,000. It also offers a relatively long repayment term of up to 84 months, but there’s no penalty for paying off your loan earlier. However, you may have to pay an origination fee (1.85% - 8.99%), and you may have to pay a late fee if you’re more than 15 days behind.
Flexible loan terms of 24 to 84 months
Potential autopay discount
May receive funds as soon as one business day
Charges an origination fee (1.85% - 8.99%)
Isn’t clear on some eligibility requirements
May have to pay late fees
Eligibility requirements: Upgrade doesn’t outline all of its eligibility requirements, but it will evaluate your credit history, credit score and your credit utilization ratio.
Why we chose it: This lender may be a good choice for those with thin credit history and lower credit scores.
Overview: Upstart might be a good choice if you’re looking for a small loan, as it lets you borrow loans starting at just $1,000. It also offers low APRs starting at 6.70%, but you’ll need strong credit to get the lowest rates. Upstart also charges an origination fee (0.00% - 10.00%) and has limited loan terms.
Flexible loan ranges
Able to use loan funds to cover student debt
May receive funds as quickly as one business day
Doesn’t offer joint applications or secured loans
Limited loan repayment terms
Charges an origination fee (0.00% - 10.00%)
Eligibility requirements: To get a loan from Upstart, you must be a citizen or permanent resident living in the U.S. You must have a current full-time job, a full-time job that starts within six months or another source of income.
Why we chose it: Wells Fargo not only offers large borrowing amounts, but flexible repayment terms as well.
Overview: If you’re looking for a large debt consolidation loan, Wells Fargo might be able to help. It offers loans up to $100,000 and repayment terms as long as 12 to 84 months.
Wells Fargo loans don’t include any types of fees, such as origination fees, late fees and prepayment penalties. You can use its online calculator to get an idea of what repayment would look like.
On top of that, consumers may receive a loan approval as quickly as one business day.
High maximum loan amount of $100,000
Charges no origination, closing or prepayment fees
May be approved within one business day
High minimum loan amount of $3,000
May charge late fees
Only offers personal loans to Wells Fargo customers
Eligibility requirements: In order to be eligible for a personal loan with Wells Fargo, you’ll need to be a current customer with this bank.
Debt consolidation is a debt management strategy that involves rolling one or multiple debts into another form of financing. For instance, you may take out a debt consolidation loan or balance transfer credit card and use it to pay off existing debts with better terms.
Ideally, you’ll want to consolidate your debt to a lower APR than what you’re currently paying. This can help you save money on interest, lower your monthly payments and pay off debt faster.
Although there are many ways to consolidate debt, it generally works the same way: You pay off one or more debts using a new debt. Some popular debt consolidation methods include personal loans and balance transfer credit cards.
Depending on your unique situation — how much debt you have to consolidate, your credit score, how soon you need the funds, what type of debt you have and other factors — one method may work better for you than another.
→ Personal loans:
Combine many types of debt into one fixed monthly payment with a debt consolidation loan.
→ Balance transfer credit cards:
Consolidate credit card debt onto a balance transfer credit card with a lower APR.
→ Home equity loans:
Tap your home’s equity to pay off debt by using your home as collateral.
→ Debt management plans:
Enroll in a DMP through a certified nonprofit credit counseling agency to repay your debt in three to five years.
1. Track debt repayment
Once you consolidate your debts, regardless of which method you use, you’ll have one bill to pay. This can help you stay on top of your finances and set an attainable goal for your debt repayment plan.
2. Save money on interest
Ideally, you’ll use a financial product with a lower interest rate and fewer fees than what’s charged on your current debts. This reduction in interest will help you save money you’d have been required to pay had you not consolidated.
3. Build your credit score
Paying off credit card debt with a loan can have an immediate effect on your credit score by lowering your credit utilization ratio. This is the total amount of credit available to you versus the amount of credit card debt you have.
Credit counseling is a nonprofit service to help you manage expenses and debt payments more effectively. A credit counselor may set you up on a debt management plan and even negotiate debts and monthly payments on your behalf.
Debt settlement involves negotiating with your creditors to lower the amount of debt you owe and reduce fees charged to your account. Some companies offer this service, but these programs may come with high fees and can severely damage your credit.
Bankruptcy is a legal process offering debt relief for an individual or business. When you file for bankruptcy, your assets may be sold to repay your creditors, or you may be enrolled in a court-ordered debt repayment plan.
Debt consolidation can help you keep track of payments, get a lower interest rate and pay off your debt faster. It’s a smart move under the right circumstances, but you’ll want to weigh your options to see if this is a good idea for your situation.
For example, it’s not worth consolidating if you can’t get a lower APR on the new form of financing than what you’re currently paying on your debts. But when you consolidate debt for a lower APR, you’ll save money in the long run, and you may be able to save money on monthly payments, too.
Debt consolidation can affect your credit score. There might be a small drop in your credit score after consolidating debt, since you are taking out a new credit product or loan. You might also see a dip in your credit score if you settle a debt or work with a debt management service.
Some borrowers see their credit score increase by consolidating debt, particularly credit card balances. Paying off credit card balances lowers your credit utilization ratio, which can give your credit score a boost.
Whatever the initial effect on your credit score, debt consolidation can help you increase your credit score over the long term. If you choose an option with affordable payments, you can build up a healthy payment history, which is central to a good credit score.
Applicants with good credit will have a wider range of debt consolidation options. They can get approved more easily for balance transfer credit cards with introductory 0% APR periods and personal loans with lower APRs.
Still, there may be options for consolidating debt if you have bad credit. You could try a secured loan, such as a home equity loan, which may come with a lower APR. There are also 401(k) loans, which let you borrow money from your own retirement fund without a credit check.
That will depend on your financial situation. There are a few primary methods of debt consolidation, including personal loans, balance transfer credit cards and home equity loans. You may also consider a 401(k) loan or debt management plan to consolidate debt. To learn about your options, talk to a credit counselor who can provide free or low-cost guidance on your debt relief options.
It always costs money to borrow money, which is why you want to find the debt consolidation option with the lowest APR to save yourself the most money in the long run.
Different debt consolidation options come with their own set of interest rates and fees. For example, some personal loan lenders charge origination fees, while a home equity loan can incur appraisal fees and closing costs. Even a credit card balance transfer can come with a fee.
Debt consolidation has the potential to save you money, but it’s not guaranteed. To save money, you’ll have to consolidate your debt into another form of financing that has a lower APR than what you’re currently paying on your debts. Before you consolidate debt, it’s important to take a look at your current credit card and loan agreements to determine the APR you’re paying, so you can shop around for financial products that will save you money.
If your goal is to get out of debt faster, consolidating your debts can be a smart move. Consolidating with a personal loan, for example, can give you the option to choose a short loan term, so your debt will be paid off sooner. And if you get a lower APR than what you’re currently paying on your debts, then you can pay off your debt faster even if you pay the same amount of money toward your debt each month.
There are several places to seek a consolidation loan, including banks, credit unions and online lenders. You can also see if you prequalify for a loan through LendingTree’s network of lenders using our personal loan marketplace. Just fill out a single form, and you’ll know if you’re eligible within minutes.
Secured debt is tied to an asset you own, called collateral. Some borrowers can more easily qualify for a secured loan and even pay less in interest. But if you stop repaying the loan, the lender has the right to claim that collateral and sell it to settle the debt. Home equity loans are a type of secured debt that can be used for consolidation.
Unsecured debt doesn’t require that you have or put up collateral for the loan. Personal loans and credit cards are examples of unsecured debt. With no collateral on the line, lenders will rely more on an applicant’s credit score to decide whether to extend a loan and how to determine your APR.
We looked at 16 lenders that offer debt consolidation loans to determine the 11 best lenders for this service. By offering a detailed and objective account of each lender’s rates and terms, LendingTree’s goal is to provide you with all the information you need to make a financially sound decision specific to your situation.
Here are the criteria we assessed to choose the best debt consolidation lenders: