When is Credit Card Consolidation the Right Thing to Do?

By: Court Tuttle

If you are deep in debt that you can't seem to climb out of, maybe you have thought of credit card consolidation. After all, having a lot of credit cards and spending too much on each of them is what got you into this mess in the first place, is it not? So maybe this is the perfect solution for all of your credit card problems.

Maybe... Debt consolidation can do either of two things. It can either ease your debt burden and help you to finally but slowly crawl out of the endless pit that you dug for yourself, or it can only make the hole deeper. Depending on what form of debt consolidation you choose and what kind of spending habits you plan on having after you have found this wonderful solution, you may or may not get out of debt. It is important to know what debt consolidation is, how many different things you can do to consolidate your debt, and which one is right for you and the circumstances you are in.

You could opt to put all of your debt into your home. A home equity loan or home equity line of credit is a great solution for some, because the interest rates are so much better on a home loan than on credit cards. Still, it is important to weigh out the pros and cons. If you choose to refinance your home to pay off your credit card debt, you are putting your home on the line, and may, if you do not pay your bills, actually lose that home.

Another way you could consolidate your debt is to put it all onto one credit card with a low interest rate. This will save you a lot of money on interest because you are not paying so much to so many different creditors. Just one payment, one credit card, and one interest rate. Still, this is risky also because your low interest rate can go up either because it only existed for a certain period of time, or because you neglected to make even a single payment on time.

One option you may take is a credit card consolidation loan. That is when you go to the bank, take out a loan, pay off all your credit cards, and then continue to just make one payment to the bank on your new loan. This, in many ways, can be convenient and effective. Still, it may not save you money.

Because you do not have the greatest credit history, you may not qualify for a low interest rate on your loan. This also applies when you are getting a low interest credit card. If you do not qualify for such a rate, you may end up spending more in interest than you did in the first place. Make sure that the interest rate you are paying now to several creditors actually is more than you would be paying if you took out a loan by adding it all up into one interest rate, then comparing it to the interest rate you would get if you took out a loan.

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