Behavior Factors and Loan Features to Consider When Planning for Debt Consolidation

When considering obtaining a debt consolidation loan, consumers must consider their own behavior in addition to features of the loan. A decision about the right consolidation loan is unique to each individual and cannot depend only on factors like the interest rate. Although financial experts focus heavily on interest charges, borrowers must also be certain they can afford the monthly payments and will not default. That might mean choosing a loan with a bit higher rate that can be paid back over a longer time frame.

Credit Rating Considerations

If the person is already behind on some credit cards or a personal loan, the credit rating has almost assuredly dropped. Even one late payment can bring the rating down by several points. The score may also be lower than the person would like because he or she is too close to the maximum on several accounts.

Two Reasons to Consider a Consolidation Loan

When someone has been struggling to make minimum payments on several outstanding balances, a consolidation loan can be a smart idea as long as the one monthly payment is easily affordable.

This loan also may be the best solution if the person is at risk of eviction from an apartment or foreclosure on a house. The same is true if this man or woman is behind on car payments and is at risk of repossession. The consolidation loan can include outstanding obligations like credit card balances and also provide enough money to catch up on arrears. Again, however, it’s essential to make sure the monthly payment is affordable when adding in those extra expenses. Acting out of desperation can be tempting but can lead to disaster.

Obligations Not to Include

Some loans should not be included, even if the person is in default. A federally funded student loan, for example, should not be rolled into a private consolidation loan because all governmental protections are lost when this is done.

Researching the Options

Doing some research on consolidation loan options helps the person narrow down possibilities to those most likely to approve the application. Information is available online in regard to the minimum income and credit score that various lenders require.