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The Best Debt Consolidation Loans

Taking out a personal loan is a great way to consolidate your debt down to one payment. Compare and choose from our top pick’s lenders
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Some products that appear here are from companies from which this website receives compensation. This may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). It doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. our opinions are our own.

OneMain Financial

  • Overview
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

OneMain is unique to other online personal loan providers in that they have over 1,500 physical locations or branches. This is helpful to borrowers who may have issues getting lending with traditional banks. OneMain Financial is best for borrowers with less than perfect credit and could be a good fit for you if you have issues getting funding through traditional methods. OneMain rates are higher than average, but it is a much better deal than payday lenders. There is also have a quick turnaround time, so if you are in a financial jam they might be a good choice. 

However, if you have good to excellent credit, you may want to look at other providers first. This review will cover mostly OneMain Financial personal loan offerings, even though OneMain considers auto loans like personal loans.

  • Interest Rate Range: 18.00% – 35.99%
  • Minimum credit score: No Minimum
  • Terms: 24-60 months
  • Loan Amount: $1,500 -$20,000
  • Origination Fee: Up to 5% (varies by state)
  • Time to funding: As soon as same day
  • Application Options
  • Less than perfect Credit
  • Joint Applicants
  • No Prepayment Penalty
  • Many Payment Options
  • Higher interest rates
  • Fees
  • Not Available in All States
  • Restrictions

Monevo

  • Overview
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

Monevo is an internet platform that can easily and quickly connect you to a wide variety of personal loans. You can use the platform without affecting your credit score, and you can use the platform to explore a variety of different options without ever having to leave their convenient website.

Monevo's platform is built on cutting-edge technology that is easy and convenient to use for everyone. And the loans you can search for can be for as low as $500 all the way up to $100,000.

  • Interest Rate Range: 2.49% - 35.99% APR
  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • Terms: 3 - 144 months
  • Loan Amount: $500 – $100,000
  • Origination Fee: Varied by lender
  • Wide Range Of Loan Amounts
  • Fair & Bad Credit Scores Usually Accepted
  • Won’t Impact Your Credit Score
  • Loans Are Mixed
  • You’ll Receive Emails/Phone Calls
  • Limited Network

Lending Point

  • Overview
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

Lending Point is based in Kennesaw, Georgia. This online lender offers a competitive option for those with fair credit. Where Lending Point stands apart from many lenders is that you can qualify for a loan if your credit score is 585 or above. The company will also consider other factors to establish your eligibility including income, financial history, job history, overall credit behavior.

Lending Point does not have prepayment fees, but there is a potentially costly origination fee. This can be zero to 6% depending on your location. There is also a $30 late payment fee, applied after a 15 day grace period.

  • Interest Rate Range:  15.49% – 35.99%
  • Minimum credit score:  600
  • Terms: 24 to 48 months
  • Loan Amount:  $2,000 – $25,000
  • Origination Fee:  0%-6%
  • Minimum Income:  $20,000 annually
  • Funding:  Typically 1 day
  • Quick Turnaround Times
  • Soft Pull Inquiry
  • Good for borrowers with poor credit
  • Flexible repayments
  • No Prepayment Penalty
  • Smaller max amount
  • Origination Fee
  • High Rates
  • Large late payment fee
  • Not Available in All States

Best Egg

  • Overview
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

Best Egg offers personal loans for almost any purpose. You can use the proceeds of your loan to pay for home repairs, make a large purchase, refinance your credit card debt or consolidate existing debt. Over half a million Best Egg customers have borrowed over $9.3 billion.

If you have good credit, you can expect a very low interest rate, and loan processing is fast, taking just a few minutes to complete.

  • Interest Rate Range: 5.99% – 29.99%
  • Minimum credit score: 640
  • Terms: 36-60 months
  • Loan Amount: $2,000 -$35,000
  • Origination Fee: 0.99% – 5.99%
  • Soft Pull Inquiry
  • Competitive Rates
  • Simple Application Process
  • Quick Turnaround Times
  • No Prepayment Penalty
  • No Joint Applicants
  • Origination Fee
  • Large Amounts on Short Terms
  • Investing Restrictions
  • Not Available in All States

AmOne

  • Overview
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

AmONE is a  personal loan marketplace. With different lending options available, you can shop here for any type of personal loan. After becoming pre-qualified, they will help you find the right loan.  You will get approved quickly and can have access to the right loan for you within a matter of minutes. The first thing you will do is select the purpose of your personal loan and what your estimated credit score is. 

After this step, you input how much money you are trying to borrow and what your employment status is. It takes you through other basic information like income, marital status, and mortgage information. You can see your loan options right on the screen after inputting all your information. 

  • Interest Rate Range: 6.78-35.99%
  • Minimum credit score: 300
  • Terms: 24-84 months
  • Loan Amount: $1,000 – $50,000
  • Origination Fee: Varies based on lender
  • Time to funding: Varies based on lender
  • Easy Application Process
  • Compare Options
  • Excellent Service
  • Great Resources Available
  • Rate Information is Tucked Away
  • Detailed Application Process
  • Too much Information

Avant

  • Overview
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

Avant is one of the largest online lenders, focusing on those with very low credit scores. This is a Chicago based company, and most of its client base is middle class Americans.

You can use your loan for any purpose, including covering unexpected expenses, consolidating debt, or home improvements. Avant also has a solid customer service system with a 24/7 telephone line and impressive response times for customer problems.

To qualify, you must have paid current liabilities for a minimum of six years.

  • Interest Rate Range: 9.95% - 35.99%
  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • Terms: 24-60 Months
  • Loan Amount: $2,000 - $35,000
  • Origination Fee: up to 4.75%
  • Funding: 30 days from issued funds
  • Soft Pull Inquiry
  • Quick turnaround times
  • Good For Bad Credit
  • Late Fee Forgiveness
  • No Prepayment Penalty
  • Higher Interest Rates
  • Administration Fee
  • Not For Business Use
  • Not Available in All States

Table of Content

What is a Debt Consolidation Loan?

Debt consolidation is a financial strategy where you roll high-interest rate debts, such as credit cards, into a single loan that has a lower interest rate. It reduces your total debt and reorganizes it so you can pay it off much quicker.

For instance, if you have 3 credit cards with a combined outstanding balance on them totaling $25,000 and you ask your lender for a consolidation loan, he will give you the $25,000. That is if you are qualified. Then, you should pay off your 3 credit cards with that loan, close those cards and make a monthly payment to your lender for the $25,000 he advanced to you.

Your credit score can influence not only your credit card rate, but also your available credit limit. This chart using Experian data shows the average credit card debt by credit score. It shows that those with an average to good credit score have the highest amount of credit card debt.

This highlights that those with excellent credit scores are more likely to have a lower credit utilization ratio, and therefore carry less credit card debt. It also suggests that those with poor credit scores are more likely to have lower credit card limits or use alternative forms of credit.

Average Credit Card Debt by Credit Score

Consumer debt in the US has reached over $14 trillion, however, this debt can be across a number of categories. This chart using data from Experian highlights that for the average American, 71.7% of consumer debt relates to mortgages. This is followed by 10.1% for both student loans and auto costs.

This highlights that for most consumers their home purchase represents their largest amount of debt.

Breakdown of Outstanding Consumer Debt (1)

What are the Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Debt Consolidation Loan?

When considering a debt consolidation loan, here are the main factors you should take into account:

1. Interest Rate

The first thing you need to know is the interest rate of your loan.

When you’re applying for any loan it’s one of the first things that you’re going to ask about. Having great credit is going to help you with this process. You’ll be able to get a better interest rate and you’ll have a better chance of getting approved at the same time.

Now, when you start shopping around to different lenders look at these ratings. They will tell you how much it’s going to cost for you to get that particular loan. You will want to look at APR and APY at the same time. This is going to help you figure out the best possible balance for your loan. After all, it’s going to help you keep your costs down.

2. Fees

Next up are the fees that are associated with your debt consolidation. You could have a lot of fees associated with a loan or you could have a few. They could be large or small. In fact, some of them you might not even notice because they’re so small. But with everything from processing fees to origination fees and application fees you could definitely be ‘fee-d’ to death.

Not to mention if you end up late at any point you could be charged penalties. And if those fees and penalties put you over your limit you could be charged fees for that too. So, make sure that you’re fully aware of what you’re getting into and what type of fees you’re going to be charged.

3. Terms

The terms mean how long you’re going to have that loan for. What length of time do you have to pay everything back? Make sure you know exactly when the money is due and also that you’re being realistic about how much money you take out.

If you take out too much you may not be able to pay it back in time. You may end up with very large payments that you can’t make throughout the loan term.

How to Increase Your Chances to Get Consolidate Debt Loan?

When your credit is not too high, you might face issues when applying for a debt consolidation loan. Here are a couple of ways that can help you to increase your chances to get the loan:

Getting your credit score is actually simple and you can do it for free on several websites. But once you know that score you also want to work on improving it. Those with excellent credit, in the mid to high 700’s or above, don’t need to worry about increasing their score. In general these scores are all treated the same by the lender. If you have a lower score you could make a big impact on your offerings. If you’re really close to breaking into the next bracket this is even more important. For example, going from poor to good or good to very good. These classifications will help improve your loan offer.

Making sure each of your bills is paid on time and lowering the amount of debt you currently have will help you to improve your score.

So will getting rid of any false information that’s currently on your report. You want to make sure you have everything up-to-date and accurate.
Talk to the lender before you start this process to find out more about what you could be eligible for. Don’t try to get a loan for an amount that you’re never going to get. If you know you have great credit history and a stellar store you may be able to  get a higher loan amount and better terms. If you know your credit history is spotty or your score is less than ideal you should know what the options are for you.

Getting a copy of your credit report ahead of time is a good way to make sure you’re prepared.

This will give you time to correct any mistakes on the report and to evaluate it. That way you know what you should be able to get and what you likely aren’t able to. Also, make sure that you know what you can afford to pay each month. If you can’t afford to make the payments you’re going to be in even bigger trouble moving forward.

Make sure you’re asking questions. You want to know about different loan packages and different options. You want to know exactly what you’re going to need to apply for the loan. Also, you want to know all of the details about that loan.

So, make sure you ask questions of the lender. Find out how long the process will take, what you need and anything else you can. The more you know the faster everything else will go.

Avant home improvement is for home repairs or projects. The advantage of using an Avant home improvement loan is the promptness of receiving the funds. Typically, it takes a month or more to get an equity line of credit on your home. You can use an Avant loan to start your home improvement project immediately. Another advantage over a home equity line of credit is that it’s based on the credit worthiness of the borrower, not the equity of a home.

One of the first things you should do is get at least three quotes.

That means you don’t just go to your own lender. You also want to go to other places. And you want to use the lower of those quotes to get the offer you want at the place you want to go to. But remember, lower interest is only part of it. You also want to look at terms, fees and anything else associated with that new loan.

Make sure you’re prepared with everything you’re going to need when it comes time to apply.

Which paperwork do you need to have to fill out the paperwork or turn into your lender? Having a list of all of those documents can make it easier for you to get through the process. And you can do it much faster this way as well.
You want to slow down the speed at which you’re getting those quotes. If you’re applying for too many loans all at once it looks like you’re in financial trouble. That’s going to look bad when it comes to your second or third applications. Instead, you want to make sure that each loan company thinks they’re the only one that you’re going to. This improves your chances of getting approved.

Should I Consolidate My Debt?

This is going to depend on a few different factors. In general, debt can be made a bit easier to handle by going with debt consolidation, but that’s not always the case. Not everyone does better with this sort of approach.

One of the biggest benefits you’re going to have is only a single payment each month. This is compared to the large number of payments you could have with individual debts. This makes it easier to keep track of over time.

If you do decide to apply for a consolidation loan it’s actually quite simple to do.

Just about any financial institution handles them and they will generally make it as simple as possible. You don’t have a lot of paperwork and you don’t have to wait a long time to find out if you’re approved. In fact, you may even be approved right then and there.

This makes it a lot easier than other types of loans.

You’re not guaranteed to get a low interest rate and this will depend on your institution and your credit, but these types of loans generally have far lower interest than your credit cards or whatever type of debt you’re trying to consolidate.

You want to know that for sure, however. So make sure you compare your current rates with the rates you’re being offered. That’s especially true for credit card balance transfers with short intro periods.

One of the biggest drawbacks and dangers with this type of loan is that you’re clearing off all of your other debt and replacing it with a new debt.

For some, this could actually put them in danger of getting right back into the same debt again. The problem is that you’ll actually be in twice as much trouble. Home equity loans make this even more dangerous and could put you in a dire financial situation. Plus you’re at risk of losing your home or you’re going to have a larger mortgage than the home may be worth.

You may pay less interest every month with a debt consolidation, but you could end up paying more overall depending on the type of loan you get. You could end up with a home equity loan that makes you pay more for your debt over that term of 30 or more years than you would otherwise.

Personal loans are considered one of the most convenient methods of finance. This is reflected in the outstanding personal loan balances in the US. In this chart compiled with data from TransUnion and The Wall Street Journal, you can see that over the last decade the outstanding balances have increased from $49 billion in 2010 to $156 billion in 2019. Apart from a dip in 2011, there has been a steady upward trend.

Outstanding Personal Loan Balances in the U.S. ($ Billions)

The Alternatives To Debt Consolidation Loan

Let’s say you don’t want to consolidate your loans. Then what can you do? Well, there are several different options. It all depends on what kind of debt-to-income ratio you have as well as the credit score you have. For those who have a great credit score, you can make the most of consolidation. But there are other options.

Balance Transfer

If you don’t want to or can’t do a debt consolidation loan but you do want to get all of your debt together this is a great way to go. If you can get a 0% interest transfer you will then transfer all of the debt to it. This means you can save money on interest over the life of the debt. Just keep in mind that you have to pay the debt off before the promo period ends.

Keep in mind that you’re going to be offered a short term low-interest rate. It might be 0% or it might be up to 5%, but it’s only going to last for a certain amount of time. You want to make sure you know how to pay off everything within that period of time because it’s going to save you money. By taking advantage of the no-interest portion of the exchange you can join all of your debts together and get all of the same benefits as a consolidation loan.

Home Equity Loan / HELOC

This is also known as a second mortgage, and it’s something important to consider.

Now, with this type of loan you’re going to work with a lender and take out a loan. But your home is going to be the collateral for it. This can be a big risk for some people because you want to make sure you don’t lose your house. You could end up losing your home and still being in a great deal of debt if you’re not careful here.

In order to get this type of loan you generally need good credit and equity built into your home.

You need to be able to get a good amount back. You also need to get a low-interest rate on the loan. This is going to help you pay off as much as possible though it’s going to reduce your equity in your home.

Now, make sure you’re going to be able to make the payments on this type of loan. If you don’t make those payments you’re going to end up in foreclosure. If you’ve ever seen this happen to someone else you definitely know how horrible it can be. Still, this type of loan can be great because you have very low interest. You just need to make sure you know what you’re trading in and what you’re going to be risking overall.

Home equity lines of credit are loans that allow the homeowner to borrow against the equity in their property. This can be an effective way to restructure finance, pay for home improvements or pay for a significant purchase.

As the following chart using FED Survey of Consumer Finances 2019 data, the average by family lines of credit fluctuates over time. In 2001, the average was at a low of $37,000 per family. This peaked in 2010 at $64,000.

Home-Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC)

401k Loan

Now, this is not exactly the same as a traditional loan. When you take a 401k loan,  you’re going to be the one who decides to take the money out and you take whatever you want (to an extent). From there you have to pay the money back as quickly as you can. That’s because you’re taking retirement funds out of your account and that costs a lot of money. You can only take up to 50% of the vested money or $50,000. You get the lesser of those two and then you’ll have to pay it all back within a period of five years.

If you don’t pay it back in five years you’ll end up with even larger fees and fines.

At least, unless you get an extension through your employer. These only apply for specific situations. For example, if you use it as a down payment on a house you may be able to get an extension on paying back the money that you borrow. You’ll also have an interest rate that has nothing to do with your overall credit score.

Loan Reviews Methodology

When it comes to choosing personal, student or car loans, we make sure that we evaluate all of the different products and services that are available for the lender we review. 

The Smart Investor’s selection of loan providers for inclusion here was made based on key areas we evaluated: loan types and loan products offered, fees, and APR. We also considering customer satisfaction and reliable external ratings such as J.D power/Trustpilot.

Cutting fees is now table stakes in the personal and student loans market. In addition, the most valuable loan products tend to offer a deep bench of options that meet a wide array of customer needs. These include a diverse range of loan amounts and terms, as well as loan structures. We also make sure that you’re going to save money by cutting down on the APR that goes along with the loans offered.