Online Debt Consolidation
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What Is Online Debt Consolidation?
Consumers who want to consolidate debt, can expedite the process by using online tools to enroll in either nonprofit debt consolidation (better known as a debt management program) or a debt consolidation loan program.
The online process for both will mean filling out forms with personal and financial information that helps companies evaluate the consumer’s chances for success.
Nonprofit debt consolidation is not a loan, and credit score is not a factor. Nonprofit debt consolidation helps reduce the interest rate to somewhere around 8% and lowers the monthly payment to an affordable level, so the debt is paid off in 3-5 years.
A debt consolidation loan, as the name indicates, means borrowing enough money from a bank, credit union or online lender to pay off credit card debt. The borrower then repays the loan with a single monthly payment at an interest rate that hopefully is far less than what the credit card companies charge
Consolidate Online with a Nonprofit Debt Consolidation Program
Nonprofit debt consolidation may be recommended after completing a credit counseling session.
With InCharge Debt Solutions, you can go through credit counseling online and determine if you are eligible for a nonprofit debt consolidation program. Our step-by-step software helps you develop a budget, pulls your credit report to list the total amount you owe, and formulates a plan to help you lower your monthly bill payments and consolidate debt. Working with our online program allows you to take your time, review your accounts, and customize your plan. If you have questions or prefer to work with a credit counselor, help is available over the phone.
Benefits of Online Nonprofit Debt Consolidation
Federal law demands that nonprofit credit counseling agencies offer debt solutions that are in clients’ best interests. If they don’t, they could have their status revoked as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
The goal of a nonprofit is to help with consolidating debt and give advice based on the details of your situation. Nonprofits offer this service regardless of your ability to pay for counseling and other services.
By contrast, many for-profit financial institutions offer products, services, and advice that benefit the firm’s bottom line more than the client.
Part of our responsibility as a nonprofit is to operate in the customer’s best interest and not be driven by a sales commission or profit motive.
Advantages of a nonprofit debt consolidation program:
- Counselors work with credit card companies to consolidate bills into one affordable monthly payment by reducing interest rates.
- Interest rates on credit card debt can be reduced to around 8% from levels that typically are found in the 20%-30% range.
- Credit score is not a factor in qualifying for the program.
- Online tools are offered to track progress and to increase financial literacy.
- Enrolling in the program stops calls from collection agencies.
- The program is designed to eliminate credit card debt in 3-5 years.
Online Debt Consolidation Loans
Not everyone enjoys sitting across the table from a banker and spilling their guts to get out of a financial crisis. Fortunately, the internet has become a marketplace for debt consolidation loans.
Many lending agencies, especially those that have sprung up online in the past 10 years, offer consumers an opportunity to go through the application process without visiting a bank or credit union.
Here are just a few of the places where you can start and finish a debt consolidation loan online:
- Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lender. Borrowers fill out a profile to apply for a debt consolidation loan. Lending Club uses a proprietary formula to score borrowers and tier interest rates, including credit scores. Interest rates range from 6.34% to 35.89% and could be less than half the interest rate paid on credit cards.
- Prosper is another online debt consolidation loan option. Maximum loan amounts are $40,000; average interest rates range between 7.95% and 35.99%, and a “closing fee” paid to Prosper of approximately 1% of the loan.
- Avant targets customers with credit scores under 700. The company directly funds each loan, and its interest rates are a little higher than the competition – between 10% and 36% — but there is no origination fee. Loan terms vary from two to five years.
- Upstart looks at young borrowers who might not have much credit history. Their computer model considers your education level, your college major, and what kind of job history you have. Loans range from $1,000 to $50,000.
- LightStream offers low rates to borrowers with solid credit profiles – as low as 2.49% with autopay – and you can borrow from $5,000 to $100,000. Loan terms are from two to seven years, with interest rates capped at 20%.
Qualifying for a decent rate takes good credit and enough income to prove you can maintain a regular payment schedule. If you’re new to borrowing credit, you should take the proper steps to build a robust credit profile to qualify for the best deals and save the most money.
How to Get A Debt Consolidation Loan Online
The internet offers a gateway to several online funding sources for borrowers needing relief. From start-up, peer-to-peer lending platforms like Prosper and Funding Circle to traditional banks like Wells Fargo and Chase, borrowers are met with many options.
Nonprofit debt consolidation differs from a debt consolidation loan; the former is a program open to all credit profiles and designed to pay off debt over 3-5 years. The latter, by contrast, offers more flexibility while being harder to come by. Most debt consolidation loans require good credit, if the borrower wishes to save money by reducing interest.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to pick the right online lender.
- Comparison Shop: Research and compare the rates, terms, and fees available online. Lenders will use your credit profile to determine loan details. Borrowers with high credit scores and solid income will have the most options, but several lenders offer programs for those with a minimal credit history.
- Check Rates/Pre-approval: Many lenders will give borrowers a peek at possible interest rates and terms after reviewing some basic personal info. Lenders call it “pre-approval” because your credit score isn’t harmed while checking your rate. This lets you compare dozens of lenders to lock in the best value. Try comparing rates from at least two or three lenders before deciding where to fund your loan.
- Terms and Conditions: Read the details of your loan contract. Ensure the rates, terms, and fees make sense for your situation. A high origination fee could make it hard to rationalize a loan, especially for smaller amounts. For instance, an 8% origination fee on a $2,000 loan would mean receiving an actual amount of $1,840. Do the math. You’ll know it’s the right move if you’re saving more in interest than you’re spending on fees.
- Finalize: This usually requires a hard credit check that will drop your credit score for a brief period. Sign the paperwork and receive funding. Most lenders will have money in your account within a few days though it could take up to 2-3 weeks.
Choosing an Online Debt Consolidation Company
Reputable nonprofit debt consolidation companies offer a full suite of online tools for personalized debt relief. Here are some guidelines for choosing an online company to help consolidate debt.
- Value: It’s hard to eliminate debt if you’re overpaying in interest and fees. Look for a company that can lower the interest rate you pay, lower your monthly payment, and eliminate your debt in 3-5 years.
- Customer service: The company should prioritize your needs and design a unique strategy that is tailored to your finances. By law, nonprofit agencies must consider their customers’ needs first or risk losing their nonprofit status. For-profit companies often worry about their bottom line first and your problems second.
- Trust: Debt-laden borrowers are an easy target for fraudsters. Check the track record for any company you’re considering. How long have they been in business? What are their customers saying about them on review sites? Are their credit counselors accredited? Make them earn your trust before you commit to doing business with them.
- Transparency: A company’s website should answer any concerns about the value the business provides, the commitment it has to customer service, and the track record that says you can trust them. Things like who is eligible; what kind of programs are offered; what are the costs for the service; where is the company located; what are the hours of operation; how can you reach customer service; all should be easily accessible on the company website.
- Reviews: Customers are a reliable resource for reviewing companies you are considering, especially regarding fees and other service costs. Most companies belong to the Better Business Bureau, which provides a source for reviews. Companies that belong to national associations may also get mentions worth considering. Typically, their employees must be accredited by the national organization before starting as credit counselors. Do your research. If a company hits all five targets, your decision should be easy.
How to Avoid Scams
One of the biggest fears of doing business online is falling victim to credit counseling scams. Some red-flag warnings will help you be more confident about finding the best online debt consolidation programs or loans.
A company asking for an upfront fee is a bright big red warning flag. The Federal Trade Commission prohibits debt-relief companies from collecting fees in advance. It also requires debt-relief companies to make specific disclosures on fees and prohibits them from misrepresenting services.
It is wise to research a company’s background. If they are nonprofit, they should belong to a national organization like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, which trains and certifies credit counselors.
Also, keep as much personal information away from a company as possible until you are ready to sign an agreement. They don’t need your social security number or street address to sell you on their program.
If a company is too aggressive in trying to get your business – they offer outlandish guarantees or pressure you to sign immediately – you probably should pass.
Is Online Debt Consolidation Right for You? Get Started Today!
An online application process is a fast and efficient option making nonprofit debt consolidation an excellent solution for your credit card debt.
Online debt consolidation incorporates all the benefits of debt consolidation – affordable monthly payments/reduced interest rates – with the convenience of filling out forms while sitting in front of a computer screen.
If you have easy access to details of your finances – how much you earn, how much you spend – the application process will be a breeze. Get started with InCharge to receive advice on where you could make adjustments to your budget and discover the best methods for consolidating debt.
Debt Consolidation FAQs
What Online Tools Does InCharge Offer?
InCharge provides educational tools and referrals to governmental and nonprofit organizations that help you manage your money and plan for a financially secure future.
People manage their bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, and investment portfolios online. InCharge knows that people want to access their nonprofit debt consolidation program online, too.
That is why we developed tools to help you do everything from monitor your creditor proposals to check your balances and change your payment due date.
When you join InCharge’s nonprofit debt consolidation program, you’ll have access to our online tools, making your debt payoff journey as smooth as possible.
How Does Debt Consolidation Lower Interest Rates?
Nonprofit credit counseling agencies have agreements with credit card companies to lower your interest rates to an affordable level. This is usually around 8% or lower.
How Much Can You Save by Consolidating Debt?
The amount you can save by consolidating debt depends on several factors, including the method you choose, your credit score, the debt amount, term limit, and income. All of these variables can affect the interest rate you ultimately secure. According to Fox Business, borrowers who took out a personal loan for debt consolidation had a potential savings of $2,374.
What Types of Debt Can You Consolidate?
That depends on the debt consolidation method you choose. Nonprofit debt consolidation only works with credit card debt. To consolidate other forms of unsecured debt like payday loans, personal loans, and medical debt a debt consolidation loan may work best.
Do I Have to Consolidate All of My Debt?
No, you don’t have to consolidate all of your debt. Debt consolidation companies usually have a minimum/maximum allowance for how much they can consolidate. With InCharge, you can consolidate between $1,000 and $100,000 in unsecured debt.
Will Debt Consolidation Improve My Credit Score?
Over time, debt consolidation will positively impact your credit score if you complete the program while paying your bills on time. Certain debt consolidation methods, like a debt consolidation loan or balance transfer credit card, can initially lower your credit score due to a hard credit check. However, the bump is temporary, and your score should rebound shortly.
Can I Consolidate My Debt With InCharge If I Have Bad Credit?
Yes, credit score is not a factor in eligibility for InCharge’s nonprofit debt consolidation program. Consolidating debt with bad credit through a nonprofit program is a smart, strategic method for reigning in accounts that have gotten out of hand.
What Are the Risks of Debt Consolidation?
Debt consolidation may lead to paying more in interest over time. Borrowers who consolidate debt to reduce monthly payments pay more since interest accumulates over a longer period. You can avoid this by reducing your interest rate instead of just your minimum monthly payment. Other risks include overpaying in fees, the loss of collateral, and an increase in debt-to-income ratio, which may harm your credit score.
About The Author
Joey Johnston has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist with the Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times. He has won a dozen national writing awards and his work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Sports Illustrated and People Magazine. He started writing for InCharge Debt Solutions in 2016.
- Giovanetti, E. (2021 August 18) Borrowers Who Consolidated Credit Card Debt Saved $2K+ on average, data shows. Retrieved from: https://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/consolidating-credit-card-debt-savings
- Stolba, S. (2021 April 6) Average U.S Consumer Debt Reaches New Record in 2020. Retrieved from: https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/research/consumer-debt-study/
- Measey, M. (2022 May 10) Total Household Debt Increases in Q1 2022, Driven by Mortgage and Auto Balances. Retrieved from: https://www.newyorkfed.org/newsevents/news/research/2022/20220510