Online Debt Consolidation

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What is Nonprofit Debt Consolidation?

You don’t need a loan to consolidate debt. In fact, you can receive all the benefits of consolidation – lower monthly payment and interest rate; one single payment – without having to rely on a good credit score to get a decent deal.

Nonprofit debt consolidation, also known as a debt management program, is a debt relief solution that lowers your monthly debt payment by reducing the interest rate you pay on it. A nonprofit counselor may recommend this program after completing a credit counseling session.

You can start an online counseling session or call to speak with a certified credit counselor. During the session, counselors will look at your income and expenses and help you identify the root cause of your financial problems. They also help you build an affordable budget that allows you to dedicate funds to a savings program.

Here are the popular features of a debt management program:

  • Counselors work with credit card companies to consolidate bills into one affordable monthly payment by reducing interest rates.
  • Credit score is not a factor in qualifying for the program.
  • Online debt management tools offered to increase financial literacy.
  • Eliminates calls from collection agencies.
  • Offers a plan that eliminates credit card debt in 3-5 years.

InCharge provides educational tools and referrals to governmental and nonprofit organizations to help you manage your money.

Why Work with a Nonprofit for Online Debt Consolidation?

Between 2010 and 2020, total consumer debt grew by 31% or $3.56 trillion, according to data collected from Experian. If your debt has you in dire straits, you’re not alone. More and more Americans are seeking efficient methods for managing their money.

Federal law demands that nonprofit credit counseling agencies offer debt solutions that are in clients’ best interests. They could have their status revoked as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization if they don’t.

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.

Consolidate Credit Card Bills with an Online Debt Management Program

One of the most popular features of a debt management plan is to consolidate credit card bills into one monthly payment. This makes it easy to pay your bills on time, cut down interest, and avoid late fees.

With InCharge, you can go through credit counseling online, and determine if you qualify for a debt management program. Our step-by-step software helps you come up with a budget, pulls your credit report to list the total amount you owe, and formulates a plan that will help you lower your monthly bill payments and consolidate debt. By working with our online program, you can take your time, review your accounts, and customize your plan. If you have questions or prefer to work with a credit counselor, you can also call and get help that way.

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. You can qualify for a loan from the comfort of your home.

Many lending agencies, especially those that have sprung up online in the past ten years, offer consumers an opportunity to go through the whole application process without visiting a bank or credit union.

Here are just a few of the places where you can start and finish a consolidation loan online:

Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lender. Borrowers fill out a profile and apply for a debt consolidation loan online. Lending Club uses a proprietary formula to score borrowers and tier interest rates, including credit score. Interest rates range from 5.99% to 35% 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 $35,000; average interest rates range between 5.99% and 36%, 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 their interest rates are a little higher than the competition – somewhere 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 are between $3,000 and $25,000.

LightStream offers low rates to borrowers with strong 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%.

Choosing an Online Debt Consolidation Company

Gone are the days when managing your financial life meant sitting across the desk from a loan officer at a bank. Reputable debt consolidation companies offer a full suite of online tools for personalized debt relief online. Here are some guidelines for choosing an online company to help consolidate debt.

Debt consolidation loans aim to simplify payments while eliminating debt. All the companies mentioned above can do that.

Your decision on which one to choose should include research that addresses these areas:

Value: It’s hard to eliminate debt if you’re paying a lot of interest and fees on it every month. Look for a company that can lower the interest rate you pay, lower your monthly payment, and eliminate your debt in 3-5 years. Meeting those three conditions should be the starting point in making your decision.

Customer service: If you have a question about debt, is there a way to get it answered quickly and easily? The company you choose should be looking out for you first. By law, nonprofit agencies must consider their customers’ needs first, or they can lose their nonprofit status. The same rules do not apply to for-profit companies that typically worry about their bottom line first and your problems second.

Trust: When you are struggling with debt obligations, it’s easy to get desperate and be exploited by companies making promises they can’t keep. 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: You should be able to go to any company’s website and answer any concerns you have 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 – current and former – are a reliable resource for reviewing companies you are considering, especially regarding their truthfulness about fees and other costs associated with the service. Most companies belong to the Better Business Bureau, which provides a source for reviews, but it makes sense to search online for other reports on its business activities. Companies that belong to national associations also may get mentions, positive and negative, that are 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 loans and programs.

The first is when a company asks for an upfront fee to get started. 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 you can until you are ready to sign an agreement. They don’t need your social security number, street address, etc., to sell you on their program.

If a company is too aggressive in trying to get your business – they offer guarantees or try and pressure you to sign immediately – you probably should pass.

What Online Debt Management Program Tools Does InCharge Offer?

People are used to managing their bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages and investment portfolios online. Stamps, checks and envelopes are becoming relics. InCharge recognizes that people want to interact with their debt management program online. 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 program, you’ll have access to our online tools, making your debt payoff journey as smooth as possible.

Benefits of Online Debt Consolidation

Applying for debt consolidation loans online is faster, easier and more efficient than trying to get through the process over the phone or in person with a credit counselor. You can start and stop the online process at your convenience. No need to make an appointment or come back later for a follow up because you didn’t have up-to-date information.

Online debt consolidation loan applications ask the same questions a credit counselor would ask, including offering you the option to pull your credit report so that you have the most accurate information on your debts. This is considered a “soft pull” so there is no impact on your credit score.

You will see a copy online of the actual agreement that includes the initial enrollment fee and monthly service fee. All terms and conditions are spelled out in the agreement, which remains part of your online account to view or print at any time.

While online, you can compare services with other companies and see how customers have rated those companies, and how fees vary between companies.

Is Online Debt Consolidation Right for You? Get Started Today!

If you have chosen to use debt consolidation as a solution for your credit card debt, then using the online application process is a good option for you.

Online debt consolidation incorporates all the benefits of debt consolidation – affordable monthly payments because of 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 with your budget and discover the best methods for consolidating debt.

Debt Consolidation FAQs

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 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. Debt management typically works with credit card debt and other forms of unsecured debt like payday loans, personal loans, and medical debt.

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 you 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, Incharge’s debt management program is open to all borrowers regardless of credit score.

About The Author

Joey Johnston

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.

Sources:

  1. 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
  2. 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/