Each of these student loans could impact your age of accounts and overall debt balance. People who are struggling like this are the reason that food pantries exist. Just remember, when rates go up, so do your payments. You must register for the Office of Justice Programs Grants Management System and submit an application to be eligible. Below we explain how to work through your own debt relief program. Although the late payments associated with the loan will remain for up to seven years from the date of your first late payment, having the default removed could help your score.
What to Do After You Get Rid of Payday Loans. After you get out of payday loan debt, you want to make sure you never go to a payday lender again. Some of the smartest things you can do to start cleaning up your credit include signing up for a free credit report. Regularly checking your credit is the best way to make sure you clear up any mistakes. Disclaimer: This post may seem hypocritical to some because I have accepted advertising from payday loan companies in the past. However, there is a huge difference between letting a payday loan company pay me for an ad and actually recommending payday loans to my readers. Before you find yourself trapped in a payday loan nightmare that you cannot escape from, consider the following actions to take. Do not borrow another dime. The more you rely on payday loans to pay your bills, the more dependent you will become on them. You may encounter issues paying them back because of the high repayment fees and interest rates.
Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding.
Rates under the invoicing option are 0. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Brittney Laryea is a personal finance writer for MagnifyMoney. Her work covers a range of personal finance topics. If you feel as if you are drowning in your debts, you may already be considering options for assistance, like one of several debt consolidation methods or filing for bankruptcy.
The assistance you ultimately turn to will heavily depend on the severity of your financial situation. What is debt consolidation and how does it work? Comparing debt consolidation and bankruptcy. When you consolidate debts, you essentially roll multiple debts into one. A new loan or line of credit is used to pay off previous debts, leaving you to manage one monthly payment. Popular debt consolidation products include personal loans , balance transfer credit cards, home equity loans and home equity lines of credit.
Ideally, the consolidation loan will have more favorable terms than existing debts, like a lower interest rate or monthly payment.
In addition, consolidating debts could help reduce the number of bills a borrower is responsible for keeping up with. Bankruptcy is a federal protection that helps individuals and businesses who cannot afford to repay their debts. Bankruptcy can eliminate consumer debts and may help debtors repay what they can through court-approved debt repayment plans. The law allows individuals to file for either Chapter 7 liquidation or Chapter 13 repayment bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is referred to as liquidation bankruptcy because a borrower may have to sell some of their assets to pay off their debts. Most other debts are discharged, with some exceptions more on that in a minute. In a Chapter 13 filing, a court approves a repayment plan that lets the borrower repay their creditors over three to five years. Any remaining amount owed on the debts will be discharged after all payments are made under the repayment plan.
Some debts, like most student loans, most tax obligations, child support, alimony and court and criminal fines are not eligible for discharge in bankruptcy. Life after debt consolidation or bankruptcy. Chapter 7 You must complete credit counseling within the six months prior to filing for bankruptcy, as well as a post-bankruptcy debtor education course for debts to be discharged.
Chapter 13 You must complete credit counseling within the six months prior to filing for bankruptcy, as well as a post-bankruptcy debtor education course for debts to be discharged. Chapter 7 A bankruptcy trustee or bankruptcy court liquidates nonexempt assets sufficient to repay creditors.
Some assets are exempt under federal and state law, and exemptions vary by state. Filing Chapter 13 may stop home foreclosures, though you must make timely mortgage payments during the Chapter 13 plan. You can also prevent repossession of some assets by restructuring secured-debt payments within the Chapter 13 repayment plan. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge does not eliminate long-term obligations like a home mortgage. You will continue to pay the remainder of the obligation after the repayment plan ends.
You may see your credit score drop slightly, because applying for new credit generates a hard inquiry on your credit report and can shave a few points off your score. However, you can expect your credit score to improve as you make on-time payments on your new loan. Your credit score might actually improve in the short term if you pay off revolving debts like credit cards but keep the accounts open.
Closing accounts lowers your credit limit, raising your credit utilization ratio — a major factor in credit scores — and in turn lowering your credit score. Not paying off debt or adding additional debt can also impact you negatively. A Chapter 7 filing stays on your credit report for 10 years, while a Chapter 13 filing should fall off your report after 7 years. You may see accounts included in the bankruptcy filing removed from the report before the bankruptcy is removed. Any individual account that was included in the bankruptcy will be removed 7 years from its delinquency date.
The amount your score falls will vary depending on how many accounts are part of the bankruptcy and whether they were delinquent or charged off. Your credit score prior to bankruptcy also plays a factor in this — borrowers with higher credit scores prior to filing for bankruptcy can expect to see larger drops in credit score. Balances on consolidated debts will decrease or be marked as paid off, and a new loan will be added to your credit report. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will drop off your credit report 10 years from the filing date.
Accounts included in the bankruptcy will be removed 7 years from their delinquency dates. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will drop off your credit report after 7 years from the filing date. The time frame varies from several months to several years, based on the term of the debt consolidation loan.
Chapter 13 The legal process may take several months; the repayment period will last three to five years. Credit card companies may charge a fee to make a balance transfer between credit cards.
Generally, interest is not paid on unsecured debts. Interest on secured debts are paid through the Chapter 13 plan. How bankruptcy courts determine that rate varies by state, but the Supreme Court case Till v. If you are owed a tax refund, the money may be delayed or the funds may be turned over to trustee. Discharged debt is taxable as income, so if you have debts discharged you may need to set aside funds to pay the tax when the time comes.
You can build your credit score by adding positive information to your credit report. Paying your bills in full and on time can help both keep your credit utilization low and establish a record of on-time payment history. Making and following a budget can help prevent you from piling up more debt.
It would be wise to start saving some amount of money in an emergency fund, as it may keep you from turning to high-cost debt when you encounter unexpected costs. Having the bankruptcy on your credit report will weigh down your credit score for a while, but the process also gives you a fresh start.
He adds most filers have at least some credit offers soon after filing, although they may not receive the best rates. You can rebuild your score over time by adding positive information to your credit history, like on-time payments, and using very little of your available credit.
If you need an idea of where and how to start rebuilding, LendingTree has tips on rebuilding your credit after filing bankruptcy, here. The same advice as debt consolidation stands as far as managing your cash: Debt consolidation may be a more attractive option compared to bankruptcy if you have a reasonably good credit score and can pinpoint the root of why you got into debt in the first place.
A good credit score will help you qualify for a debt consolidation loan at a lower interest rate, making it less expensive overall for you to pay off your debts. The better your credit score, the more debt consolidation options you have. Jeffrey Arevalo, an financial wellness expert at Greenpath Financial Wellness, recommended you consider your income, the types of debt you have and your assets in deciding if bankruptcy is right for you — and, if so, which type of bankruptcy you would need to file.
The assets you own may affect whether or not you opt for bankruptcy over debt consolidation, too. To be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you must prove you cannot afford your debt payments. To do so you must:. To have student loans discharged, you have to file an adversary proceeding, a lawsuit filed in bankruptcy court. The chances of any individual borrower passing the test are slim, according to John Colwell, president of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
On top of that, Colwell told MagnifyMoney, the process is an additional expense for an already cash-strapped debtor, who would have to pay a lawyer to file the lawsuit and combat an aggressive opposition from the student loan companies. In February , the U. He advised anyone considering bankruptcy with private loans to first speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who has had success with discharging student loans.
However, if you opt to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the repayment plan may reduce your payment to something more manageable for your budget — or you may have no payment at all for three to five years as you pay down your debts. If you have federal student loans and are struggling to make payments, it may be beneficial to contact your loan servicer and ask about forbearance, deferment or your eligibility for one of several repayment plans.
Some private student loan companies offer similar options. If you understand the differences but are struggling to make up your mind or having trouble understanding your options, you should contact a professional.
Lynch recommended speaking to multiple financial professionals, including a credit counselor or bankruptcy attorney, and weighing their recommendations before making a final decision. Brittney Laryea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brittney at brittney magnifymoney. Holly Johnson is an award-winning writer who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting, and travel. And carrying debt can be troublesome if it has high interest rates.
Credit cards, for example, had an average rate of That can make it hard for you to manage payments and pay down your debt sooner. While it would be nice to wish our debt away, you may be considering the next best option: It could help you save money and potentially pay down debt faster. There are pros and cons to consider anytime you restructure your debt or take out a new loan.
The advantages of debt consolidation are often important enough for consumers to overlook any potential downsides. One of the biggest advantages of debt consolidation is the potential to save money and time on your debt, said financial planner Justin Pritchard of Approach Financial in Montrose, Colo. One goal of debt consolidation is to get a lower interest rate. With a lower rate, more of your payments are going toward your principal balance each month.
Pritchard notes that high interest rates make it difficult to pay down debt, whereas a lower rate can help you make a bigger dent in your balance with each monthly payment you make. Financial planner Neal Frankle of Credit Pilgrim said debt consolidation can simplify repayment. By consolidating your debt into a single new loan, you can go from multiple monthly debt payments down to one. This could make it easier to stay on top of your payments and focus on your end goal, Frankle said.
If you continue spending on your credit card while you make payments, you can get stuck in a cycle where your new credit card charges outpace any progress you make. If you consolidate debt with a personal loan, you could opt for a fixed interest rate.
That would make your monthly payment and repayment period easier to manage. Just be wary of accumulating new debt on your paid-off credit card. While securing a lower interest rate can help you save money on your debt, consolidating with a personal loan or another financial product does come with risks.
Financial planner Dan Kellermeyer of New Heights Financial Planning said debt consolidation may not provide a long-term solution if you have trouble controlling your spending. That way, you can get to the root of your problem and prevent a situation where you consolidate debt but continue racking up new debt. Depending on how you choose to consolidate your debt, you may have to pay upfront costs.
For example, personal loans can come with origination fees from 1 percent to 8 percent. Home equity loans, on the other hand, come with closing costs similar to those of a traditional mortgage. These costs or fees can offset your savings, Pritchard said.
Before you consolidate debt to save money or speed up your repayment timeline, you may want to consider the different loan options available. Consider this breakdown of the popular debt consolidation methods, along with their pros and cons. These cards may let you transfer multiple credit card balances and loans over to the new rate, helping you save money on interest and score a single monthly payment.
If you continue using your credit card after you consolidate, you may have trouble paying off your debt before the promotional period ends. Balance transfer cards make the most sense for people with high credit scores because they can usually qualify for the promotional rates. These cards are also best for consumers who can stop using their credit cards so that they can focus on paying off their debt for good. Check our marketplace for balance transfer cards.
Consider the length of each promotional period and fees. A debt consolidation loan is a personal loan used to consolidate debt. Personal loans come with a fixed interest rate, monthly payment, and repayment schedule. Personal loans can offer attractive interest rates that can help consumers save money in debt repayment. Debt consolidation loans help you create a debt payoff plan. While debt consolidation loans can lower your monthly payments, you may end up paying more in interest if you stretch out your repayment timeline, Kellermeyer said.
Consolidating debt only moves your debt, and it could make it easier to rack up more. Debt consolidation loans are best for consumers who need a structured way to pay off their debt. Compare lenders using our personal loan marketplace. Double-check lender fees, rates, and borrowing limits. A home equity loan is a fixed-rate debt that uses the equity you have in your home as collateral. Since this is a secured loan , you may qualify for a lower interest rate than you could get with other debt consolidation options.
You can refinance revolving debt such as credit card debt into a loan product with a fixed interest rate and fixed monthly payment. So this option may not be available to some homebuyers. Home equity loans may come with costs such as an application or loan processing fee, an origination or underwriting fee, a lender or funding fee, an appraisal fee, document preparation and recording fees, and broker fees.
Start your search by reviewing our guide to home equity loans. Weigh the benefits of a home equity loan compared with the idea of using your home as collateral. A home equity line of credit HELOC is a line of credit that lets you borrow against the equity in your home.
HELOCs typically come with variable interest rates. Instead, you get the option to borrow amounts that you need up to a preset limit. HELOCs can come with fees, including for applications, title searches and appraisals.
HELOCs typically come with variable interest rates, meaning your payment could go up or down throughout the life of your loan. HELOCs are best for consumers who have a lot of equity in their homes and want a line of credit to borrow against. Debt management plans are overseen by credit counseling agencies, according to Kevin Gallegos, vice president of new client enrollment at Freedom Debt Relief.
This type of plan may land you a lower interest rate and reduced fees. Joseph Martin, a credit counselor with Take Charge America , a national nonprofit credit counseling and debt management agency, said credit counseling agencies do a lot of the work for you with these plans.
Once you make your single payment each month, they also take steps to disburse the funds for you on your behalf. A debt management plan could help you secure a lower interest rate, Gallegos said.
Debt management plans typically charge a monthly administration fee. These fees can add up over the course of a debt management program. But these fees can be offset by the interest you save. If you enroll in a debt management plan, you need to stop using your credit cards to receive the full benefit. Martin said you can take part in a confidential, free credit counseling session at a nonprofit agency.
Consider checking in with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Consolidating debt can be a good move if it helps you save money or repay your debt faster. The right debt consolidation method for you can vary. Consider what kind of debt you have and how much you have of it, your current interest rates and which consolidation methods are available. By doing some research, you can wind up with the best debt consolidation product for your unique needs.
Holly Johnson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Holly here. Louis is a personal finance writer who works with Fortune financial services firms, FinTech startups, and non-profits to help promote financial literacy.
He covers a variety of personal finance topics and especially likes writing about credit and loans. Many college students, graduates and parents or grandparents of students have taken out student loans to help pay for educational expenses.
Building credit can be important for your financial and personal life. A high score can make qualifying for new loans or credit cards easier, may save you money with lower interest rates or insurance premiums and could even help you rent an apartment or home. Because so many people have student loans — and for many new college students, the loans may be the first time they use credit — understanding how student loans can affect your credit is important.
Protecting your credit while repaying student loans. Can refinancing student loans help or hurt your credit? As with other types of installment loans, such as a personal loan or auto loan, your student debt can help or hurt your credit score depending on how you manage your loans and your overall credit profile. But student loans have a few features, such as deferment or forbearance, that may not be as common with other types of installment loans.
Understanding these features, how they work and the impact they could have on your credit can help you manage your student loans with confidence. If you want to see where you stand with your credit, you may be able to check your credit reports and scores for free through a variety of financial institutions and online tools.
Whether you take out a student loan or something else, a new credit account can lead to a dip in your credit score for several reasons. For one thing, the new account could decrease the average age of accounts on your credit reports — a higher average age is generally better for your score.
Additionally, if you applied for a private student loan, the application could lead to the lender reviewing your credit history.
Your student loans will also increase your current debt load. While the amount you owe on installment loans may not be as important as outstanding credit card debt, it could still negatively impact your score. Credit scores aside, lenders may consider your debt-to-income ratio when you apply for a new credit account. Having a large amount of student loan debt could make it more difficult to qualify for a loan or credit line later, even if you have a good credit score.
Often, students who take out student loans will have their new loan or part of the loan disbursed near the start of each term. Each disbursement could count as its own loan on your credit reports. So even if you only send one payment to your servicer every month, the servicer allocates the payments among each individual loan. Each of these student loans could impact your age of accounts and overall debt balance.
Your payment history is one of the most important factors in determining a credit score. Being 30 or more days past due could lead to a negative mark on your credit reports that can hurt your credit score.
Falling further behind could lead to a larger negative impact on your score, as your loan servicer reports your payments , , , and then days past due.
Unless you bring your accounts current, they could be sent to collections, which could be indicated on your credit reports and hurt your score more. The lender may also be able to sue you to take money directly from your paycheck or, in some cases, your tax return or bank account. Other student loans may default sooner. Even if you can stay on track with your student loans, having to make the monthly payment could cause trouble keeping up with other bills.
Showing that you can manage different types of accounts, such as installment loans and revolving accounts credit cards, lines of credit, etc. Likewise, if your only credit account is a student loan, opening a credit card might help your score. Since your credit history is one of the most important credit-scoring factors, try to always make on-time payments as you repay your student loans.
Doing so could help you build a solid credit history, which can lead to a higher score. Continuing to take out new student loans each term could lower your average age of accounts. But your average age of accounts will still increase as you repay your loans. But the account will still stay on your credit reports for up to 10 years from when it was closed, and it could impact your credit history and average age of accounts during that period.
Once you take out student loans, you may be able to defer making full or any payments until after you leave school. But once you start repaying the loans, a misstep could lower your credit score. Here are a few ways you could keep your student loans from hurting your credit.
Many student loans offer an in-school deferment period, which lets you put off loan payments until six months after you leave school. In-school deferment lets you focus on your schoolwork and makes student loans affordable, as many students might not have enough income to afford monthly payments.
Doing so could hurt your credit score. To avoid missing the first — and subsequent — payments, you may want to enroll in an auto payment program with your student loan servicer. You may be able to choose from several federal student loan repayment options. The main options include the standard, extended, graduated and income-driven plans. Choosing an extended, graduated or income-driven plan, rather than the standard plan, could lower your monthly payments.
If you choose an income-driven plan, be sure to renew your repayment plan every year and send your loan servicer updated documentation to remain eligible. Although the nonstandard plans could wind up costing you more in interest overall, the lower payments could make managing all your bills easier, which can be important for maintaining and building credit.
If you do find yourself struggling to make payments, be sure to reach out to your loan servicer. With federal student loans, you may be able to switch repayment plans, or temporarily place your loans into deferment or forbearance to stop making payments. Some may also have other hardship options, such as temporarily reduced payment amounts or interest rates. If you use the second method — and this if the first time you rehabilitated the student loan — the default associated with the loan will also be removed from your credit reports.
Although the late payments associated with the loan will remain for up to seven years from the date of your first late payment, having the default removed could help your score. If you use the program, you may be able to request the removal of the default from your credit reports by contacting the lender, but the late payments on the account could remain.
When you submit a private student loan application, the resulting hard inquiry could have a minor negative impact on your score. Shopping for a private student loan , comparing the pros and cons of different lenders, and submitting multiple applications so you can accept the loan with the best terms is generally a good idea. Hard inquiries usually only have a small impact on credit scores, and scores often return to their pre-inquiry level within a few months, as long as no new negative information winds up on your credit reports.
While multiple hard inquiries can increase score drops, particularly for those who are new to credit, credit-scoring agencies recognize the importance of rate shopping. As a result, multiple inquiries for student loans that occur with a to day window depending on the type of credit score only count as a single inquiry when your score is being calculated.
If you already have a good-to-excellent credit score and a low debt-to-income ratio, you may want to consider refinancing your student loans. When you refinance your loans, you take out a new credit-based private student loan and use the money to pay off some or all of your current loans.
The lender will generally send the money directly to your loan servicers. Refinancing can save you money if you qualify for a lower interest rate than your loans currently have, and combining multiple loans into one could make managing your debt easier. When it comes to credit scores, refinancing student loans is a bit like taking out a new loan.
Shopping around and submitting applications during a short period could help you get the best rate while limiting the negative impact of the inquiries. After getting approved for refinancing, the new loan may be reported to the credit bureaus, which could lower your average age of accounts.
Your other loans will be paid off, but they could stay on your credit reports for up to 10 more years. Your overall installment-loan debt will stay the same, and as long as you continue to make on-time payments, your score may improve over time. Louis DeNicola is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Louis at louis magnifymoney. Nick Clements has worked in consumer banking for nearly 15 years and is the co-founder of MagnifyMoney.
Are you tired of paying a high interest rate on your student loan debt? We have created the most complete list of lenders currently willing to refinance student loan debt. We recommend you start here and check rates from the top 7 national lenders offering the best student loan refinance products. All of these lenders except Discover also allow you to check your rate without impacting your score using a soft credit pull , and offer the best rates of You should always shop around for the best rate.
Student Loan Consolidation vs. If you go to other sites they may claim to compare several student loan offers in one step. Just beware that they might only show you deals that pay them a referral fee, so you could miss out on lenders ready to give you better terms.
Below is what we believe is the most comprehensive list of current student loan refinancing lenders. You should take the time to shop around. So set aside a day and apply to as many as you feel comfortable with to get a sense of who is ready to give you the best terms. SoFi was one of the first lenders to start offering student loan refinancing products. More MagnifyMoney readers have chosen SoFi than any other lender.
The only requirement is that you graduated from a Title IV school. In order to qualify, you need to have a degree, a good job and good income. Bottom line Bottom line. SoFi is really the original student loan refinance company, and is now certainly the largest. SoFi has consistently offered low interest rates and has received good reviews for service. SoFi has taken a radical new approach when it comes to the online finance industry, not only with student loans but in the personal loan, wealth management and mortgage markets as well.
With their career development programs and networking events, SoFi shows that they have a lot to offer, not only in the lending space but in other aspects of their customers lives as well. Earnest focuses on lending to borrowers who show promise of being financially responsible borrowers.
Because of this, they offer merit-based loans versus credit-based ones. Earnest, who was recently acquired by Navient, is making a name for themselves within the student refinancing space. With their flexible repayment options and low rates, they are definitely an option worth exploring. CommonBond started out lending exclusively to graduate students.
Over time, CommonBond has expanded and now offers student loan refinancing options to graduates of almost any university graduate and undergraduate.
CommonBond not only offers low rates but is also making a social impact along the way. Consider checking out everything that CommonBond has to offer in term of student loan refinancing. LendKey works with community banks and credit unions across the country. Although you apply with LendKey, your loan will be with a community bank. Over the past year, LendKey has become increasingly competitive on pricing, and frequently has a better rate than some of the more famous marketplace lenders.
LendKey is a good option to keep in mind if you are looking for an alternative to big bank lending. If you prefer working with a credit union or community bank, LendKey may be the route to uncovering your best offer. As a lender,Laurel Road Bank prides itself on offering personalized service while leveraging technology to make the student loan refinancing process a quick and simple one. Consider checking out their low-rate student loan refinancing product, which is offered in all 50 states.
Citizens Bank offers student loan refinancing for both private and federal loans through its Education Refinance Loan. No degree is required to refinance: If you are a borrower who did not graduate, with Citizens Bank, you are still eligible to refinance the loans that you accumulated over the period you did attend. In order to do so, borrowers much no longer be enrolled in school.
Citizens Bank offers a 0. You lose certain protections if you refinance a federal loan: Any time that you refinance a federal loan to a private loan, you will give up the protections, forgiveness programs and repayment plans that come with the federal loan. The Education Refinance Loan offered by Citizens Bank is a good one to consider, especially if you are looking to stick with a traditional banking option. Consider looking into the competitive rates that Citizens Bank has to offer.
Discover, with an array of competitive financial products, offers student loan refinancing for both private and federal loans through their private consolidation loan product. Just keep in mind that if you apply for a student loan refinance with Discover, they will do a hard pull on your credit. In addition to the Top 7, there are many more lenders offering to refinance student loans. Below is a listing of all providers we have found so far. This list includes credit unions that may have limited membership.
We will continue to update this list as we find more lenders:. Instead, you should look at options to avoid a default on student loan debt. Check the Federal loan repayment estimator to make sure you see all the Federal options you have right now. If you can afford your monthly payment, but you have been a sloppy payer, then you will likely need to demonstrate responsibility before applying for a refinance.
But, if you can afford your current monthly payment and have been responsible with those payments, then a refinance could be possible and help you pay the debt off sooner.
Like any form of debt, your goal with a student loan should be to pay as low an interest rate as possible. Other than a mortgage, you will likely never have a debt as large as your student loan. If you are able to reduce the interest rate by refinancing, then you should consider the transaction.
However, make sure you include the following in any decision:. Many lenders have no fee, which is great news. If there is an origination fee, you need to make sure that it is worth paying. If you plan on paying off your loan very quickly, then you may not want to pay a fee. But, if you are going to be paying your loan for a long time, a fee may be worth paying. Variable interest rates will almost always be lower than fixed interest rates.
But there is a reason: We are currently at all-time low interest rates. This is a judgment call. Just remember, when rates go up, so do your payments. And, in a higher rate environment, you will not be able to refinance your student loans to a better option because all rates will be going up. We typically recommend fixing the rate as much as possible, unless you know that you can pay off your debt during a short time period.
But, if you think you will pay it off in five years, you may want to take the bet. Some providers with variable rates will cap them, which can help temper some of the risk. You can also compare all of these loan options in one chart with our comparison tool. It lists the rates, loan amounts, and kinds of loans each lender is willing to refinance. You can also email us with any questions at info magnifymoney.
Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick magnifymoney. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership. Looking for a balance transfer credit card to help pay down your debt more quickly? This guide will show you the longest offers with the lowest rates, and help you manage the transfer responsibly. It will also help you understand whether you should be considering a transfer at all.
You have only 60 days from account opening to complete your balance transfer and get the introductory rate. You can provide the account number for the account you want to transfer from while you apply, and if approved, the bank will handle the transfer.
If you think it will take longer than 15 months to pay off your credit card debt, these credit cards could be right for you. It is almost always better to pay the fee than to pay a high interest rate on your existing credit card. You can calculate your savings including the cost of the fee at our balance transfer marketplace.
These deals listed below are the longest balance transfers we have in our database. Each credit card company has their own criteria, and you might still be approved by one of the companies listed below.
This is a basic balance transfer deal with an above average term. With this card, you also have the ability to earn cash back, and there is no late fee for your first missed payment and no penalty APR. Hopefully you will not need to take advantage of these features, but they are nice to have. After the intro periods end, a This provides plenty of time for you to pay off your debt. There are several other perks that make this card great: If you think it will take longer than 2 years to pay off your credit card debt, you might want to consider one of these offers.
The longest offer can give you a low rate that only goes up if the prime rate goes up. There is also no balance transfer fee. Just about anyone can join Unify Financial Credit Union.
The deal is you get the prime rate for 3 years with no intro balance transfer fee. In order to be approved for the best balance transfer credit cards and offers, you generally need to have good or excellent credit. If your FICO score is above , you have a good chance of being approved. If your score is above , you have an excellent chance. However, if your score is less than perfect, you still have options.
Your best option might be a personal loan. You can learn more about personal loans for bad credit here. There are balance transfers available for people with scores below The offer below might be available to people with lower credit scores. However, it will still be better than a standard interest rate. If you use this offer to pay down debt aggressively, you should see your score improve over time and you will be able to qualify for even better offers.
That way you can apply with more confidence. If you use your credit card at an ATM, it will be treated as a cash advance. And there is no grace period, so interest starts to accrue right away.
A cash advance is expensive, so beware. If you do not make your payment on time, most credit cards will immediately hit you with a steep late fee.
Once you are 30 days late, you will likely be reported to the credit bureau. Late payments can have a big, negative impact on your score. Just automate your payments so you never have to worry about these fees. Most balance transfer offers are from the date you open your account, not the date you complete the transfer. It is in your interest to complete the balance transfer right away, so that you can benefit from the low interest rate as soon as possible.
With most credit card companies, you will actually lose the promotional balance transfer offer if you do not complete the transfer within 60 or 90 days. Just get it done! Your goal with a balance transfer should be to get out of debt. If you start spending on the credit card, there is a real risk that you will end up in more debt. Additionally, you could end up being charged interest on your purchase balances.
In other words, you lose the grace period on your purchases so long as you have a balance transfer in place. Credit card companies make balance transfer offers because they want to steal business from their competitors. So, it makes sense that the banks will not let you transfer balances between two credit cards offered by the same bank. If you have an airline credit card or a store credit card, just make sure you know which bank issues the card before you apply for a balance transfer. The calculator will show you which cards offer you the most savings on interest payments.
But you might feel more comfortable with a single fixed monthly payment, and a single real date your loan will be paid off. A lot of new companies are offering great rates on loans you can pay off over 2, 3, 4, or 5 years.
You can find the best personal loans here. Use our calculator to see how your payments and savings will compare. It depends, some credit card companies may allow you to transfer debt from any credit card, regardless of who owns it. Though, they may require you to first add that person as an authorized user to transfer the debt. Just remember that once the debt is transferred, it becomes your legal liability.
Most banks will enable store card debt to be transferred. Just make sure the store card is not issued by the same bank as the balance transfer credit card. Here is a simple test. Divide your credit card interest rate by You can use that simplified math to get a good guide on whether or not you will be saving money.
And if you want the math done for you, use our tool to calculate how much each balance transfer will save you. With all balance transfers recommended at MagnifyMoney, you would not be hit with a big, retroactive interest charge. You would be charged the purchase interest rate on the remaining balance on a go-forward basis. But all balance transfers recommended by MagnifyMoney do.
Many companies offer very good deals in the first year to win new customers. Or your cable company could offer a big discount on the first year if you buy the bundle package. Credit card companies are no different. These companies want your debt, and are willing to give you a big discount in the first year to get you to transfer. But, if you neglect making payments and end up with a balance post-intro period, you can easily fall into a trap of high debt — similar to the one you left when you transferred the balance.
Balance transfers can be easily completed online or over the phone. After logging in to your account, you can navigate to your balance transfer and submit the request.
If you rather speak to a representative, simply call the number on the back of your card. For both options, you will need to have the account number of the card with the debt and the amount you wish to transfer ready. You will be charged a late fee by missing a payment and may put your introductory interest rate in jeopardy. Many issuers state in the terms and conditions that defaulting on your account may cause you to lose out on the promotional APR associated with the balance transfer offer.
To avoid this, set up autopay for at least the minimum amount due. Balances can only be transferred between cards from different banks. Many credit card issuers will allow you to transfer money to your checking account. Or, they will offer you checks that you can write to yourself or a third party. Check online, because many credit card issuers will let you transfer money directly to your bank account from your credit card. In most cases, you cannot.
However, if you transfer a balance when you open a card, you may be able to. Some issuers state in their terms and conditions that balance transfers on new accounts will be processed at a slower rate compared with those of old accounts. You may be able to cancel your transfer during this time. Yes, it is possible to transfer the same debt multiple times.
Just remember, if there is a balance transfer fee, you could be charged that fee every time you transfer the debt. You can call the bank and ask them to increase your credit limit. However, even if the bank does not increase your limit, you should still take advantage of the savings available with the limit you are given.
Transferring a portion of your debt is more beneficial than transferring none. Yes, you decide how much you want to transfer to each credit card. No, there is no penalty. You can pay off your debt whenever you want without a penalty. You literally pay nothing to transfer your balance and can save hundreds of dollars in interest had you left your balance on a high APR card. Check out our list of the best no-fee balance transfer cards here.
However, those cards tend to have shorter intro periods of 15 months or less, so you may need more time to pay off your balance. At least two months before your existing intro period ends, start looking for a new balance transfer offer from a different issuer. This can provide you with the additional time needed to pay off your balance.
You can apply for the card without joining first. After the intro period, an APR of The good news is you can apply and get a decision before you become a member of the Alumni Association. There is an Anyone can join Premier America by becoming a member of the Alliance for the Arts. You can select that option when you apply. And you can apply without being a member. You can apply as a non-member online to get a decision before joining.
The APR after the intro period ends is This deal is easy to find — Chase is one of the biggest banks and makes this credit card deal well known. Our handy, free balance transfer tool lets you input how much debt you have, and how much of a monthly payment you can afford.
It will run the numbers to show you which offers will save you the most for the longest period of time. Before you do any balance transfer though, make sure you follow these 6 golden rules of balance transfer success:. Hannah Rounds is a freelance writer who covers consumer finance, investing, economics, health and fitness. She received her bachelor's degree in Economics from Furman University. Are debt collectors hounding you over debts that fell into collections years ago?
Before you throw up the white flag and prepare to make a payment, do a bit of research first. Should I pay off old debts or new debts first? Different types of debt, different statute of limitations. The statute of limitations on debt is the length of time that debt collectors have to sue you to collect old debts. Once the statute of limitations passes, debt collectors lose a bit of their power. Collectors who cannot sue you cannot win a court order for repayment.
Of course, establishing the statute of limitations on an old debt can be tricky. When was your last payment? What are the records on it? In that case, Rheingold advises consumers to seek legal help right away. If a debt has passed the statute of limitations in your state, it is considered a time-barred debt. You legally still owe time-barred debts, and collectors can still attempt to collect the debts by calling you or mailing you letters. Even so, many consumers feel as if making a payment is the best way to get the debt collector off their back, or they may feel as if making a payment is the best way toward improving their credit.
Both of these assumptions, unfortunately, are wrong and could do more harm than good for your financial picture. Think carefully before you make a payment on an old debt — in some states, a small debt payment, or even an agreement to pay a time-barred debt, can reset the statute of limitations.
When a formerly time-barred debt comes back to life, it is called a Zombie debt. These are steps you should take before making any agreement with a debt collector.
The debt collector must answer truthfully if they know whether a debt is time-barred. However, a debt collector may not know the answer, or may decline to answer the question.
An attorney or a credit counselor can help you make the right choice about whether to repay the debt. Do not agree to a payment plan. Even a promise to repay an old debt could reset the statute of limitations. Before agreeing to any sort of repayment plan, talk to a nonprofit credit counselor or an attorney.
Do not make a partial payment on the debt. Making a small payment towards your debt may reset the statute of limitations on debt. Write a cease and desist letter: Consumers can write to debt collectors to ask collectors to cease all forms of communication. You can use these templates to help you write to collectors. Seek legal help if necessary: People who cannot afford legal help can seek out free legal assistance from local Legal Aid.
Calls from debt collectors may push you to prioritize old debts over new debts. But if you must decide between paying current debt accounts and paying off old debts, it makes sense to focus on current debts.
Unfortunately, paying off old debts, especially time-barred debts, is usually not the best use of your money. Once a debt falls into collections, the damage to your credit score is done. Over time, the negative effect of the collections account will lessen. On the other hand, paying your current debts on time and in full will help you build your credit score.
Once an account falls into collections, the damage to your credit is as bad as it gets. Only time and adding good information on your credit report, like on-time payments on new accounts, will help your credit score recover. Even if you pay the old debt, lenders will see that the debt went into collections. In some cases, a new lender may recommend that you pay off an old account, so you can take out a new loan.
Only start addressing old debts if you have extra cash in your budget. One method for dealing with debts in collections is to negotiate a settlement offer.
Depending on the age of your debt and your financial situation, many debt collectors will settle a debt for pennies on the dollar. When it comes to settling old debts, Rheingold warns that consumers should watch out for debt settlement companies. Debt settlement companies negotiate settlement offers for consumers that have debts in collections. After a successful settlement, the company charges you a percentage of the savings or a percentage of the original debt.
However, although debt settlement seems like a valuable service, debt settlement companies are not experts in debt law, and their actions could lead to reviving a time-barred debt.
If you wish to deal with old debts, and you have the financial means to pay them off, consider consulting with a non-profit credit counselor or a debt settlement attorney before engaging with collectors. The time at which a debt becomes time-barred depends on several factors, including the type of contract governing debt. These are the five types of contracts that may govern debt.
Oral contracts are spoken agreements between two parties. Simply promising to repay an old debt could create a new oral contract. Most debts are loans with written contracts. The statute of limitations on written contracts will govern most debts.
In some states, open ended accounts including credit cards or retail credit cards are treated differently than other forms of debts with written contracts. In those states, a unique statute of limitations governs open-ended accounts. In general, the statute of limitations on promissory notes is longer than the statute of limitations on other types of contracts. Hannah Rounds is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Hannah here. Nobody seeks out illness, job loss, divorce or any other financial catastrophe, but sometimes things happen.
Many people will accumulate overwhelming debt loads as a result of such hardship. If the burden of your debt is too much for you to afford, what can you do? The worst thing to do is jump into a debt relief program without educating yourself. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation bankruptcy, offers comprehensive debt relief. In liquidation bankruptcy, a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee sells certain assets called unprotected assets , and the proceeds are used by the trustee to repay your creditors.
Following the distribution of funds, the court discharges the remaining eligible debts. That means you no longer owe the debt and collectors cannot contact you about the debt. Although Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires selling off your valuables, filing may not leave you penniless.
Filers can keep protected assets, such as personal items and money in retirement accounts. Most states allow filers to keep a small amount of cash and some amount of equity in vehicles or homes. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is available to anyone earning less than the median monthly income for a family of your size in your state. Some people have too many unprotected assets to make Chapter 7 bankruptcy a reasonable option.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy may force people into selling paid off cars, tools for operating their business or other important assets. In those cases, Chapter 13 bankruptcy or other types of debt relief may be a better option. Filers must also pay filing and court fees, which adds several hundred dollars to the cost of bankruptcy. In general, all fees have to be paid before your attorney will file your case.
Crunch some numbers to determine what your monthly financial spending habits should be for the next three to five years. If you have so much debt and are so dependent on payday loans that you cannot see how you can get things back in order, do not give up. You might want to speak with a bankruptcy attorney for guidance and options.
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How to escape payday loans If you have fallen so far behind in your mortgage and car note payments in Harrisburg that you resort to using payday and cash advance loans, know that you are not alone. Chapter 7 filers should prepare to attend the meeting Do you need an attorney for an uncontested divorce?
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The average payday loan charges somewhere around $50 in fees, according to this article, which also outlines habitual payday loan practices: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that the average consumer took out 11 loans during a month period, paying a total of $ in fees — not including loan principal. One could be useful in helping you escape the payday loan trap if your credit qualifies you. Credit Counseling. Credit counseling aims to help consumers better manage their finances, and a number of reputable organizations exist across the country. Services can include help with payday loan debts, budget creation and money management. How to Escape the Payday Loan Trap: 2 Things You Can Do Right Now. By: Patricia Lynn Henley, Consumer Advocate and Journalist, Mar 19th, Payday loans are often easy to get, but they can trap you in an endless cycle of debt. There are ways to escape, but it isn’t easy. Of course, the best escape is to never get trapped in the first.