It can feel overwhelming when credit card debt starts to build up to the point where it’s hard to manage all of your bills. Consolidating credit card debt can help you reduce that stress by combining debt from multiple credit cards into a single monthly payment.
The goal is to try to save money by paying one bill with a lower annual percentage rate rather than multiple bills with higher rates. A single bill with a lower rate can help you pay less in interest and also might help you pay off the debt faster.
Let’s go over some of the different options for credit card debt consolidation:
Consolidate Debt with a Credit Card Balance Transfer
A popular choice for credit card debt consolidation is to do a credit card balance transfer. A balance transfer means to transfer the debt from a credit card with a high interest rate, to a different credit card with a lower interest rate.
For this option to make sense to you, make sure you fully understand the fine print on the credit cards you intend to use for this. Sometimes credit cards offer balance transfers with no or low interest rates that only last for a specific amount of time. In that case, it might not be helpful unless you can pay your debt off within that allotted time period.
Also factor in fees, like annual fees or balance transfer fees, before making your decision. If there are fees, you’ll want to make sure that you are still saving money after paying those fees.
For credit card debt consolidation, look for balance transfer options that let you keep the interest rate until your transferred balance is paid in full and options that don’t have fees.
Consolidate Debt with a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit
If you own a home, a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) is another option that can be used for credit card debt consolidation. Home equity loans and HELOCs use the equity in your home as collateral, which is why this option only works for current homeowners.
A home equity loan is a lump sum amount, so it can be a good option for debt consolidation when you know the exact amount you want to pay off. A HELOC is similar to a credit card, so it’s a good option if you want to borrow as little or as much as you want, when you want it.
Home equity loans often have lower interest rates than personal loans, which is why it’s a popular choice for consolidation. But since your home is used for collateral for home equity loans and HELOCs, it is important to make sure you can pay for the new loan or line of credit before you pursue this route.
Consolidate Debt with a Loan
Even if you’re not a homeowner, you can still get a loan to consolidate credit card debt. Personal loans could allow you to pay off your credit card debt and focus on paying off the personal loan instead.
If your goal is to lessen your debt, take into consideration any rates or fees to make sure that you will save money. If the interest rate is higher than the rate of your credit cards, it wouldn’t help decrease your debt.