When most people think of debt consolidation, they think of debt consolidation loans. However, there are four main types of debt consolidation. The one thing that they all have in common is that you have some way of rolling all of your smaller debts into one larger debt. You can carefully evaluate your situation to determine which type of debt consolidation might be best for you.
• Debt consolidation loan. This is when you take out one big loan in order to pay off several smaller loans. This type of debt consolidation can save you money by lowering your payments each month, and by helping you find a lower interest rate for your payments.
• Credit counseling. When you consolidate debts this way, you use a third party to help you consolidate your debts. You do not take out a loan. Instead, the consumer credit counselor has you make one payment each month (usually lower than the sum of your current payments) to the counselor, and then the counselor distributes payment to your debtors. Most credit counselors have agreements with creditors to lower interest rates on such debts, so you can save money in interest charges.
• Bankruptcy. This is a somewhat surprising addition to the list. However, it really is a sort of debt consolidation. Especially with the rules introduced in 2005, you will definitely be paying back some part of your loans, although you might not have to pay back all of it. Usually the court assigns someone to oversee the distribution of payments, so make a regular payment to the court appointee, who then pays the required installments to your creditors.
• Debt negotiation. Properly, this is not actually debt consolidation. However, when you use a third party, it works like debt consolidation. The third party negotiates with your creditors, agreeing to pay back a certain amount of what is owed. While this is happening, you make a regular payment into an account set up by the debt negotiator. As each of your creditors settles, the debt negotiator pays the company off with money from the account.
There are drawbacks to each of these methods, in addition to advantages. However, if you need serious help with your debts, one of these methods of debt consolidation will probably work for you. But be sure to go through all of the pros and cons before making your decision.
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