If you’re looking to get out of debt, you’ve probably considered debt consolidation. If you’re like most people, though, you’ve got a few questions about this approach. Is it legitimate? Can you trust it? Does it work? Is it secure? When you consider how many debt consolidation myths are out there, these questions become even more understandable.
Today, though, we’re to bust those debt consolidation myths. Here are four big ones to stop believing right now:
Hear about it on an infomercial and it may sound like a scam, but the truth is that debt consolidation is a legitimate option. The reason many people think of debt consolidation as a scam is that, after the Great Recession of 2008, the debt consolidation industry took a hit. Predatory lenders popped up left and right to take advantage of people who found themselves in upside-down mortgages or other disastrous financial situations.
Don’t worry, though – that practice is very rare nowadays. If you want to secure an added layer of protection, talk to a reputable debt consolidation company that’s also a registered nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
While the names may be similar, the plans are not. A debt consolidation plan works like this: you take out a loan to pay off your debt. You then pay that loan back with a single monthly payment and a low interest rate.
Debt management, on the other hand, does not involve a loan. Instead, the program is offered by a credit counseling agency. This credit counselor determines a monthly payment that works for the borrower and sets a repayment schedule. The borrower then pays the loan back directly to the credit counseling agency, who distributes the funds to creditors.
Debt settlement companies advertise that they can “settle your debt for just a fraction of what you owe!” What they don’t mention, though, is that they charge about 25% of the final settlement for the privilege of helping you do that. While debt settlement may seem like the least expensive option (on the surface), you’re typically better off going for debt consolidation. With debt consolidation, you’re in control, and you don’t have to worry about some big company taking a cut off the top.
This myth is as common as it is damaging. Debt consolidation does not hurt your credit score, though. In fact – as long as you do it correctly, it has the potential to boost your credit score big time! Debt consolidation works by taking your separate debts and consolidating them into a single loan payment with a low interest rate.
While your credit score might take a slight dip at first (as a result of taking out a loan or opening a consolidation credit card), removing high-interest balances will increase it in the long run.
The more you know about debt consolidation and debt relief, the more empowered you are to take control of your money. What are you waiting for?