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Consolidation isn’t a silver bullet for debt problems.It doesn’t address excessive spending habits that create debt in the first place.Some companies know holiday shoppers who don’t stick to a budget tend to overspend then panic when the bills start coming in.And other loan companies will hook you with a low interest rate then inflate the interest rate over time, leaving you with more debt! Your goal should be to get out of debt as fast as you can!Your credit may be hurt if you run up credit card balances again, close most or all of your remaining cards, or miss a payment on your debt consolidation loan.Learn more about how debt consolidation affects your credit score.» MORE: Follow these 3 steps to pay off debt Two additional ways to consolidate debt are taking out a home equity loan or 401(k) loan.However, these two options involve risk — to your home or your retirement.
That’s why dishonest companies that promote too-good-to-be-true debt-relief programs continue to rank as the top consumer complaint received by the Federal Trade Commission.
But let’s be honest: Your interest rate isn’t the main problem. This specifically applies to consolidating debt through credit card balance transfers.
The enticingly low interest rate is usually an introductory promotion and applies for a certain period of time only. Be on guard for “special” low-interest deals before or after the holidays.
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We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research.
You might qualify for an unsecured debt consolidation loan at 7% — a significantly lower interest rate.