» MORE: Nerd Wallet’s best balance transfer credit cards Pros: Back to top You can use an unsecured personal loan from your local bank or credit union or an online lender to consolidate credit card or other types of debt.The loan should give you a lower interest rate on your debt or help you pay it off faster.» MORE: The good and bad of home equity loans Pros: Back to top If you have an employer-sponsored retirement account, it’s not advisable to take a loan from it, since doing so can significantly impact your retirement.
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Most will give you an estimated rate without a “hard inquiry” on your credit, unlike many banks and credit unions.
For online lenders, the lowest rates go to those with the best credit; rates top out at 36%.
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Consolidation works best when your ultimate goal is to pay off debt.
The four most effective ways to consolidate credit card debt are: This type of credit card charges no interest for a promotional period, often 12 to 18 months, and allows you to transfer all your other credit card balances over to it.
One benefit is that this loan won’t show up on your credit report.
But the drawbacks are significant: If you can’t repay, you’ll owe a hefty penalty plus taxes on the unpaid balance, and you may be left struggling with more debt.
Most issuers charge a balance transfer fee of around 3%, and some also charge an annual fee.