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Best Personal Loans for Debt Consolidation

Debt happens. When it does, there are multiple ways to handle it. You could borrow money from a friend or family member, but this can get sticky or uncomfortable with repayments. You can also try to cover one credit card debt using another credit card, but this can turn into a vicious cycle that leaves you crushed under major, insurmountable debt. A better option is to take out a personal loan that will cover your entire debt at the same time.

A personal loan is easy to manage, readily available, and comes with no strings attached. Here’s how debt consolidation is taken care of with this type of loan.

Getting a Loan for Debt Consolidation: What You Need to Know

Before we get into how to find the right loan, what characteristics make up the best loan for you, and what taking out a loan in general means, let's explain some terms. Generally speaking, when a person seeks a solution to their debt issues it's because the amount, variety, and depth of debt have become unmanageable or more stressful than they'd like to deal with. In this case, getting a cash advance from a relative probably won't be enough to resolve the debt, and the problem will resurface the next month. That's why debt consolidation becomes a good solution.

How Personal Loan Debt Consolidation Works

Debt consolidation is a term used for a financial plan that takes all of your current debt and combines it into a single debt. This is helpful because one monthly payment is a whole lot easier to manage and keep track of than several monthly payments. Let’s review an example:

  • You have $5,000 worth of credit card debt on your Visa card
  • You have $3,000 worth of credit card debt on your American Express card
  • You also pay $1,000 each month for a medical procedure you had done a year back
  • Finally, you’ve got a $1,200 monthly auto loan payment to make

That means you are making 4 different payments each month to cover the various forms of debt outstanding on your account. Between the different amounts for each payment, different payment due dates, and varying interest rates, it's easy to get things confused. When this happens, payments are missed, and you end up paying more unnecessarily. Debt consolidation loans help you pay off all of your combined debt at once and give you a single monthly payment to focus on. That's one payment date, one APR, and one amount to think about. Much simpler.

And the best part of using a personal loan to consolidate your debt is that there are no strings attached. Unlike other loans that require some form of collateral or need to be used for a specific purpose, personal loans are totally free from any restrictions. You can use the money however you see fit, and you won't have to put anything down to get the loan. It's the most flexible type of loan out there.

How to Choose the Best Loan Provider for Debt Consolidation

Everyone claims to be the absolute best, but how do you know which loan provider is really going to do the most for your debt consolidation purposes? The most important features to look for in this type of service are:


This is the most important factor because it'll tell you how much you'll pay overall for your debt consolidation loan. The higher the interest rate is, the more you will pay over time. Try to get the lowest rate possible, and use a comparison tool to compare various offers.

Repayment Terms

Sometimes all you need is a little cut on your monthly payments. If that’s the case, taking out a personal loan that can be paid off over a longer period of time can help you minimize your monthly payments. See how long each loan provider will allow you to stretch repayments, and make your decision like that.


Online lenders are a dime a dozen, but not all are as reputable as others. Read online reviews, check out their BBB ratings, and browse their websites to get an idea of how reliable each service is before you sign on the dotted line.

How to Apply for a Loan When You're in Debt

Now that you are ready to clear your slate, it’s time to apply. When applying for a debt consolidation loan, you should go through a few steps including:

Step 1: Calculate how much you need to be debt-free, and then take out a loan for that amount. It's typically a good idea to give yourself some wiggle room too for legal fees, transaction fees, and other unforeseen charges that might come up during the process. You may need to work with your credit card company, your bank, and even your boss to get all the numbers crunched, so get organized before you sit down to apply.

Step 2: Check your credit report. The better your credit looks, the better the terms you'll qualify for. Check your personal credit report to make sure there are no errors that could hurt your chances of approval.

Step 3: Apply for the loan. This can generally be done online and takes only a minute or two.

Step 4: Wait to hear from the loan provider about terms and rates. Sometimes if your credit is poor, you may have to apply to several providers before you find one that is willing to work with you. Don’t give up though, because there are definitely lenders that specifically work with poor credit borrowers, like Monevo and Even Financial.

What is an APR?

APR is an acronym for annual percentage rate. It combines the charges, fees, and payments to tell you the grand total of what your loan will cost you per year. The lower the APR, the less you are going to pay in the long run.

The APR calculation on personal loans will vary depending on your lender, but it will typically be lower than what you would receive from a payday or short-term loan – usually starting at 10% and capping at 35.99%. It is not ideal to owe any money, but if you require a loan, then a personal loan could certainly be a viable option.

APR rates mentioned include associated fees.

Full repayment for the loans displayed range between 61 days to 180 months.

Representative example: assuming a loan of $10,000 over 60 months at a fixed rate of 3.1% per annum and fees of $60.00. This would result in a representative rate of 3.3% APR, with monthly repayments of $180.80, for a total amount paid of $10,848.00.

LightStream Terms and Conditions:

*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay may be higher. If your application is approved, your credit profile will determine whether your loan will be unsecured or secured. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice.

Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.74% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $303.04.

SunTrust and LightStream are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc.

Lending services provided by SunTrust Bank.


** Marcus By Goldman Sachs® Offer Terms and Conditions:

For NY residents, rates range from 5.99% to 24.99% APR. Only the most creditworthy applications qualify for the largest loan amounts and lowest rates. Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans). Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions.


*** LendingClub Terms and Conditions:

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: LendingClub, 71 Stevenson Street, Suite 1000, San Francisco, CA 94105