And if you make your credit card or loan payments as agreed, you’ll establish a positive payment history, which affects your credit scores more than anything else.(Payment history accounts for 35% of traditional credit scoring models.)Transferring credit card balances, paying off credit cards with a personal loan or enrolling in a debt management plan is only the beginning of credit card debt consolidation.A lender may lower the interest rate on your credit card balance when you participate in a debt management plan.
And, Credit.com’s free credit report summary can help you understand what’s inside your credit report. There are several safe and smart ways to consolidate credit card debt, so you’ll want to research them before deciding what’s best for you.(Not every creditor has to participate, so you may be able to keep a credit card out of the debt management plan if you need it to remain open for travel or business purposes, for example.)Once you complete your plan, some of your creditors may re-establish your credit based on your new, debt-free status and the on-time payment history you established through the course of the debt management plan.Other ways credit card consolidation can hurt your credit: Applying for a new line of credit results in a hard inquiry on your credit report, adding a new credit account can lower the average age of your credit history and a new personal loan will show that you have a high level of outstanding debt (your scores should improve as your remaining balance shrinks from where it started). Adding a personal loan to your credit history can improve your mix of accounts (it’s good to have a combination of installment and revolving credit, like credit cards).Here’s how credit card consolidation works: You first decide if you want to take out a new loan, open a new credit card or enroll in a debt management plan (more on that later).Whichever option you choose, you will use it to pay off your multiple balances.One of the first things you’ll want to do is check your credit reports for accuracy.An error on any of your credit reports could prevent you from qualifying for the debt consolidation help you need, so .Some strategies will be more affordable than others, and your credit card consolidation choices may be limited by your credit standing.Personal loans charge simple interest (as opposed to credit cards, which often have variable rates and sometimes have different rates for balance transfers and purchases on the same card) and they typically have loan terms of three to five years.And you can verify if a lender is registered to do business in your state by contacting your state Attorney General’s office or your state’s Department of Banking or Financial Regulation.Beware of any lender that promises to offer you a loan regardless of your credit.