Life can get extremely complex when you have multiple debts. Not only do you have to find the money to make the monthly repayments, you have to keep track of who needs paid, how much and when.
Eventually you forget to make one of the repayments on time. So not only do you have to pay additional interest charges, a black mark gets added to your credit rating, which only encourages your lenders to demand an even higher rate of interest.
If that sounds familiar, it may be time to consider consolidating your debts.
If you’ve never heard about debt consolidation before it’s the situation where someone with multiple loans (often at a high rate of interest) borrows enough from one lender to repay their collection of debts. This has the effect of transforming multiple loans into one combined or consolidated debt. And due to the fact that they’re borrowing a larger sum, the borrower often manages to achieve a lower rate of interest, which helps them to save money and repay their debts in a shorter period of time.
And as an added benefit, one larger combined loan makes it much easier to keep track of monthly debt repayments.
But this is where we run into the first difficulty…who do you trust?
Many debt consolidation lenders are only keen to get your business so they can make profit from lending you the most amount of money over the longest period of time. In fact, if you select the wrong debt consolidation company, their advice could make your financial situation much, much worse.
So to get the most from debt consolidation it’s vital to find a professional company that is both trustworthy and reliable.
Which Type Of Service Do You Need?
The first step is to decide upon the type of consolidation service that you want. There are two main services available. The first type provides you with a loan that is sufficient to repay all of your existing debts. The second type of service combines debt consolidation with an element of debt management. Your chosen company pays off all your debts, then it’s up to you to keep making payments to them until your debts are repaid.
If you feel that you need additional help with your financial problems, a service that includes debt counseling will dramatically increase your chances of getting out of debt and staying out of debt.
Create A Shortlist
Once you’ve decided which route to take, the next step is to draw up a shortlist of debt consolidation services. One of the best ways to find a reliable service is to follow the recommendation of someone who has already dealt with a debt consolidation company.
But if you don’t know anyone who can recommend an appropriate service, or you don’t want to involve your friends in the matter, the best option is to use the internet. Look round various debt forums where people discuss debt consolidation issues. Ask people which services they have used, whether they would recommend them and what to expect regarding the level of the advice, interest rates and customer service provided.
Make a note of any services that are mentioned a number of times and search the internet for the company website. See if you can get the name and address of who to contact. Keep searching until you have the names of three or four companies with a good reputation in your area.
Next, contact each of the companies in turn and ask various preliminary questions. This will help you to gauge the level of customer service offered. It’s a good sign if loan providers offer a free debt consolidation quote. Collect as many of the quotes as you can, but bear in mind that the lowest quote is not necessarily always the best. Other issues like customer service, reliability, integrity and gut feeling are just as important as the interest rate on offer. Reputable companies will never charge you for making an inquiry.
It also goes without saying that if you get a bad feeling about any company, move on until you find a service that you are comfortable with.
The Better Business Bureau
Finally, contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and investigate the history of the companies on your shortlist. Have any complaints been filed against them?
Making the final choice on which debt consolidation service to use is not an easy decision. But once you make the right choice it will make your financial situation simpler, allowing you to focus on saving money, increasing your income and systematically destroying your debts.