Personal Finance
November 15, 2017

Best Debt Consolidation Loans 2017

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Many people who are in debt often don’t realize that there are services designed to help them get out of debt. Not all of these services are legitimate, and some would try to take advantage of those in debt, especially if you have bad credit, but the best debt consolidation and settlement services can legitimately help you get out from behind a mountain of debt.

Debt consolidation and debt settlement are two different services. Debt consolidation services help you get a loan that will consolidate all of your debt, so you are only making one payment a month. They often will negotiate a better interest rate on the loan so you aren’t paying extra interest to consolidate. Some services also provide debt management and education, so you can learn how to handle your own debt.

Debt settlement services, like Accredited Debt Relief, work a little differently. Debt settlement services will try to help you negotiate with your debtors so that you can settle your debts for less than what you owe. This can be a dangerous option, since some debt settlement services can use some tricky schemes to try to settle your debt, so it is good to research who you are working with before you commit.

Keep in mind that neither debt settlement nor debt consolidation will help your credit score immediately. If you are looking to breath some life into your credit score immediately after handling your debt, you can either use some credit repair techniques to do it yourself or hire one of the trusted credit repair companies to help.

Picking the best debt consolidation company can be tricky, but the first thing you should do is figure out your credit score. If you have good credit, you are more likely to find a debt consolidation loan with a low interest rate. If you have bad credit, your interest rate will probably be higher. Here are the best debt consolidation services for each credit class:

People with bad credit have fewer options when it comes to debt consolidation. While the loan services above for Good and Average credit will allow you to use a loan for any type of debt, debt relief companies for those with bad credit generally only approve those with large amounts of credit card debt. In general, the companies require at least $10,000 in credit card debt, although some require larger debts, and some will work with people that have smaller debts. Here’s a good breakdown of the best debt consolidation services for people with bad credit:

Freedom Debt Relief Review

Freedom website

Freedom Debt Relief Review image
  • Price: Freedom Debt Relief prices range between 15 and 25 percent of enrolled debt.
  • Debt Qualification: You must enroll at least $15,000 unsecured debt to qualify.
  • Features: Freedom Debt Relief reviews show that services are really what give this debt settlement provider an edge. Not only does this company offer the traditional consolidation, reduction and bankruptcy options, but it also has credit counseling services and some guides on how to manage debt yourself.
  • Customer Service: Exceptional customer service that is available every day of the week is another benefit to working with Freedom Debt Relief. Many other debt relief companies only operate Monday through Friday, but Freedom Debt Relief also has Saturday and Sunday hours that run into the evenings. You can contact them by phone or email, whichever works best for you.
Disclosure
Disclosure

Freedom Debt Relief Disclosure: Clients who make all their monthly program deposits pay approximately 50 percent of their enrolled balance before fees, or 65 percent to 85 percent including fees, over 24 to 48 months (some programs lengths can go higher). Not all clients are able to complete our program for various reasons, including their ability to save sufficient funds. Our estimates are based on prior results, which will vary depending on your specific circumstances. We do not guarantee that your debts will be resolved for a specific amount or percentage or within a specific period of time. We do not assume your debts, make monthly payments to creditors or provide tax, bankruptcy, accounting or legal advice or credit repair services. Our service is not available in all states and our fees may vary from state to state. Please contact a tax professional to discuss potential tax consequences of less than full balance debt resolution. Read and understand all program materials prior to enrollment. The use of debt settlement services will likely adversely affect your creditworthiness, may result in you being subject to collections or being sued by creditors or collectors and may increase the outstanding balances of your enrolled accounts due to the accrual of fees and interest. However, negotiated settlements we obtain on your behalf resolve the entire account, including all accrued fees and interest. C.P.D. Reg. No. T.S. 12-03825. 

National Debt Relief Review

National Debt Relief website

National Debt Relief Review image
  • Price: 18-25 percent of enrolled debt is the National Debt Relief price for helping to negotiate your debt reduction.
  • Debt Qualifications: To qualify for National Debt Relief services, you must have at least $7,500 in qualifying debt.
  • Features: Working with National Debt Relief gives you access to a toolbox of options for reducing your monthly outlay on debts. You can pursue everything from National debt consolidation to debt relief, and even bankruptcy services are available if you are unable to keep up with your existing debts.
  • Customer Service: Keeping up with your debt relief program is quick and easy with plenty of contact options. You can always call toll-free during extended service hours on any weekday. Email and fax are also available for anyone who needs to make contact with their debt relief counselor.

Accredited Debt Relief Review

Accredited website

Accredited Debt Relief Review image
  • Best for: Debt settlement AND consolidation. Accredited Debt Relief is one of the only services that offers both debt settlement and debt consolidation.
  • Price: Like most debt settlement companies, Accredited Debt Relief take a percentage of whatever debt they are able to settle, in this case 18 percent to 25 percent, depending on your debt. So if they are able to reduce your debt from $10,000 to $8,000, you would owe $360 to $500. If there is no change in your debt, you owe nothing.
  • Time frame: Accredited Debt Relief’s program time frame ranges from 24-48 months, which is the average time for debt settlement.
  • Other highlights: Accredited Debt Relief is one of the only debt relief companies to offer debt management tools as well as debt consolidation services. Debt consolidation services are when a company will help you consolidate your debt in order to pay a lower interest rate on it.
  • Available states: One of the benefits of Accredited Debt Relief is that it is available in 39 of the 50 states, which is rare for a debt relief company. The average is usually around 35 states.

CuraDebt Debt Relief Review

CuraDebt website

CuraDebt Debt Relief Review image
  • Management tools: Along with debt settlement services, CuraDebt also offers debt management tools and help so you can reduce your debt while you are trying to settle it.
  • Price: Unlike most debt settlement programs, CuraDebt offers a flat rate regardless of your circumstances or debt: 20 percent of the settled debt. Unfortunately, they also charge a monthly fee of $10.75.
  • Time frame: Like most debt settlement companies, CuraDebt’s settlement plan usually lasts between 24 and 48 months.
  • Other highlights: CuraDebt also allows you to settle business debts, and provides you with a personal advisor to walk you through the settlement process.
  • Available states: CuraDebt offers debt settlement in 38 of the 50 states, which is higher than most other debt settlement companies, but still limited.
Disclosure
Disclosure

*CuraDebt doesn’t offer debt consolidation, only debt settlement, but can be a good option for debt settlement.

Best for: All around debt relief service. Freedom Debt Relief offers a solid debt settlement service that is faster than most debt relief companies and doesn’t require a loan to settle your debt.

Price: Like National Debt Relief, Freedom Debt Relief charges 18 percent to 25 percent of whatever debt is settled, and there are no monthly fees.

Time frame: Like all the other debt settlement programs, it generally takes between 24 to 48 months for Freedom’s debt settlement program.

Other highlights: Freedom Debt Relief has good customer service, as well as solid online tools and a dedicated personal advisor to walk you through the debt settlement program.

Available states: Like National Debt Relief, Freedom only offers debt settlement in 34 of the 50 states,which is the max number of states that allow debt relief.

You can call Freedom Debt Relief for a free consultation at 844-752-5316.

Price: National Debt Relief is one of the more affordable debt consolidation services. First, it doesn’t charge a monthly service fee like most other debt consolidation and settlement services. They do, however, charge 20 percent of whatever you end up saving by using their services. So if your debt is $10,000, and you end up paying only $9,000, they would receive $200. On the plus side, you can get a quote and a consultation for free with National Debt Relief.

BBB Rating: A (Also accredited by both the American Fair Credit Council and the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators.)

Features: National Debt Relief has the most features of any other debt consolidation and settlement service that we saw. It includes a free quote, flexible payment schedule, services for secured and unsecured loans, professional advisors, self-help tools, mobile access to their site and budget planners. They also allow you to have a co-signer, which is important for most people who are stuck in debt.

Guarantee: One of the reasons we like National Debt Relief is because of their 100-percent money back guarantee. This apparently is fair game if the service doesn’t work for you or if you are not completely satisfied with the service, although we did not test to see how easy it is to get your money back with the guarantee.

Customer Service: The site also has a comprehensive customer service program, including access to a representative by phone, chat, email and social media. Although not always the speediest, the customer service answers to our questions were always helpful and informative.

You can get a free quote and consultation from National Debt Relief here or you can call them at 844-732-1190.

Price: CuraDebt is a little more expensive than National Debt Relief. They charge a $59 monthly fee plus 20 percent of what you save on the initial debt. It’s a little cheaper for debt settlement; there is no monthly fee, but they still charge 20 percent of what you save on the initial debt.

BBB Rating: N/A (Accredited by both the American Fair Credit Council and the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators.)

Features: CuraDebt was founded in 1996, which means it has been in business for more than a decade longer than National Debt Relief. CuraDebt offers most of the same features that National Debt Relief does, including free quote, flexible payment schedule, services for secured and unsecured loans, professional advisors and self-help tools. One of the things that CuraDebt doesn’t offer that National Debt Relief does is the option of having a co-signer. They also don’t offer mobile access to your account. If you are having issues with identity theft wrecking your credit score and leaving you in debt, it might be a good idea to check out an identity theft protection service to help before you do debt consolidation. Check out our Lifelock review to learn more about identity theft protection.

Guarantee: CuraDebt doesn’t offer a money back guarantee.

Customer Service: CuraDebt only offers phone and email customer service options, which limits your options. It can be difficult to get an answer, but the customer service representatives are usually helpful and friendly.

You can get a free quote and consultation from CuraDebt here or call CuraDebt for a free consultation about your debt at 888-753-3619.

People with good or excellent credit can usually be approved for a great debt consolidation loan that should help them pay down their debt quickly. Most loan companies offer lower interest rates with higher loan amounts to people with good or excellent credit, giving them more options than those with average or bad credit. Here are a few of the best online loan companies that offer debt consolidation loans for people with good credit:

SoFi Loans Review

SoFi website

SoFi Loans Review image
  • Best For: Refinancing student loans. SoFi offers refinancing to those with lower credit scores (650 and above), which makes it easier for people to get financing.
  • Interest rates: These depend on the kind of loan you are applying for, but student loan refinancing rates are generally: Fixed: 4.25 percent to 7.75 percent APR. Variable: 2.97 percent to 6.15 percent APR.
  • Loan types: SoFi is best known for student loan refinancing, but it also offers actual student loans for your (or your child’s) education. In addition, it also offers mortgages and personal loans.
  • Unemployment protection: SoFi offers up to 12 months of protection from paying on your loan if you become unemployed. This is a great feature, although some lenders offer a longer period.
  • Customer Service: SoFi is best known for its customer service skills and making loans accessible to a wider range of people.

UpStart Review

Upstart website

UpStart Review image
  • Best for: Those who can’t get approved for a personal loan. UpStart looks a wide range of factors to approve you, and is known for approving those with 40 percent to 50 percent debt-to-income ratio, which is very uncommon for a loan company.
  • Price: Interest rates for loans from UpStart range from 6.925 percent to 29.99 percent, which is pretty standard for a loan.
  • Loan length: UpStart has a shorter loan length period than many banks, at 3-5 years, although that is still a good amount of time to pay off your loan.
  • Loan amount: Your loan amount will depend on your financial history and what you are using your loan for. Loans for paying off credit card bills will tend to be lower, while business loans will tend to be higher. UpStart’s loan amounts range from $1,000 to $50,000.
  • Criteria: An UpStart loan review determines who is eligible for a loan using a range of criteria, which include your credit score, years of credit, education, area of study and employment history.

Having average credit usually puts you in a better spot than people with bad credit. You have more options for debt consolidation loans that won’t restrict your qualifications based on debt amount or type of debt. That being said, you will probably have to pay a higher interest rate on your debt consolidation loan than those with good credit. Here are a few online loan companies that offer debt consolidation loans to people with average credit:

Lending Club Review

Lending Club website

Lending Club Review image
  • Interest rates: Lending Club’s rates fluctuate depending on your credit and other factors that it uses to determine your eligibility for a loan. The APR ranges between 5.99 percent and 32.99 percent. There is also an origination fee, which ranges between 0.99 percent and 5.99 percent. Lending Club’s late fee is $15 or 5 percent, whichever is greater, and the check-processing fee is $15.
  • Loan qualifications: Like traditional loans, you need certain qualifications to get approved. Lending Club looks for an average credit score or above, along with proof of income and a low debt-to-income ratio. You must also be 18 to apply.
  • Loan amounts: The maximum loan amount for Lending Club is $40,000, which is in line with most other online loan providers, while the minimum loan amount is $1,000, which is the lowest minimum among online personal loan providers, which makes it a good option for those who are looking for a quick, low-cost loan.
  • Partial loans: Lending Club offers partial loans. If investors commit to at least 60 percent of your loan, you can decide to accept the partial amount or turn it down and apply for a new loan.

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Advertising Disclaimer: Simple. Thrifty. Living. does receive compensation for some of the services that we recommend, although we only recommend services that we truly believe are the best.