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There’s no shame in having debt — each American household has an average of over $100,000. But if you’re putting too much toward high-interest credit cards or other debt, that’s less money in your pocket.

Consolidating your debt could save you money on that interest and combine all of your monthly payments into one — making it easier for you to get out of debt. You’ll usually need good credit to qualify for the lowest rates. But even with bad credit, consolidation could still get you a better rate.

We did the work to help you find the best personal loans for debt consolidation, so you can finally take control of your debt. Here are the best debt consolidation loans to help you feel less overwhelmed in 2024.

Best debt consolidation loans

Our top picks for debt consolidation loans in 2024

Compare the best debt consolidation loan lenders

 INTEREST RATESLOAN AMOUNTS LOAN TERMS DIRECT PAYMENT TO CREDITORS?
8.99% to 29.49%
$5,000 to $100,000
2 to 7 years
Yes
Upgrade
8.49% to 35.99%
$1,000 to $50,000
2 to 7 years
Yes
Achieve
8.99% to 35.99%
$1,000 to $50,000
2 to 5 years
Yes
LendingClub
8.98% to 35.99%
$1,000 to $40,000
2 to 5 years
Yes
Discover
7.99% to 24.99%
$2,500 to $40,000
3 to 7 years
Yes
Happy Money
11.72% to 17.99%
$5,000 to $40,000
2 to 5 years
Yes
Lightstream
8.89% to 25.99%
$5,000 to $100,000
2 to 7 years (depending on loan type)
No

All rates include discounts where noted by the lender and are accurate as of June 11, 2024.

Methodology

Our expert writers and editors have reviewed and researched multiple lenders to help you find the best debt consolidation loan. Out of all the lenders considered, the seven that made our list excelled in areas across the following categories (with weightings):

  • Loan cost: 35%
  • Loan details: 25%
  • Eligibility and accessibility: 20%
  • Direct creditor payment: 10%
  • Customer experience: 10%

Within each major category, we considered several characteristics, including APR ranges, prepayment penalties, maximum loan amounts and terms, minimum credit score requirements and co-signer acceptance. We also evaluated each provider’s customer support options and customer reviews.

What is a debt consolidation loan?

A debt consolidation loan is a type of personal loan that you can use to pay off existing debts, such as credit cards or medical bills. This leaves you with just one rate and payment to manage, which can greatly simplify your repayment.

Depending on the lender, debt consolidation loans can range from as little as a few hundred dollars up to $100,000, and they generally come with repayment terms from one to seven years.

Personal loans for debt consolidation also typically have fixed interest rates, which means your rate and payment will stay the same throughout the life of the loan. Additionally, if you have good credit, you might qualify for a lower interest rate on a debt consolidation loan than what you’ve been paying. This could save you money on interest and possibly help you get out of debt faster.

Looking for expert help? See how credit counseling can help you get out of debt

How it works

When you take out a debt consolidation loan, you’ll use the funds to pay off other debts. While you can receive the money as a lump sum, some debt consolidation lenders can send the funds directly to your creditors, making the process even easier. Afterward, you’ll be left with only a single loan and monthly payment to track.

Is it right for you? Using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt

How to get a debt consolidation loan

If you’re ready to get a debt consolidation loan, follow these steps:

  1. Check your credit. When you apply for a personal loan for debt consolidation, the lender will review your credit to see if you qualify — so it’s a good idea to check your credit beforehand to see where you stand. You can use a site like AnnualCreditReport.com to review your credit reports for free. If you find any errors, report them to the appropriate credit bureaus to potentially boost your credit score.
  2. Compare lenders and pick a loan option. Before you apply, take the time to shop around and compare your options with as many loan consolidation companies as possible. This way, you’ll be able to find the right debt consolidation loan for your needs. Look at interest rates as well as other factors like repayment terms, fees and eligibility requirements. Afterward, choose the loan option you like best.
  3. Submit an application. Once you’ve picked a lender, you’ll need to complete a full application. Many lenders offer fully online applications while others might require you to visit a local branch. Be prepared to submit requested documentation, too, such as tax returns or pay stubs.
  4. Get your funds. If you’re approved, the lender will have you sign for the loan so the funds can be disbursed to you. It generally takes about a week to receive funds from a personal loan — though with some lenders, you could get your money as soon as the same or next business day after approval. Several debt consolidation lenders also offer the option to pay your creditors directly to make the process even easier.

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Is debt consolidation a good idea?

Whether debt consolidation is a good idea will depend on your individual situation and financial goals. For example, say you have good credit and can qualify for a lower interest rate than what you’ve been paying. Or you simply have multiple debts and want to combine them so they’re easier to manage. In these cases, consolidating could be a helpful move.

On the other hand, say you have bad credit and can’t qualify for a decent interest rate. Or you’re struggling with an unresolved spending problem that consolidation won’t fix. In these situations, debt consolidation might not be the best solution.

Pros and cons of debt consolidation

Here are some pros and cons of debt consolidation to help you decide if it’s the right fit for you:

ProsCons
Could lower your interest rate.
Could be hard to qualify without good credit.
Might reduce your monthly payments if you choose a longer loan term.
Might come with fees.
Combines debt into one loan, which can simplify repayment.
Doesn’t solve underlying financial issues.

Consolidation can still be possible: Compare the top debt consolidation lenders for bad credit

Alternatives to a debt consolidation loan

If a debt consolidation loan doesn’t seem right for you, here are some alternatives to consider:

Balance transfer card

With this option, you can transfer credit card debt to a balance transfer credit card. Several cards offer a 0% APR introductory period, which means you can avoid interest charges if you pay off the card before it ends.

Just keep in mind that if you can’t repay your balance in time, you could end up with some hefty interest charges. Balance transfers also usually come with fees — typically 3% to 5% of the total transfer amount.

Home equity loan

If you’re a homeowner, you could tap into your equity with a home equity loan to consolidate debt. Similar to a personal loan, you’ll receive a lump sum to use how you’d like — though home equity loans often come with lower interest rates in comparison.

However, because your home acts as collateral for the loan, you risk losing it if you can’t keep up with your payments.

Home equity line of credit

Another option for accessing home equity is with a home equity line of credit (HELOC). With a HELOC, you’ll have access to a revolving credit line that you can repeatedly draw on and pay off — similar to a credit card. HELOCs also tend to have lower interest rates than home equity loans and personal loans.

Note that HELOC rates are often variable, meaning your rate and payment could fluctuate according to market conditions. Additionally, the lender could foreclose on your home if you fail to make your payments.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

A debt consolidation loan can be used to pay off a wide variety of debts. For example, you could use a debt consolidation loan to consolidate:

  • Credit cards.
  • Store cards.
  • Gas cards.
  • Medical bills.
  • Student loans.
  • Personal loans.
  • Accounts in collection.

When you apply for a debt consolidation loan, the lender will perform a hard credit check to determine your creditworthiness. This could affect your credit score by causing a slight but temporary drop — usually around five points, though this can vary. You can generally expect your score to bounce back after a few months.

Keep in mind that your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO credit score, so you could see an improvement in your score over time if you consistently make on-time payments on your loan. 

Getting a debt consolidation loan might also boost your score if you’re able to reduce your credit utilization ratio, which is the amount you owe on revolving credit lines (like credit cards and lines of credit) compared to your total credit limits.

While consolidating your debt can help you pay off outstanding loans, save money on interest and simplify your repayment, it can also come with a few disadvantages. For example, you might end up with:

  • Fees: Even the best loans for debt consolidation can come with fees (such as origination fees or late fees), depending on the lender.
  • Higher rates: In some situations, you might end up with a higher rate than what you’re currently paying. Some factors that can lead to a higher rate include having less-than-stellar credit, choosing a longer repayment term or borrowing a larger amount.
  • No financial solution: Consolidation doesn’t address any underlying financial issues or problems that you might have. It also won’t help borrowers curb overspending or other poor financial habits. 

Debt consolidation itself does not show up on your credit report unless you go through a separate process known as debt settlement. This is where instead of paying off your debts in full, you negotiate with your creditors to settle your debts with a single lump-sum payment—usually for less than what you owe. While this can provide financial relief, it can also damage your credit and come with expensive fees.

If you opt to take out a personal loan for debt consolidation, the hard credit inquiry performed by the lender during the application process will show up on your credit report and will stay there for two years. The inquiry itself will only impact your score for up to one year, though.

Your new loan will also be listed on your credit report, and your payments will be reported to the credit bureaus. Any missed or late payments can stay on your credit report for up to seven years, so be sure to keep up with your payments. You might consider signing up for automatic payments to avoid missing any in the future.

The best consolidation loan for you depends on your individual circumstances. For example, if you have several large debts with high interest rates and prefer a longer repayment period, then a debt consolidation loan could be a good choice.

But if you have credit card debt that you can afford to pay off before a 0% APR introductory period ends, then a balance transfer card might be a better fit to save more on interest.

Editor’s Note: This article contains updated information from previously published stories:

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy. The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Ashley Harrison is a ӣƵ Blueprint loans and mortgages deputy editor who has worked in the online finance space since 2017. She’s passionate about creating helpful content that makes complicated financial topics easy to understand. She has previously worked at Forbes Advisor, Credible, LendingTree and Student Loan Hero. Her work has appeared on Fox Business and Yahoo. Ashley is also an artist and massive horror fan who had her short story “The Box” produced by the award-winning NoSleep Podcast. In her free time, she likes to draw, play video games, and hang out with her black cats, Salem and Binx.

Jamie Young

BLUEPRINT

Jamie Young is Lead Editor of loans and mortgages at ӣƵ Blueprint. She has been writing and editing professionally for 12 years. Previously, she worked for Forbes Advisor, Credible, LendingTree, Student Loan Hero, and GOBankingRates. Her work has also appeared on some of the best-known media outlets including Yahoo, Fox Business, Time, CBS News, AOL, MSN, and more. Jamie is passionate about finance, technology, and the Oxford comma. In her free time, she likes to game, play with her two crazy cats (Detective Snoop and his girl Friday), and try to keep up with her ever-growing plant collection.