Debt consolidation

Debt consolidation. What does this mean?

A debt consolidation loan is a single loan (generally from a financial institution) that allows you to repay your debts to several or all of your creditors at once. You are then left with only one outstanding loan - to the financial institution. In addition to streamlining your debts into a single payment, a debt consolidation loan may also offer you an interest rate that is lower than that charged by your creditors saving you money in interest charges. This option can be especially attractive if you have outstanding debts at a relatively high rate of interest (for example, those charged on some retail store cards or credit cards). You must ask your financial institution for a loan equal to the amount of your total outstanding debts that are currently due. In most cases, the financial institution will settle all the debts for you and, in return, the only monthly payment you will have to make will be to them.

Contact several financial institutions before you choose a consolidation loan since the interest rates offered by competing financial institutions may vary.

Eligible debts for consolidation loans

This option may be suitable for debts such as those relating to credit cards, public utilities or other consumer loans. However, not all debts can be combined into a consolidation loan - a mortgage cannot be included, for example. Your financial institution will be able to tell you which of your debts you will be able to pay off with the loan that they grant you.

Who qualifies for debt consolidation?

In order to qualify for a consolidation loan, a consumer usually needs to have an acceptable credit rating and sufficient income to demonstrate that they will be able to manage the loan (that is to say, to demonstrate they will be able to make the monthly consolidation payment, in addition to paying for their regular monthly bills and expenses).

*** Warning! A blemished credit rating will likely diminish your ability to secure a consolidation loan, therefore it is best to act as soon as possible (please refer to Credit and Credit Repair for more information).

How much does it cost?

It does not cost anything to apply for a loan in order to consolidate all your debts. However, a fee may be charged to open your file. Inquire at the financial institution that you choose.