Pay attention to debt consolidation options

Debt consolidation may seem like a good option for some consumers trying to get out of debt. However, people need to be mindful of what they may be getting into when seeking debt help.

Debt consolidation allows a consumer to transfer all of their debts into one monthly payment, which may come at a lower interest rate. Chicago Tribune columnist Kayce Ataiyero recently noted that many debt consolidation plans aren’t what they used to be. With lenders being more cautious, lower rates may be more difficult to find.

"The loans that are available likely will require collateral and have much higher interest rates than before, in some cases as high as 25 percent," Ataiyero said.

Another option for debt consolidation may be for consumers to use a balance transfer into a new credit card, which may have a lower rate. However, consumers need to make sure they don’t compound their debt by putting new charges on the card.

One other option would be to seek a debt management plan through a credit counseling service, which may be able to negotiate a lower rate for consumers. A recent article from U.S. News and World Report had similar advice for consumers. It suggested people with debt problems seek out the help of a credit counselor.

Often times a nonprofit credit counselor can get the best possible rates and payment plans for those who are in need of help. At Consolidated Credit, we urge people in this situation to look at their options and do some investigation. A good place to start is with a free debt evaluation from a certified credit counselor.