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Personal debt in the UK has increased by £ 63.7 billion since September 2020, with the average household owing nearly £ 63,000 according to The Money Charity. While most people think they can balance their finances, many feel overwhelmed, Citizens Advice currently deals with nearly 2,000 debt issues every day. So it’s no surprise that many are looking for a way to take control of their finances. This is where a debt consolidation loan could be the solution.
A debt consolidation loan involves taking out a larger loan to pay off all of your other debt, leaving you with one more manageable repayment each month. It is often used to simplify finances and get borrowers on the right track if they are struggling to get their debt under control. Here are four ways they can help.
1. Speed up your way to free yourself from your debts
It can be easy to get into the habit of paying only the minimum monthly payment on credit cards, usually just five percent of the outstanding balance. This means that it will usually take decades to clear the balance, while still being charged a hefty amount of interest along the way. You’ll also always have access to whatever credit limit you have left, leaving you at risk of continuing to spend on the card and never actually reducing what you owe.
Likewise, a lot of people go so far with their overdraft that sometimes, even after getting paid, they don’t make it. In this situation, it can be difficult to justify asking your bank to lower your overdraft limit if that leaves you in trouble for the rest of the month. Also, if you accidentally go over your authorized overdraft limit, most banks charge a penalty and a higher interest rate, making it a costly situation.
Consolidating your debt into one loan means you’ll have a fixed end date in sight, so you’ll know exactly when you’re debt free. Provided you can follow the repayment schedule, knowing when your debts will be paid off can be a huge relief from financial stress.
The interest rate charged is usually much lower than that of a credit card, and spreading repayments over time can mean those payments are lower and more manageable. However, there are usually fees associated with these types of loans and different providers charge different rates, so it pays to shop around.
To get an idea of how much you might need to borrow and for how long, the experts at Loan.co.uk have a very useful debt consolidation calculator.
2. Only process one refund
If you manage multiple lines of credit, one of the things you will need to manage is multiple amounts and repayment periods. While this is often facilitated by setting up a direct debit for the amount you need to pay, you still need to make sure you have enough funds in your bank account to cover each transaction.
This is where many run into problems: either they do not have enough money to meet all the direct debits they have set up, or they have so many repayments to make at different times that they it’s easy to forget what you owe where. The problem with missed or late payments is that they usually come with a fee, on top of the interest you would usually pay, which further increases debt. Add to that the damage this causes to your credit score, and it’s not hard to see why multiple repayments can quickly become a serious problem.
A debt consolidation loan benefits from only one repayment, for a fixed amount, at the same time each month until it is repaid. It is common for people to set up a direct debit so that this payment is taken automatically from their bank account shortly after payday. This means that they can be confident that they can repay the right amount, at the right time, month after month.
Another benefit of having only one refund is that it makes day-to-day life more manageable. Without having to keep track of so much, it should be a lot easier to see how much disposable income you have each month and a lot less stressful on you and your finances in general.
3. Potentially get lower interest rates
Most debt consolidation loans will fall under the umbrella of “homeowners” or “secured” loans, which means that your home will be used as collateral against the amount you borrow. Because of this security, there is less risk for the lender, who will therefore be more likely to offer you better interest rates.
This can be especially useful if your debt is spread across multiple lines of credit. In particular, payday loans, overdrafts and some credit cards carry some of the highest interest rates. If you have just enough money to pay off the bare minimum on this type of credit, and the interest rates are high, it could take you decades before you can pay them off completely.
By getting a debt consolidation loan with a lower interest rate, you will find that more of the repayment amount will go towards debt reduction, rather than interest.
Keep in mind that you usually take out a debt consolidation loan for a longer period of time than an unsecured loan. Although the interest rates may be lower, you may be able to pay off more interest overall. However, it is often worth it if it makes everyday life much easier.
4. Improve your credit score over time
If you’re struggling to manage your debt and are likely to make late payments, or worse, miss payments altogether, it could really hurt your credit score. Any missed or late payments will be recorded on your credit report for six years, which means that even if you’ve been paying off your debt for a long time, you could still suffer the effects for years to come.
Also, if you repeatedly fail to keep up with your repayments, you may find that your lenders are taking extra steps to get their money back. This could include legal action, which could end up with you with a CCJ (County Court Judgment) or IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement).
These will also stay on your credit report for six years, but can make it nearly impossible to approve new lines of credit. While it might be best not to borrow more money while you are paying off your debt, it could also affect much more ordinary, everyday things like renting out a property and getting a mortgage. mobile phone contract.
Paying off your creditors and closing your accounts with them using a debt consolidation loan is a great first step in improving your credit score. Then, provided you can keep track of your repayments on your debt consolidation loan, you will demonstrate to lenders that you are a responsible borrower who can manage credit well, which can go a long way in improving your credit score.