Debt consolidation is a program that pays the creditors in full by consolidating the debts into one monthly payment, often with lower interest rates. One of the most common questions consumer’s have when deciding whether or not to enroll in a debt consolidation program is “Will this hurt my credit score?” Credit advisors will tell you that the answer to this question will vary depending on how you use the services. If the services are used properly, debt consolidation should not harm your credit score, and can even help to improve it.
The following will explain the best ways to use debt consolidation services in order to become debt free without harming your credit score
- The first step to properly using debt consolidation services is to thoroughly research the debt consolidation company you choose to enroll in. Google the company, look them up on the Better Business Bureau, and check consumer reports to make sure the company is legitimate. Choosing the wrong company can result in the mishandling of your payments and accounts, thus negatively affecting your credit score.
- Don’t confuse debt consolidation with debt settlement. Debt settlement is the process of negotiating with your creditors, and settling your debt for a much smaller amount than the original balance. Debt settlement does not allow you to remain current, so combined with the fact that you are only paying a portion of the debt back, your credit score will take a hit with debt settlement.
- Once enrolled in a debt consolidation program you will have to close any accounts you enroll on the program. It is best to contact the creditors in writing to request your accounts be closed. Your account will be closed either way once you enroll in a debt consolidation program, but if you do not contact the creditor, they may report your account as “closed by the creditor”, and this will look bad to any future creditors.
- Paying off debt on a debt consolidation program can take up to a few years depending on the debt size. It is important to not give up, and keep making your payments on time every month. Sticking to the program will get your debt free without harming your credit score.
- Finally, don’t fall back into bad habits once you have completed the debt consolidation process and become debt free . Learn from your mistakes and keep your credit card balances to a minimum.
Debt consolidation is an excellent way to assist you in your goals to eliminating debt. Properly using debt consolidation services will get you debt free without hurting your credit score.