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Your Guide to Debt Consolidation Loans

Many prospective customers call Pacific Debt in hopes of obtaining a debt consolidation loan to pay off their existing credit lines. During our initial consultation with clients, we review the fact that Pacific Debt is not a lender, and therefore does not offer consolidation loans. Instead we offer a program called debt settlement, which is a form of debt relief that does not require taking out a new loan. For more information, feel free to read and learn more about our debt settlement program.

Criteria For Obtaining a Personal Loan

For those of you who are looking for a loan, there are several factors that will determine what your options may be, here are a few of those factor:

  1. What is your credit score? Generally speaking, the higher your score, the better the rate you will be offered and the more loan options you will have. Typically the lowest rates are reserved for consumers with a FICO score of 720 and above. If you don’t know your score, financial web sites such as CreditKarma.com now allow you to track and monitor your score for free.
  2. What is your capacity for repayment? In order to obtain a loan, you are going to be asked about your employment history and level of income. Lenders prefer to see stable income and will analyze your debt-to-income ratio when considering the risk involved with extending you a loan.
  3. Are you willing to use collateral to secure the loan? If you use your home or vehicle as collateral to secure the loan, lenders may offer you a lower interest rate or overlook less than perfect credit. Of course using your home or vehicle as collateral also puts those assets at risk in the event that you default, so you need to be extremely confident in your ability to repay the loan.

Types of Loans Available

Now that you have reviewed some of the major factors that lenders will consider on your quest for a consolidation loan, here are the types of loans that might be available to you:

Pay Day Loans: Designed as a short term stop gap, pay day loans are typically obtained with the understanding that the loan will be repaid on your next pay day. These loans are typically $500-$1000 and come with huge interest – often 300% APR or higher. Be careful with these high interest loans, as they can get you in serious trouble. In fact, regulators such as the CFPB, have serious concerns about pay day loans and are taking action to curb abuses in the pay day loan industry.

Personal Loans: A better alternative to pay day loans are personal loans. Personal Loans can be either secured or unsecured and typically come with a fixed monthly payment and repayment term.

  • Unsecured: Over the past few years unsecured personal loans have become very popular. Traditionally, these loans have been offered by major credit card issuers and carry interest rates of 10-25% typically. Recently, peer-to-peer lenders such as Prosper and Lending Club have sprouted up in the marketplace, giving consumers more options than ever before with regards to consolidating their debts. The downside to most of these loans is that the interest may be just as high as what you are paying on your credit card debt. In fact, a quick review of Lending Club’s web site shows that a consumer with poor credit, looking to borrow and repay a loan over 60 months, could face an APR of 35%!
  • Secured: If you use your home or a car to secure a loan, you may be able to snag a lower interest rate on your personal loan. However, the catch is that if you default on your payments, the lender is now entitled to your property and that can put you in a very serious financial predicament. If you are considering a title loan to your vehicle, check the interest rate, as they are often just as bad as pay day loans.

Changing Financial Behavior

Once you have obtained a loan and paid off your other debts, it is important to change the behavior that led to accumulating the debt in the first place. At Pacific Debt, we frequently speak to consumers who previously obtained a consolidation loan to pay off their credit cards, but now have a large personal loan and also carry large balances on their credit cards. The bottomline is that unless your financial behavior changes, a personal debt consolidation loan is really just a method of transferring your debt from one creditor to another.

We encourage consumers to do their due diligence and research your options. If you are not comfortable with the loan being offered (remember many personal loans have interest rates over 20%) , feel free to give us a call at Pacific Debt. One of our professional and courteous counselors can review with you all of your options, and can explain how debt settlement may be an appropriate alternative. The call and consultation are free, and unlike getting a new loan, we actually work to get you out of debt for less than you owe right now – not more.

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