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And you can verify if a lender is registered to do business in your state by contacting your state Attorney General’s office or your state’s Department of Banking or Financial Regulation.

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Failing to pay a personal loan as agreed will hurt your credit, so stay on top of your loan payments and work to Credit card consolidation can affect your credit in many ways, depending on which strategy you choose.

For example, if you’re consolidating multiple balances onto one card, you’ll want to avoid maxing out that card’s credit limit, because that will hurt your credit utilization rate (how much debt you’re carrying compared to your total credit limit).

But, before applying, be sure to ask about the lender’s credit requirements.

Keep in mind that you’ll need Be sure to check out any potential online lenders with the Better Business Bureau before applying for a debt consolidation loan online.

(Not every creditor has to participate, so you may be able to keep a credit card out of the debt management plan if you need it to remain open for travel or business purposes, for example.)Once you complete your plan, some of your creditors may re-establish your credit based on your new, debt-free status and the on-time payment history you established through the course of the debt management plan.

Other ways credit card consolidation can hurt your credit: Applying for a new line of credit results in a hard inquiry on your credit report, adding a new credit account can lower the average age of your credit history and a new personal loan will show that you have a high level of outstanding debt (your scores should improve as your remaining balance shrinks from where it started). Adding a personal loan to your credit history can improve your mix of accounts (it’s good to have a combination of installment and revolving credit, like credit cards).Some strategies will be more affordable than others, and your credit card consolidation choices may be limited by your credit standing.Personal loans charge simple interest (as opposed to credit cards, which often have variable rates and sometimes have different rates for balance transfers and purchases on the same card) and they typically have loan terms of three to five years.For it to truly help you get out of debt, you have to stick to the plan, whether that’s paying off your credit card balance within a 12-month promotional financing period or making sure you make payments as agreed for the entire five-year loan term.Throughout the process, you can keep tabs on how your credit card consolidation plan is affecting your credit by reviewing your free annual credit reports and viewing your Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser.Keep in mind a debt management plan may have a negative impact on your credit during the course of the program because your creditors will close or suspend your accounts while in the program, and this can affect your credit utilization.

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