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The debt consolidation calculator below can help you decide if consolidation is right for you. The calculator will suggest the best way to consolidate your debt and estimate your savings with a debt consolidation loan.
You can also see our picks for the best debt consolidation loans.
Debt consolidation calculator
How to use the debt consolidation calculator
Step 1: Enter the balances, interest rates and monthly payments you currently make toward your unsecured debts, like credit cards, personal loans and payday loans.
Click "I'm done" and look at the calculator results, based on the figures you entered:
Total balance: The sum of all your debts, or what you owe in total.
Combined interest rate: Your average weighted interest rate for all the debts you put in the calculator.
Total monthly payment: The amount you're paying monthly toward these debts, including interest.
When you'll be debt-free: The amount of time until you are debt-free, based on your current balance and monthly payments.
Step 2: Choose your credit score range to see your debt consolidation options. Depending on the size of your debt and credit score, a balance transfer card or debt consolidation loan may be a good fit.
If you’re interested in a consolidation loan, drag the sliders below the table to enter an estimated rate and the repayment term you want (in years) for the new loan.
Step 3: Look at the comparison between your current debts and the new debt consolidation loan.
Debt consolidation makes the most sense when your new total payment is less than your current total payment, and you save money on interest.
What is debt consolidation?
Debt consolidation rolls your existing debts into one, ideally with a lower interest rate and shorter payoff time, saving you money and time until payoff. This is often accomplished with a debt consolidation loan, but there are other ways to consolidate debt depending on your specific situation.
Ways to consolidate debt
Debt consolidation loan: These loans, usually from an online lender, credit union or bank, provide a large amount of money to pay off multiple debts, leaving you with one monthly debt payment.
Balance transfer credit card: This option transfers credit card debt to a credit card that charges no interest for a promotional period, typically 15 to 21 months.
Home equity loan: If you own your home, you may be able to get a loan based on the equity in your home to pay off your other debts, but you risk losing your home if you don’t keep up with payments.
Retirement account loan: If you have a savings or employer-sponsored retirement account, you could take out some of that money to pay off your debts. The downsides are less funds for your retirement, and if you can’t repay the loan, you’ll owe penalties and taxes.
Debt management plan: This option combines several debts into a single monthly payment at a lower interest rate than most credit cards or loans, but it typically includes startup and monthly fees, and it often takes three to five years to repay the debt.
Weighing the pros and cons of debt consolidation
If you’re not sure whether debt consolidation is right for you, consider the benefits and risks to consolidating your debts.
Pros of debt consolidation
Cons of debt consolidation
Pros of debt consolidation
You pay less in interest: If you consolidate with a product that has a lower interest rate than your credit cards or other debts, you’ll save money on interest. This can make getting out of debt easier.
You may get out of debt faster: Since you’re paying less interest, you could potentially apply those savings to your debt repayment and get out of debt even faster.
You have only one payment: Instead of juggling multiple debt repayments, consolidating your debts means you only have to worry about making one payment. This can help you avoid late fees or additional interest.
You have a clear finish line: Paying off debt is challenging, but with consolidation, you have a clear plan and a finish line to work toward. As long as you make your payments on time, you’ll know when you’ll be out of debt for good.
Cons of debt consolidation
You may not qualify for a low enough rate: Depending on your credit score, you may not be able to qualify for a lower interest rate than your current debts, in which case, consolidation may not be the best option.
You still have debt you need to manage: Debt consolidation doesn’t mean you’re debt-free. You still have to manage payments for your new loan, balance-transfer card or other consolidation product.
Consolidation won’t fix core spending issues: If you struggle with chronic overspending, especially with credit cards, consolidation may make things worse since it frees up your credit cards to be used again.
Which lender is right for me?
NerdWallet has reviewed more than 35 lenders to help you choose one that’s right for you. Below is a list of lenders that offer standout debt consolidation loans.
Personal loans from our partners
Debt consolidation options for bad credit
If you have bad credit (a 620 credit score or lower), you can still consolidate your debts.
Consolidation loans from credit unions and online lenders are probably your best bet, since both may look more favorably on bad-credit applicants. Visit your local credit union and ask about their debt consolidation options. By becoming a credit union member, which is usually quick and affordable, you may be able to apply for a consolidation loan at a low rate.
Debt consolidation loans for bad credit are also available from online lenders. These loans have terms ranging from two to seven years, and amounts can be high as $50,000.
If you can’t qualify for a debt consolidation product that has a low enough interest rate, debt payoff options like the debt snowball and debt avalanche methods may be smart alternatives. These DIY strategies can be extremely effective and don’t require you to apply for credit.
However you make progress on your debts, paying down what you owe can help your score and make it easier to qualify for affordable credit in the future.