BEST OF

Best Credit Card Consolidation Loans of October 2021

The best credit card consolidation loans offer low rates, flexible payment terms and direct payment to creditors. Compare your options for credit card consolidation.

Steve NicastroOct 1, 2021

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A credit card debt consolidation loan is a personal loan that pays off your high-interest credit cards, reorganizing multiple payments into a single, fixed monthly payment over a set term.

Here are credit card consolidation loan options and other factors to help you decide if consolidation works for you.

Summary of Best Credit Card Consolidation Loans of October 2021

Our picks for

Credit card consolidation loans

Upstart
Check rate

on Upstart's website

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

5.38 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $50,000

Min. Credit Score

None
Check rate

on Upstart's website


Min. Credit Score

None

Key facts

Upstart offers direct payment to creditors and may be an option for fair-credit borrowers.

Pros

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Able to fund loans within one business day.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with some debt consolidation loans.

  • Allows borrowers to choose and change payment date.

Cons

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No mobile app to manage the loan.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum credit history: None, this lending platform accepts borrowers with credit history too limited to produce a FICO score.

  • Minimum gross income: $12,000.

  • Employment: Full-time job, full-time job offer starting in 6 months, a regular part-time job, or another source of regular income.

  • Must have U.S. residential street address where borrower resides (unless military personnel on active duty).

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Valid email account required.

  • Personal bank account with U.S. routing number required.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 8%.

  • Late fee: 5% of past due amount or $15, whichever is greater.

Disclaimer

The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 21.97% and 36 monthly payments of $35 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $12,646 including a $626 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.

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Payoff
Check rate

on Payoff's website

Payoff

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Payoff

Est. APR

5.99 - 24.99%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $40,000

Min. Credit Score

600
Check rate

on Payoff's website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

Payoff’s debt consolidation loans are used solely for the purpose of paying off credit card debt.

Pros

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors.

  • Reports payments to all three major credit bureaus.

  • No prepayment or late fees.


Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

  • Requires several years of credit history.


Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600.

  • Minimum credit history: Three years.

  • At least two open accounts on credit report.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 50% (excluding mortgage).

  • Free cash flow: At least $1,000.

  • Zero credit delinquencies.

  • Must be able to provide income verification.

  • No bankruptcies filed within the past two years.

  • Must provide Social Security number.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 5%.

Disclaimer

This does not constitute an actual commitment to lend or an offer to extend credit. Upon submitting a loan application, you may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income, assets, and financial condition. Your interest rate and terms for which you are approved will be shown to you as part of the online application process. Most applicants will receive a variety of loan offerings to choose from, with varying loan amounts and interest rates. Borrower subject to a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Refer to full borrower agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.

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Lightstream
Check rate

on LightStream's website

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lightstream

Est. APR

4.49 - 20.49%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

Min. Credit Score

660
Check rate

on LightStream's website


Min. Credit Score

660

Key facts

LightStream targets strong-credit borrowers with no fees and low rates for almost any purpose, including credit card consolidation.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • Offers .5% rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Special features including rate beat program and satisfaction guarantee.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

  • Does not offer direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Several years of credit history.

  • Multiple account types within your credit history, like credit cards, a car loan or other installment loan and a mortgage.

  • Strong payment history with few or no delinquencies.

  • Investments, retirement savings or other evidence of an ability to save money.

  • Enough income to pay existing debts and a new LightStream loan.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. AutoPay discount of .50% points is only available when selected prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay will be .50% points higher. To obtain a loan, you must complete an application on LightStream.com which may affect your credit score. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 6.14% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $304.85. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. ©2021 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust, Truist, LightStream, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

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Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Check rate

on Goldman Sachs's website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Est. APR

6.99 - 19.99%

Loan Amount

$3,500 - $40,000

Min. Credit Score

660
Check rate

on Goldman Sachs's website


Min. Credit Score

660

Key facts

Marcus offers direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation, and appeals to borrowers with fair to good credit.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Wide variety of repayment term options.

  • Offers .25% rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation loans.


Cons

  • No co-sign, joint or secured loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660 FICO.

  • May need to provide proof of income, including recent pay stubs or bank statements.

  • May need to provide Social Security number, Individual Tax ID number or a photo ID.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 6 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. The availability of a loan offer and the terms of your actual offer will vary due to a number of factors, including your loan purpose and our evaluation of your creditworthiness. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans). Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. Receive a 0.25% APR reduction when you enroll in AutoPay. This reduction will not be applied if AutoPay is not in effect. When enrolled, a larger portion of your monthly payment will be applied to your principal loan amount and less interest will accrue on your loan, which may result in a smaller final payment. See loan agreement for details.

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Upgrade
Check rate

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Est. APR

5.94 - 35.47%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $50,000

Min. Credit Score

560
Check rate

on Upgrade's website


Min. Credit Score

560

Key facts

Upgrade directly pays creditors for credit card consolidation, and may lend to borrowers with fair credit scores.

Pros

  • Allows secured and joint loans.

  • Offers a wide range of repayment terms.

  • Offers a 0.5% rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Offers significant rate discount for checking account customers.

  • Offers rate discount with direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No co-signed loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 560; borrower average is 678.

  • Minimum annual income: None; borrower average is $78,000.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: Two accounts.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Less than or equal to 75%, including mortgage and calculating in your new personal loan.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 2.9% to 8%.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.94%-35.47%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. Funds sent directly to pay off your creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear, depending on the creditor.

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FreedomPlus
Check rate

on FreedomPlus's website

FreedomPlus

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
FreedomPlus

Est. APR

7.99 - 29.99%

Loan Amount

$7,500 - $50,000

Min. Credit Score

620
Check rate

on FreedomPlus's website


Min. Credit Score

620

Key facts

FreedomPlus offers direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation, and is an option for borrowers with good to excellent credit.

Pros

  • Option to choose and change your payment date.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • Joint loan option.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • High minimum loan amount.

  • No secured or co-signed loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 620; borrower average is 700.

  • Minimum debt-to-income ratio: 45%, excluding mortgage; borrower average is 23%.

  • Minimum income: None; borrowers have an average household income of $120,000.

  • Minimum credit history: three years.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: two.

  • No bankruptcy in the last 24 months.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1.99% - 4.99%.

  • Late fee: $15 or 5% of amount due, whichever is greater.

  • Unsuccessful payment fee: $15.

Disclaimer

The loan terms presented are not guaranteed and APRs presented are estimates only. To obtain a loan you must submit additional information and documentation and all loans are subject to credit review and our approval process. The range of APRs is 7.99% to 29.99% and your actual APR will depend upon factors including your credit score, usage and history, the requested loan amount, the stated loan purpose, and the term of the requested loan. To qualify for a 7.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan for an amount less than $12,000.00, and with a term equal to 24 months. Adding a co-borrower with sufficient income; using at least eighty-five percent (85%) of the loan proceeds to directly pay off qualifying existing debt; or showing proof of sufficient retirement savings, could help you also qualify for the lowest rate available. All loans are made by Cross River Bank and MetaBank®, N.A., Members FDIC.

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Lending Club
Check rate

on LendingClub's website

LendingClub

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lending Club

Est. APR

7.04 - 35.89%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $40,000

Min. Credit Score

600
Check rate

on LendingClub's website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

LendingClub offers a balance transfer loan to help borrowers consolidate credit cards. It sends your loan proceeds to up to 12 creditors to simplify the process.

Pros

  • Offers co-signed and joint loan options.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

Cons

  • Borrowers can only choose from two repayment term options.

  • Rates are high compared to other fair-credit lenders.

  • Charges an origination fee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 600. LendingClub uses FICO 8 credit scoring model.

  • Minimum credit history of three years.

  • Debt-to-income ratio of less than 40% for single applications, 35% combined for joint applicants.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1% to 6%.

  • Late fee: Greater of $15 or 5% of payment after 15-day grace period.

Disclaimer

A representative example of loan payment terms is as follows: you receive a loan of $13,411 for a term of 36 months, with an interest rate of 12.16% and a 5.30% origination fee of $711, for an APR of 15.99%. In this example, you will receive $12,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $446.46. Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $40,000 and loan term lengths are 36 months or 60 months. Some amounts and term lengths may be unavailable in certain states. APR ranges from 7.04% to 35.89% and is determined at the time of application. Origination fee ranges from 3% to 6% of the loan amount. Lowest APR is available to borrowers with excellent credit. Advertised rates and fees are valid as of 7/1/21 and are subject to change without notice. Loans are made by LendingClub Bank, N.A., Member FDIC (“LendingClub Bank”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of LendingClub Corporation, NMLS ID 167439. Loans are subject to credit approval and sufficient investor commitment before they can be funded or issued. Certain information that we subsequently obtain as part of the application process (including but not limited to information in your consumer report, your income, the loan amount that your request, the purpose of your loan, and qualifying debt) will be considered and could affect your ability to obtain a loan from us. Loan closing is contingent on accepting all required agreements and disclosures at Lendingclub.com. “LendingClub” is a trademark of LendingClub Bank.

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Discover
Check rate

on Discover's website

Discover® Personal Loans

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover

Est. APR

6.99 - 24.99%

Loan Amount

$2,500 - $35,000

Min. Credit Score

720
Check rate

on Discover's website


Min. Credit Score

720

Key facts

Discover is ideal for consumers with good to excellent credit who want to consolidate high-interest debt, and it offers direct payment to creditors.

Pros

  • No origination fee.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Offers mobile app to manage loan.

  • Able to fund loans within one business day.

  • Wide variety of repayment term options.

Cons

  • Charges late fee.

  • No co-signed, joint or secured loan options.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 720; borrower average is 750.


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Must have a minimum household income of $40,000.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: $39.

Disclaimer

This is not a commitment to lend from Discover Personal Loans. Your approval for a loan is determined once you apply and is based on your application information and credit history. Your APR will be between 6.99%-24.99% based upon creditworthiness at time of application for loan terms of 36-84 months. For example, if you get approved for a $15,000 loan at 6.99% APR for a term of 72 months, you’ll pay just $256 per month. Our lowest rates are available to consumers with the best credit. Many factors are used to determine your rate, such as your credit history, application information and the term you select. Not all applications will be approved.

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Should I consolidate credit card debt?

If you’re struggling to keep up with credit card bills, consolidation can give you the breathing room you need to pay down debt. It can lower your payments, reduce interest costs and help you reduce debt quicker. Ideally, the rate you receive on the loan is lower than the combined interest rate on your credit cards. You’ll need good to excellent credit (690 to 850 on the FICO scale) to qualify for the lowest rates.

If your credit card debt is unmanageable — you can’t repay it within five years and the total balance equals half or more of your gross income — then debt relief may be more effective than debt consolidation.

How to get a credit card consolidation loan

Take these steps to start the credit card consolidation loan process.

Know your balances and rates: Add up what you owe on the credit cards you want to consolidate, sorted by total balances and interest rates.

Aim to consolidate cards with rates that are more than the annual percentage rate you can get on a consolidation loan, to save on interest. For example, if the rates on your credit card balances are between 15% and 30% APR, look for a consolidation loan of less than 15% APR.

A loan’s APR is its interest rate plus all fees, including origination fees. Personal loan APRs range from about 6% to 36%, depending on your credit score, annual income, debt-to-income ratio and where you get a loan.

Estimate your savings: Use a debt consolidation calculator to understand how much you can potentially save by consolidating.

The calculator shows your credit card’s combined APR, and you can view how different rates and loan terms impact your payment and savings.

Compare loan features: When shopping for loans, compare features as well as rates. Some lenders offer direct payment to creditors, which means they send your loan proceeds to your credit card issuers, simplifying the debt consolidation process.

Other features that may be important to you include free credit score monitoring, credit health tools or hardship programs that temporarily suspend payments if you lose your job. Time to funding is another consideration if you need a loan fast.

Pre-qualify and apply: Pre-qualifying with lenders lets you preview the rates and loan terms you may receive, with no effect on your credit score. It also makes it easier to compare loans from multiple lenders.

After pre-qualifying and comparing options, you can formally apply for a personal loan.

Get approved and funded: Debt consolidation loans can take one day to a week to get funded, depending on the lender.

If the lender directly pays your creditors, check to ensure the payments are applied to your balances. If direct payment isn’t offered, you’ll need to pay off each credit card with the money deposited to your bank account.

Get ready to make your first new loan payment, which will likely be one month after funding.

Credit card refinancing vs. debt consolidation

Refinancing credit card debt is similar to consolidation, but instead of getting a personal loan to pay off your credit cards, you get a low-interest credit card and transfer the balance from one or more existing credit cards onto the new card.

Refinancing is often called balance transfer, and many balance transfer credit cards offer a 0% introductory APR for a period of 12 to 18 months. Like personal loans, you'll need good or excellent credit to qualify for the lowest rates.

Unlike debt consolidation loans, there is no set repayment term on a credit card (just a minimum payment requirement), and rates are often variable instead of fixed.

Balance transfers work best if you have a small balance to consolidate ($15,000 or less), and only if the interest savings outweigh any fee required to carry out the transfer. Aim to pay off the balance in full before the zero-interest promotion expires and the APR resets to its normal, higher rate.

What to do after consolidating credit cards

Plan your payments: If you didn't opt for automatic payments at loan closing, doing so now makes for convenient and on-time monthly payments, helping you avoid late fees. Auto payments are one way to manage your loan payments.

Stick to a budget: The new loan payment should fit into a budget that allocates income toward your needs, wants, savings and debt. Budgeting can help you change your spending habits, spot areas to cut back and boost your cash flow.

Avoid new credit card debt: You’ll have a lot more spending power on your credit cards after consolidating them, and there may be some temptation to use them. Track your spending carefully and aim to keep your credit utilization ratio below 30% on each card.

Last updated on October 1, 2021

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 30 lenders. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.

Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences. 

This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read our editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Credit Card Consolidation Loans of October 2021