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Best Credit Card Consolidation Loans of October 2020

Steve NicastroOctober 6, 2020

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Compare personal loans for credit card debt consolidation.

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 2020

Our picks for

Credit card consolidation loans

Payoff

on Payoff's website

Payoff

Min. Credit Score

640

Est. APR

5.99 - 24.99%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $40,000

on Payoff's website


Min. Credit Score

640

Key facts

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

Pros

  • Competitive rates among similar lenders.

  • Offers online educational resources.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • No co-sign or secured loan option.

  • Charges origination fee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 640.

  • Minimum credit history: 3 years.

  • Minimum annual income: $40,000.

  • Debt-to-income ratio: less than 50%.

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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Upgrade

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

Upgrade

Min. Credit Score

580

Est. APR

7.99 - 35.97%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $35,000

on Upgrade's website


Min. Credit Score

580

Key facts

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

Pros

  • Allows co-signed and joint loans.

  • Offers hardship program.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • Charges late fee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600.

  • Minimum annual income: None, but most applicants earn more than $30,000.

  • Minimum monthly free cash flow: $800.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 60%.

  • Unavailable to borrowers in: Iowa, Vermont and West Virginia.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 2.9% to 8%.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 7.99%-35.97%. 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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Lightstream

on LightStream's website

LightStream

Lightstream

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

3.99 - 16.99%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

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.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Low starting rates.

Cons

  • Does not offer pre-qualification on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 660.

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

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio varies depending on existing assets and the reason for the loan.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and may vary based on loan purpose, length of loan, loan amount, credit history and payment method (AutoPay or Invoice). Rate quote includes AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available when selected prior to loan funding. To obtain a loan, you must complete an application on LightStream.com, which may affect your credit score. You may be required to verify income, identity and other stated application information. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $5,000 loan at 12.8% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $168. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. SunTrust now Truist is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2020 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust®, Truist, LightStream®, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by SunTrust now Truist Bank.
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Marcus by Goldman Sachs

on Goldman Sachs's website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Min. Credit Score

680

Est. APR

6.99 - 19.99%

Loan Amount

$3,500 - $40,000

on Goldman Sachs's website


Min. Credit Score

680

Key facts

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

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Flexible payment options.

  • Directly pays creditors for debt consolidation loans.

  • Rate discount with autopay.

Cons

  • No option to include co-signer.

  • Reports payments to one of the three major credit bureaus.

Qualifications

  • At least 18 years old (19 in Alabama; 21 in Mississippi and Puerto Rico).

  • Valid U.S. bank account, Social Security number or tax ID.

  • 680+ credit score.

  • For debt consolidation loans, you may be required to send part of the loan directly to your creditors.

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.
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FreedomPlus

on FreedomPlus's website

FreedomPlus

FreedomPlus

Min. Credit Score

620

Est. APR

7.99 - 29.99%

Loan Amount

$7,500 - $40,000

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

  • Offers co-signed and joint loans.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • No prepayment fee.

Cons

  • May charge origination fee.

  • High minimum loan amount.

  • Charges late fee of $15 or 5%, whichever is greater.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 620. Borrowers' average is 690. The company uses the FICO 8 credit scoring model.

  • At least $40,000 in annual income. Borrowers’ average is $80,800. Joint applicants’ average is $107,200 combined.

  • Debt-to-income ratio: Less than 40%, not including mortgage. Average borrowers have a DTI of 20%.

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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Upstart

on Upstart's website

Upstart

Upstart

Min. Credit Score

600

Est. APR

6.16 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $50,000

on Upstart's website


Min. Credit Score

600

Key facts

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

Pros

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Fast funding.

Cons

  • Origination and late fees.

  • No secured or co-sign option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600.

  • Minimum credit history: None.

  • Minimum annual income: $12,000.

  • Max debt-to-income ratio: 45%.

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

1)This offer is conditioned on final approval based on our consideration and verification of financial and non-financial information. Rate and loan amount are subject to change based upon information received in your full application. This offer may be accepted only by the person identified in this offer, who is old enough to legally enter into contract for the extension of credit, a US citizen or permanent resident, and a current resident of the US. Duplicate offers received are void. Closing your loan is contingent on your meeting our eligibility requirements, our verification of your information, and your agreement to the terms and conditions on the www.upstart.com website. 2) § Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5,100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100. 3) ‡ 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 15% and 36 monthly payments of $33 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. 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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Lending Club
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

LendingClub

Lending Club

Min. Credit Score

600

Est. APR

10.68 - 35.89%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $40,000

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure 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 direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Joint loan option.

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee and late fees.

  • Does not offer mobile app to manage your loan.

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: 2% to 6%

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

Disclaimer

*All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 10.68% to 35.89%. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long-term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: 595 Market St suite 200 San Francisco Ca 94105. **Based on approximately 60% of borrowers who received offers through LendingClub’s marketing partners between Jan. 1, 2018, and July 20, 2018. The time it will take to fund your loan may vary.
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Discover

on Discover's website

Discover® Personal Loans

Discover

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

6.99 - 24.99%

Loan Amount

$2,500 - $35,000

on Discover's website


Min. Credit Score

660

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.

  • Option to directly pay creditors.

  • Flexible payment options.

Cons

  • Charges late fees.

  • No refinancing option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score required: 660; borrowers' average score is about 750.

  • Minimum credit history: Not provided.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not provided.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 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. 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 6, 2020

Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for personal loans award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including soft credit checks, no fees, transparency of loan rates and terms, flexible payment options, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider the number of complaints filed with agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation of any sort for our reviews.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Credit Card Consolidation Loans of October 2020