Advertiser Disclosure

Best Debt Consolidation Loans for 2019

April 26, 2019
Loans, Personal Loans
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

If you’re like many Americans with rising credit card balances, you may be looking for ways to get your debt under control. Debt consolidation loans are one option that can reduce your debt and help you pay it off sooner.

Debt consolidation is the process of combining multiple debts — such as credit cards, medical bills and payday loans — into one debt with a fixed monthly payment. Consolidating debt with a personal loan works best if the rate on the loan is lower than the combined interest rate on your existing debt.

When comparing debt consolidation loans, look for low rates, flexible terms and consumer-friendly features such as direct payment to creditors.

Best for fair credit and credit card debt: Payoff

It may be difficult for borrowers with fair to bad credit (roughly coinciding with a FICO score between 300 and 689) to qualify for a low-interest debt consolidation loan. But some lenders consider factors beyond credit scores or cater to borrowers consolidating debt.

Payoff, which lends only to people consolidating credit card debt, requires a minimum credit score of 640 and two years of credit history. It offers financial guidance to help you stay on top of loan payments.

4.5 NerdWallet rating

• APR: 5.99% - 24.99%.

• Loan amount: $5,000 - $35,000.

• Loan terms: 2 to 5 years.

• Minimum credit score: 640.

• Time to funding: 1 to 7 business days.

• Fees: Origination fee of 0% to 5% of loan amount. No late fee.

Read our review

Check rate Click to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.

Best for fair credit and high DTI: Upgrade

Upgrade requires a minimum credit score of 620, and some borrowers with high debt-to-income ratios may qualify. It also offers direct payment to creditors, which means it sends your loan proceeds directly to creditors, saving you the effort of paying off each debt.

You can also use an Upgrade loan to refinance an existing personal loan.

4.0 NerdWallet rating

• APR: 7.99% - 35.89%.

• Loan amount: $1,000 - $50,000.

• Loan terms: 3 or 5 years.

• Minimum credit score: 620.

• Time to funding: 24 hours.

• Fees: Origination fee of 1.5% - 6% of loan amount.

Read our review.

Check rate Click to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.

Best for bad credit and fast funding: Avant

Consider Avant if you’re consolidating high-interest debts, such as payday loans. It has a low minimum credit score requirement, and you may receive your funds the next day. About half of Avant customers use their loans to consolidate debt.

4.0 NerdWallet rating

• APR: 9.95% - 35.99%.

• Loan amount: $2,000 - $35,000.

• Loan terms: 2 to 5 years.

• Minimum credit score: 580.

• Time to funding: As soon as the next business day.

• Fees: Administrative fee of 4.75% of loan amount; fees for late payment and unsuccessful payment.

Read our review.

Check rate Click to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.

» MORE: Personal loans for bad credit

Best for good credit and no fees: Marcus

Online lender Marcus is an option for borrowers with good to excellent credit (roughly coinciding with a FICO score of at least 690). Its starting rates are lower than the average rate on credit cards, and its loans have no fees.

Marcus also offers direct payment to creditors and flexible repayment options. After 12 consecutive monthly payments on a Marcus loan, borrowers can skip a payment at no extra cost.

5.0 NerdWallet rating

• APR: 5.99% - 28.99%.

• Loan amount: $3,500 - $40,000.

• Loan terms: 3 to 6 years.

• Minimum credit score: 660.

• Time to funding: Usually 2 days.

• Fees: None.

Read our review.

Check rate Click to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.

Best for good credit and flexible payment options: Discover

Like Marcus, Discover also offers direct payment to creditors and flexible payment options, as borrowers can change payment due dates or defer payments. Discover also gives borrowers free access to their FICO credit score.

4.5 NerdWallet rating

• APR: 6.99% - 24.99%.

• Loan amount: $2,500 to $35,000.

• Loan terms: 3 to 7 years.

• Minimum credit score: 660.

• Time to funding: Next-day, up to a week.

• Fees: No origination fee. Fee for late payment.

Read our review.

Compare rates Click to compare estimated rates on NerdWallet.

Best for good credit or co-signers: Laurel Road

Laurel Road has no origination fees and allows you to add a co-signer to your application, which can help you get a lower rate on a debt consolidation loan.

It also offers a rate-beat discount, so if you happen to get a lower rate offer from another lender, submit it to Laurel Road and they will beat the interest rate.

5.0 NerdWallet rating

• APR: 8.01% - 16.30% (with autopay).

• Loan amount: $1,000 - $45,000.

• Loan terms: 3 to 5 years.

• Minimum credit score: 700.

• Time to funding: 5 business days.

• Fees: No origination fee; late fee is the lesser of 5% of payment or $28.

Read our review.

Check rate Click to pre-qualify on NerdWallet.

Get the most with a debt consolidation loan

Shop around: Compare rates and terms at multiple lenders before applying for a debt consolidation loan. Most online lenders let you pre-qualify with a soft credit inquiry, which has no impact on your credit score.

Plan ahead: Before your loan is funded, create a budget that allocates a percentage of your income toward debt repayment, and track your repayment progress with a budgeting and saving app.

Curb spending: Avoid big expenditures on your credit cards as you pay off debt, but don’t close any of the cards. Canceling credit accounts can hurt your credit score.

» MORE: 4 keys to successful debt consolidation

Summary: Best debt consolidation loans

  • Best for fair credit and credit card debt: Payoff.
  • Best for fair credit and high DTI: Upgrade.
  • Best for bad credit and fast funding: Avant.
  • Best for good credit and no fees: Marcus.
  • Best for good credit and flexible payment options: Discover.
  • Best for good credit or co-signers: Laurel Road.

About the author