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Personal loans for debt consolidation

You can use an unsecured personal loan to consolidate debt or finance large purchases. Interest rates and terms can vary, based on your credit score and other factors. Compare loans from multiple lenders and learn more about personal loans.


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We found 14 options from our lending partners

3 year loan

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
3.99-19.99% 

Mo. payment 
$332 

Min. credit 
660 

Min. credit

660

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Several years of credit history; excellent-credit borrowers have at least five, according to LightStream.

  • 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.

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.

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.

SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
5.99-19.63% 

Mo. payment 
$336 

Min. credit 
680 

Min. credit

680

Qualifications

  • Must legally be an adult in your state.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or visa holder.

  • Must be employed, have sufficient income or have an offer of employment to start within the next 90 days.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Offers co-sign and joint loan options.

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

  • Offers unemployment protection.

  • Provides mobile app to manage your loan.

Cons

  • No secured loan option.

Disclaimer

Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 19.63% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of July 30, 2021 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
7.01-35.99% 

Mo. payment 
$379 

Min. credit 
580 

Min. credit

580

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 580.

  • 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.

Pros

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Able to fund loans within one business day.

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

Cons

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

  • Charges origination fee.

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 24.4% and 36 monthly payments of $36 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.

FreedomPlus

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
FreedomPlus

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
8.0-30.0% 

Mo. payment 
$367 

Min. credit 
620 

Min. credit

620

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 620; borrower average is 700. The company uses the FICO 8 credit scoring model.

  • Minimum debt-to-income ratio: 45%, excluding mortgage.

  • Minimum credit history: 3 years.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 2.

  • No bankruptcy in the last 24 months.

Pros

  • Able to fund loans within two business days.

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • High minimum loan amount.

  • No option to include co-signer.

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.

Best Egg

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Best Egg

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
9.3-12.8% 

Mo. payment 
$328 

Min. credit 
600 

Min. credit

600

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600; borrower average is 700.

  • Minimum credit history: 3 years and 3 accounts.

  • Minimum income: No minimum income requirement; borrower average is $80,000. Borrower must have enough cash flow to cover current financial obligations.

  • Minimum debt-to-income ratio: 40% or 65% including a mortgage; borrower average is 40%.

  • Employment: Must provide proof of income; part-time employees are eligible.

  • Must provide valid U.S. address and Social Security number.

Pros

  • Competitive rates among fair-credit lenders.

  • Able to fund loans within one business day.

  • Secured loan option for homeowners.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

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

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

Disclaimer

*Trustpilot TrustScore as of June 2020. Best Egg personal loans, including the Best Egg Secured Loan, are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. “Best Egg” is a trademark of Marlette Funding, LLC. "Best Egg Secured Loan" is a pending trademark of Marlette Funding, LLC. All uses of “Best Egg” refer to “the Best Egg personal loan”, “Best Egg on behalf of Cross River Bank, as originator of the Best Egg personal loan” and/or "the Best Egg Secured Loan"as applicable. The term, amount and APR of any loan we offer to you will depend on your credit sc¬ore, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, credit history and other factors. Your loan agreement will contain specific terms and conditions. About half of our customers get their money the next day. After successful verification, your money can be deposited in your bank account within 1-3 business days. The timing of available funds upon loan approval may vary depending upon your bank’s policies. Loan amounts range from $2,000– $50,000. Residents of Massachusetts have a minimum loan amount of $6,500 ; New Mexico and Ohio, $5,000; and Georgia, $3,000. For a second Best Egg loan, your total existing Best Egg loan balances cannot exceed $50,000. Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) range from 5.99%–29.99%. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0.99%–5.99% of your loan amount, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive. The origination fee on a loan term 4-years or longer will be at least 4.99%. Your loan term will impact your APR, which may be higher than our lowest advertised rate. You need a minimum 700 FICO® score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to qualify for our lowest APR. To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. What this means for you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents.

Avant

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Avant

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
9.95-35.99% 

Mo. payment 
$387 

Min. credit 
550 

Min. credit

550

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 550.

Pros

  • Able to fund loans the next business day.

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • Offers secured loan option.

Cons

  • Charges an origination fee.

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

  • No co-sign or joint loan option.

Disclaimer

A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33. Minimum loan amounts may vary by state. If approved, the actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. An administration fee of up to 4.75% will be deducted from the loan proceeds. Avant branded credit products are issued by Webbank, member FDIC

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
11.0-15.0% 

Mo. payment 
$337 

Min. credit 
580 

Min. credit

580

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 580.

  • Minimum annual income: $35,000; average borrower income is $87,000.

  • Minimum credit history: 3 years.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 2.

  • Minimum monthly free cash flow: $800.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Varies between 55% and 65% including the loan you’re applying for and mortgage payments. To see your post-loan DTI, calculate your monthly payments on a personal loan, and then add them to your debt-to-income calculation.

  • Average loan amount is $10,000.

  • Average repayment term is 40 months.

Pros

  • Allows secured, co-signed and joint loans.

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

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

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • Charges late fee.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.94%-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.

Goldman Sachs

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Goldman Sachs

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
10.99-16.49% 

Mo. payment 
$341 

Min. credit 
660 

Min. credit

660

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Must be 18 or over, 19 in Alabama and 21 in Mississippi and Puerto Rico.

  • Must have a valid U.S. bank account and Social Security or Individual Tax I.D. Number.

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

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • 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.

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.

Prosper Borrowers

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Prosper Borrowers

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
13.3% 

Mo. payment 
$338 

Min. credit 
640 

Min. credit

640

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 640; borrower average is 726.

  • Minimum credit history: 2 years.

  • Minimum income: No minimum income requirement; borrower average is $113,000.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 50% (excluding mortgage); borrower average is 18% with housing payment.

  • No bankruptcies filed within the past year.

  • At least three open accounts on credit report.

  • Fewer than five credit bureau inquiries in the last six months.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Must provide Social Security number and a U.S. bank account.


Pros

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Offers joint loan.

  • Offers wide range of loan amounts. 


Cons

  • No rate discount for autopay.

  • Charges origination and late fees.

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

Disclaimer

For example, a three-year $10,000 personal loan would have an interest rate of 11.74% and a 5.00% origination fee for an annual percentage rate (APR) of 15.34% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 36 scheduled monthly payments of $330.90. A five-year $10,000 personal loan would have an interest rate of 11.99% and a 5.00% origination fee with a 14.27% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 60 scheduled monthly payments of $222.39. Origination fees vary between 2.41%-5%. Personal loan APRs through Prosper range from 7.95% to 35.99%, with the lowest rates for the most creditworthy borrowers. Eligibility for personal loans up to $40,000 depends on the information provided by the applicant in the application form. Eligibility for personal loans is not guaranteed, and requires that a sufficient number of investors commit funds to your account and that you meet credit and other conditions. Refer to Borrower Registration Agreement for details and all terms and conditions. All personal loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC.

Payoff

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Payoff

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
13.9% 

Mo. payment 
$342 

Min. credit 
640 

Min. credit

640

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 640.

  • 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.

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.


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.

Universal Credit

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Universal Credit

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
14.57-30.74% 

Mo. payment 
$385 

Min. credit 
580 

Min. credit

580

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 580.

  • Minimum credit history: 2 years.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 2 accounts.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 75%, including mortgage and the loan you’re applying for.

Pros

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

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Offers free credit score access.

  • High debt-to-income ratio accepted.

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

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

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

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Universal Credit feature APRs of 8.93%-35.93%. All personal loans have a 4.25% 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 27.65% APR (which includes a 22.99% yearly interest rate and a 6% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,400 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $387.05. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $13,933.62. 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.

LendingClub

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
LendingClub

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
16.0% 

Mo. payment 
$352 

Min. credit 
600 

Min. credit

600

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.

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.

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 8.05% 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 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.

OneMain

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
OneMain

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
18.00-35.99% 

Mo. payment 
$408 

Min. credit 
None 

Min. credit

None

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum income: Not disclosed; average is $45,000.

Pros

  • Option to choose your payment date.

  • Offers joint and secured loans.

  • Able to fund a loan the same or next business day.

  • Offers online educational resources.

Cons

  • Rates are high compared to other online lenders.

  • Charges origination fee.

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

Disclaimer

Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum annual percentage rate (APR) is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. Depending on the state where you open your loan, the origination fee may be either a flat amount or a percentage of your loan amount. Flat fee amounts vary by state, ranging from $25 to $300. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 10% of your loan amount subject to certain state limits on the fee amount. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes. Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600. Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

LendingPoint

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
LendingPoint

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
APR 
22.67% 

Mo. payment 
$385 

Min. credit 
600 

Min. credit

600

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score of 600; borrowers’ average is 670. LendingPoint uses the FICO 9 credit scoring model.

  • At least $20,000 in annual income; average customer earns $85,000.

  • Debt-to-income ratio of less than 40%; average customer is 15%.

Pros

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Can fund a loan the business day after approval.

Cons

  • No co-signed or joint loan option.

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

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

Disclaimer

Loan approval is not guaranteed. Actual loan offers and loan amounts, terms and annual percentage rates (“APR”) may vary based upon LendingPoint's proprietary scoring and underwriting system's review of your credit, financial condition, other factors, and supporting documents or information you provide. Origination or other fees from 0% to 6% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon LendingPoint's final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. LendingPoint makes loan offers from $2,000 to $25,000, at rates ranging from a low of 15.49% APR to a high of 34.99% APR, with terms from 24 to 48 months.


Debt Consolidation Loans: What You Need to Know

April 16, 2021

What is a debt consolidation loan and how does it work?

A debt consolidation loan is a single loan you use to pay off multiple debts, such as balances on high-interest credit cards, medical bills or other unsecured debt. This strategy can lower the total interest you owe on the debt and help you pay it off faster.

Online lenders, some banks and credit unions offer debt consolidation loans. If you qualify, the lender deposits the loan into your bank account, and you use that money to pay off your debts. Some lenders will send your loan proceeds directly to your creditors, saving you that step.

Once you pay off your other debts, you make monthly payments toward the debt consolidation loan. Payments are fixed for the life of the loan, typically two to seven years.

Debt consolidation is one of several strategies for paying off debt. Debt consolidation won’t work if you have too much debt or haven’t fixed underlying spending issues.

How do I qualify for a debt consolidation loan?

Almost all lenders require you to be 18 years or older, a legal U.S. resident with a verifiable bank account and not in bankruptcy or foreclosure.

Borrowers with good or excellent credit (690 or higher on the FICO scale) and low debt-to-income ratios may qualify for lower interest rates. Strong credit may also qualify you for larger loan amounts.

Someone with bad or fair credit (689 or lower on the FICO scale) and steady income may still be able to qualify, but would likely see a higher interest rate. It can pay to shop around and compare rates on debt consolidation loans to find the most affordable one.

What rate should I expect?

Debt consolidation loans work best if the loan has a lower interest rate than the combined interest on your existing debts. You can use NerdWallet’s debt consolidation calculator to see your total balance, total monthly payment and combined interest rate across your debts.

Rates vary from lender to lender and depend heavily on your credit history and ability to repay. Here is what interest rates on personal loans look like, on average:

How's your credit?

Score range

Estimated APR

Excellent.

720-850.

11.8%.

Good.

690-719.

17.4%.

Fair.

630-689.

23.4%.

Bad.

300-629.

28.7% (Lowest scores unlikely to qualify).

Source: Average rates are based on aggregate, anonymized offer data from users who pre-qualified in NerdWallet’s lender marketplace between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020. Rates are estimates only and not specific to any lender.

How will debt consolidation affect my credit score?

Lenders will conduct a hard credit inquiry when you apply for a debt consolidation loan. This temporarily lowers your credit score by a few points and will stay on your credit report for two years.

Like other forms of credit, making your loan’s monthly payment on time and in full helps you build credit, while missing payments could damage it.

If you took out the loan to pay off credit card debt but end up carrying a balance on your cards while the loan is still active, your credit score could suffer.

As long as you are able to pay off your loan and stay out of debt, consolidation could have a positive overall effect on your credit.

Debt consolidation vs. balance transfer card

For borrowers with good credit, a balance transfer credit card is an alternative to a debt consolidation loan. Such cards have an introductory 0% interest rate, which increases after a promotional period, usually no more than 18 months.

You’ll want to pay the card’s balance before the introductory period expires, because then your card’s regular interest rate will kick in. In addition to paying off your balance before the rate increases, you’ll want to avoid making further charges.

A personal loan offers some advantages over balance transfer cards.

Unlike balance transfer cards, borrowers across the credit spectrum may be able to qualify for a personal loan, though rates will vary. Fixed payments on a personal loan also ensure you’ll pay off debt on a set schedule. And while a card issuer will decide your credit limit on a balance transfer card, personal loan borrowing limits are typically high, with some lenders offering loans of $50,000 or more.

A personal loan balance is reported as installment debt, which is treated differently in credit scoring formulas than revolving debt such as credit cards. Revolving debt has a larger impact on your score, so paying off a balance transfer card could help you build credit faster.

How to manage my debt consolidation loan

Creating a budget that accounts for your loan payments is an important step toward successful consolidation. NerdWallet recommends the 50/30/20 rule, which divides your income into three categories: needs, wants, and savings and debt repayment.

As you make progress on paying off your loan, keep your credit card balances at zero until you are debt-free. But try not to close your accounts, which can lower your credit score. Some creditors may require you to pay a fee to keep your account open.

How to choose a debt consolidation loan

Choosing the right debt consolidation loan will depend on your credit score, income, desired loan amount and repayment term, but it’s a good rule of thumb to look for the lowest annual percentage rate.

Many online lenders will let you pre-qualify to compare rates, which won’t hurt your credit score. This feature is less common among banks and credit unions.

You should also look for lenders that specialize in debt consolidation or offer perks like sending your loan funds directly to your creditors, reporting payments to the three major credit bureaus and offering free financial education.

NerdWallet has reviewed more than 30 lenders to help you choose one that’s right for you. Below is a list of lenders that offer standout debt consolidation loans.

Lender

Best for

NerdWallet star rating

Credit bracket

Discover

Flexible payment options

Excellent

SoFi

Free financial advising

Excellent

Marcus

No fees

Good

LightStream

Low rates

Good

Payoff

Paying off credit card debt

Fair

Upgrade

Direct payment to creditors

Fair

Upstart

Borrowers with no credit history

Bad


Disclaimers

Annual Percentage Rates (APR), loan term and monthly payments are estimated based on analysis of information provided by you, data provided by lenders, and publicly available information. All loan information is presented without warranty, and the estimated APR and other terms are not binding in any way. Lenders provide loans with a range of APRs depending on borrowers' credit and other factors. Keep in mind that only borrowers with excellent credit will qualify for the lowest rate available. Your actual APR will depend on factors like credit score, requested loan amount, loan term, and credit history. All loans are subject to credit review and approval.