If you’re considering consolidating your debts, you’ve probably come across the terms “debt consolidation loan” and “balance transfer credit card”. They are two proven approaches to reducing personal debts, offering a single monthly repayment.
But which is best for your personal circumstances? Read on for information on debt consolidation loans and credit card refinancing, so you can assess the merits of each and choose the best solution for you.
Debt consolidation loans
Otherwise known as personal loan transfers, debt consolidation loans are designed to move your debts into a single loan, with only one monthly repayment to make over a fixed period of time of usually three to five years.
Debt consolidation loans usually offer a lower interest rate than that of standard credit cards, store cards and many personal loans.
Balance transfer credit cards
An alternative to a debt consolidation loan is to transfer your current debt onto a new credit card that has a significantly lower interest rate than your current credit accounts. They are usually called balance transfer credit cards, and work by offering a promotional period of 6 – 24 months, during which time the interest rate is low for the debts transferred.
Usually, a balance transfer credit card is used to consolidate credit card debt only, however there are some that accept personal loan debt also.
How a consolidation loan is better than a balance transfer credit card
- Consolidation loans offer you more time to repay the debt, with periods of up to 7 years available, compared to 6 – 24 months for balance transfer credit cards.
- You cannot make purchases using the loan, unless you have made extra repayments above those required. Conversely, balance transfer credit cards do allow purchases which can lead to further debt.
How a balance transfer credit card is better than a consolidation loan
- The lowest balance transfer rate is usually far better than that of a personal consolidation loan, down to 0% per annum if your credit profile is good.
- As you will be saving money on interest charges, more of your repayments will be contributing to repaying the principal on the debt, and less on the interest. This means that you have a greater chance of clearing your debt.
- You will have continued access to credit, using your card up to the credit limit.
Debt consolidation loan or credit card – what will you choose?
Both of the above debt relief solutions have their merits, and are proven approaches to helping individuals reduce the debt they owe, as part of a broader financial plan.
By comparing the benefits of both debt consolidation loans and credit balance transfer credit cards, and applying their suitability to your own personal circumstances, it will hopefully become clear which debt solution is best for you.