Interest rates for many loans have soared in recent years, and the rates for credit cards are no different. If you have a lot of debt on credit cards, you could be paying up to 20% or even 30% per year in interest. You don’t have to be a math whiz to understand it can be difficult to pay off your cards with such a high rate.
That’s why many people consider refinancing their credit cards with a personal loan. This article looks credit card financing and popular way to refinance credit card debt, such as with a personal loan.
Credit Card Refinancing Overview
The purpose of credit card refinancing is take out another loan at a lower interest rate so you can pay off the debt faster and pay less interest. Some of the most common ways to refinance credit cards are balance transfers, home equity loans, home equity line of credit, and borrowing from retirement accounts. All of these options have their strengths and weaknesses.
Balance transfers to other credit cards can be a good option but interest rates are not as attractive as they once were. Home equity loans offer a low interest rate compared to credit cards, but this puts your home at risk. Borrowing from retirement accounts can put your future retirement in jeopardy. So, what about a personal loan to refinance credit cards?
Refinancing Credit Cards With A Personal Loan
Personal loans are offered by banks and many lending institutions and are an unsecured loan that could offer a lower rate than many credit cards. The interest rate is higher than with a secured loan, such as a home equity loan, but you still could save monthly interest, depending on your credit score. Generally, you should have a credit score of at least 650 to get a good personal loan interest rate, and scores over 700 will get the best rates on the market.
Some pros of personal loans are:
- You can combine several credit card payments into one payment per month, which may help you avoid late payments and late fees.
- Has an end date when the loan is paid off, unlike a revolving credit card.
- Does not require as high of a credit score as some loans.
- You do not need collateral.
- The rate is usually fixed for the entire loan period, so you know what you have to pay. Most credit cards have variable interest rates and what you end up paying can vary.
- You can make payments from your paycheck automatically.
On the other hand, a personal loan could have a higher rate if you have a lower score, which might negate the advantages of refinancing. Also, exit and prepayment fees can make a personal loan cost more than you thought. Last, if you keep your credit cards open, you could wind up with more debt if you lack financial discipline.
If you think you want to get a personal loan to refinance your credit card, follow these steps:
Review Your Credit Score
The first step to refinancing or consolidating debt is to review your credit score. When you know your score, you will have a better idea of your financial options. You should have at least a 650 credit score for a personal loan, and the higher the better. Those with a score over 700 get the best interest rates.
While you check your credit score, also check your credit report for errors and places you could improve. Credit report errors that negatively affect the score are quite common, so dispute any incorrect information by contacting the credit bureau.
Think About How Much You Need
When you want to refinance credit card debt with a personal loan, consider how much you need before selecting a lender. This can help you decide if the loan will be enough to pay off all the cards and if the payments are affordable.
Check the balances of all credit cards and figure the amount you need to borrow, then find a lender that offers that amount at a fair interest rate. Do not borrow more than you need if you can because you will pay more interest. You can use an online personal loan calculator to estimate what the payment would be with various loans.
Check With Several Lenders
When you know how much you need to borrow, find a loan provider that offers that amount with a good rate. You can try your local bank, credit union, and various online lenders. Make sure that you understand all of the costs of each loan so you can compare apples to apples when shopping for loans.
Submit An Application
If you are getting an online loan, you can submit your application online and may get a decision in a few minutes. However long it takes to get the decision, once you are approved, you should be able to get the money within a few days.
Pay Off Credit Cards
Once you have the personal loan money, you can pay off the credit cards. Make sure that you paid the full amount owed so you do not end up with late payment fees. Then, you can switch over to making monthly payments on your personal loan.
Now that you understand more about refinancing credit card debt with a personal loan, you can start comparing lenders to find the best program for your needs.