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Debt consolidation is a means of debt refinancing that involves taking out a new loan to pay off other loans and credit card debt.
People traditionally use personal loans, low-interest credit cards, and debt management plans for debt consolidation.
Companies like this will often market themselves in multiple ways to get you in the door and once you’re there they give you the hard sell on what they really want you to buy.
Debt consolidation is a third-party payment system. Agencies range in quality so make sure you shop around. Most debt consolidation plans are structured the same way. They ensure member agencies pass rigorous standards set forth by the Council on Accreditation or another approved third party, and that their counselors pass a comprehensive certification program. Financial institutions don't give preferential treatment to any one organization, nonprofit or otherwise.
However, if you just happen to have accounts with creditors that don't offer any concessions, that benefit is reduced. Look for a nonprofit credit counseling organization that belongs to either the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) or the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA).
The calculators range from assessing how much down payment you need for a house based on different home loan interest rates, to the amount of time it takes to pay off a credit card when paying only the minimum balance each month.
Some nonprofit debt consolidation companies are also approved by the government to provide pre-bankruptcy counseling and post-bankruptcy credit counseling courses.