DEBT RELIEF OPTIONS
Most lending companies and banks will offer personal loans as an option to obtain money for whatever you need without collateral in return—which is why it’s called a “personal” loan.
Since there is no collateral, lending companies use things like personal credit scores, debt to income ratio and previous loan history to approve or deny funds. Interest rates, loan amounts and length of loan depend on what the lending company feels safe letting you borrow. Personal loans can be a useful option for debt consolidation if you qualify.
Also known as payday advances, these are short-term lending solutions to cover unexpected and sometimes emergency financial needs. While they do typically lend regardless of credit scores or other debt, they are known to have very high fees and rates.
These types of loans can have fees so high it’s almost impossible to pay back. The consequences are damaged credit and even more debt. Payday loans are so synonymous with putting people into an unbreakable debt cycle that they aren’t allowed in many states.
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
From budgeting apps to financial accounting software, there is a vast range of options and opinions out there for managing finances and debt. Depending on where the advice comes from, or the platform it’s being used on, there can be monthly payments or one-time purchase fees to use.
Most of these options don’t really help individual needs or specific debt problems, since they are made to let consumers use them in more of a do-it-yourself capacity. They are set up to give you overall information about finances and program, but let you be the one in charge of figuring out a plan and sticking to it.
HOME EQUITY LOANS & LINES OF CREDIT
If you own your home you may be able to borrow using your home’s equity as collateral. These types of loans are often used for large expenses like home improvement, a wedding or college tuition. They can also be used to pay off other debt by consolidating and lowering interest rates—many times the rates are lower than a credit card or personal loan.
Both home equity loans and lines of credit are limited by the equity you have in your home. Most lenders also require excellent credit history and heavily weigh the debt to income ratio of your overall finances, making it more difficult to use in certain debt situations.
Like most lending options, credit cards have their advantages and disadvantages. When used to make manageable purchases or pay bills, credit cards can be useful and work to build credit. They are also helpful for emergency financial needs, and many large credit cards will give low rates or special offers for transferring debt.
The downside to these balance transfers is most of the time they come with fees and only offer the lower rate for a limited time. Consumers can find themselves in more debt down the road. Also higher monthly balances on your credit card can lower your credit score and make it hard to apply for future loans.
DEBT RELIEF PLANS
The solution to debt relief doesn’t always have to be taking out more loans. Unlike consolidation loans, true debt relief can lower your monthly payments, rates and terms to help you pay your debt off faster.
In these cases a finance expert will evaluate your financial situation and debt, then use this information to provide a customized plan. Typically these plans work as debt settlements, and are negotiated by companies on your behalf. Terms and amounts are settled with creditors, many times lowering interest rates and payment amounts. Many times fees for these services are covered in the settlement, so there are no upfront or additional monthly costs to you.
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