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Debt consolidation can make a lot of sense for people with a high level of debt or paying a lot of bills. In these tough economic times many Americans are faced with significant credit card debt and are looking for help reducing their monthly payments. Debt consolidation is a method often used in this situation and helps consumers simplify their budget.
After consolidating their debt, many people report a reduced sense of stress. This is especially true when debt consolidation allows the consumer to better meet their obligations and get back on their feet financially. It's important to remember that after debt consolidation, consumers should closely monitor their finances and avoid taking on any new debt.
Saturday, July 24th
National Debt Relief offers debt consolidation along with other customized financial solutions for customers with $7,500 or more in unsecured debt. They are successful as a result of their proactive efforts to identify the best options for each individual customer's financial needs. They have helped over 100,000 customers get back on their feet since opening their doors in 2009.
Debt consolidation shoppers can expect a professional experience when doing business with National Debt Relief. This starts with an informative and customer-friendly website that helps you understand the financial solutions available at National Debt Relief before speaking with a consultant.
The process is easy to get started with National Debt Relief. You simply complete an online form or call their dedicated debt help line at 1-888-919-1355 for assistance. You'll discuss your financial situation with one of their certified debt counselors, who will walk you through a free debt analysis to determine if debt consolidation or another route with help you best reach your financial goals faster. The staff at National Debt Relief are both knowledgeable and friendly, and we appreciate the level of professionalism and care they provide.
If the consultants recommend that debt settlement or debt negotiation are better routes than debt consolidation, you'll know you have other options to consider. The amount of savings available varies by the solution identified, as well as a number of factors that the debt consultant explains before you two make a final decision.
National Debt Relief has earned an impressive "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau. This clearly indicates their dedication to the customer. They also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, which means if you're not happy with their service, you can cancel at any time without penalties or fees.
If you're looking to consolidate your creditor payments, you'll find that National Debt Relief is a reliable option. They employ friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you reduce your monthly payments and simplify your life. National Debt Relief (1-888-919-1355) earns our highest rating and is a great place to start.
Credit.org has a stellar reputation spanning more than 45 years in operation. Also known as Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management, this service offers non-profit financial coaching for a wide range of credit and debt concerns, including housing (foreclosure, reverse mortgage, pre-purchase), bankruptcy, student loans, and debt relief. The BBB rates credit.org as an "A+" accredited business across all of the services provided. Additionally, credit.org is accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).
One of the most compelling reasons for considering credit.org is that many of their services are free of charge. For example, here's what you get when you choose to use their Debt and Credit Coaching:
Yes, you understood that correctly: you'll pay absolutely nothing to use credit.org's phone coaching for these services. Because this service is funded by donations and government grants, you are able to access a wealth of support at no cost to you.
Now, that's not to say that everything is free when you use credit.org for debt relief coaching. For example, if you're looking for a more traditional debt management plan - to help you pay off your debt faster, reduce your interest rates, create a realistic budget, consolidate payments, and/or stop collection calls - you may pay a small enrollment fee along with monthly service costs.
What are those fees? They vary according to a number of factors. After our investigation, we can tell you to anticipate an enrollment cost of around $35 and monthly fees up to $20. Your exact costs will depend on the state where you live, your personal situation, and whether you qualify for a reduction or waiver of your fees due to hardship. Unfortunately, we couldn't find specifics from credit.org about their eligibility requirements for those reductions/waivers.
We really appreciate that credit.org has so much to offer at no charge. And, for many consumers, some knowledgeable, friendly coaching may be all they need for debt relief - to identify the best steps to take next and the ideal resources to get them there. Plus, credit.org's fantastic reputation over nearly 5 decades is a huge advantage in an industry where it seems like some new financial or debt service is always popping up. For their wide range of services, including free coaching for consumers, credit.org earns very high marks and is worth your consideration.
CuraDebt has been in the financial solution business since 1996. They work with customers that have $10,000 or more of unsecured debt. Outside of debt consolidation, they also offer creditor negotiations, debt management, settlement, credit counseling and arbitration services to both individuals and small businesses.
CuraDebt treats each potential customer as an individual. At no cost to the consumer, they will confidentially review your current financial situation, as well as your short-term and long-term goals to make a recommendation. CuraDebt has access to the top A+ rated professionals and companies in the industry and will connect you with the right staff that can best help you reach your goals. The staff at CuraDebt are well trained professionals that are knowledgeable about available debt solutions, and can review the best options with you.
The process of getting started with CuraDebt includes a quick online form that requires your phone number and email address. During your initial call with CuraDebt, you'll be assigned a friendly,experienced financial counselor to walk you through your financial options. This person will not only closely review your personal financial situation, but they will also work with you to create a comprehensive solution to meet your needs and stay in contact with you while you progress through your debt resolution plan. This is a strong selling point at CuraDebt because no one wants to retell their story to staff members each time they have a question or concern.
CuraDebt professionally guides you through the effort to improve your financial situation and reach your goals. We liked that they not only offer debt consolidation but a whole host of debt relief solutions based on your individual needs. If you have $10,000 or more of unsecured debt, CuraDebt is worth your consideration.
Note: CuraDebt services are not available to residents in the following states: CT, GA, KS, ND, SC, VT, WA, WV, PA, PR, OR.
Upstart is a peer-to-peer lending platform founded by former Googlers. At first glance, the site is neat and includes finance-related images such as pie charts and percentage signs to emphasize their purpose, which is to help people achieve their financial goals. The fonts are large, allowing easy reading, very helpful since financial information can be overwhelming. The site allows one to process information while pacing the reader through use of space and letter size.
Professional in look, the site however does not hope to impress in graphics or photos of people enjoying newfound financial freedom. Instead, the site uses facts and figures to communicate a serious, all-business tone. The only downside to this setup is that if a customer is not familiar with loans or borrowing lingo, they might be lost until they scroll to the bottom of the Home page to click on "Contact Us".
For customers who aren't sure where to begin, Upstart has a "Get Started" icon which asks them what they want to do. Upstart offers help with loan consolidation, paying off credit cards, paying medical bills, buying a car or other big purchases. Such a wide range of services is comforting to those seeking financial advice. The site also provides education to help you prepare for future financial decisions.
With respect to personal loans, Upstart is efficient. You can apply online and find out your rate within a few minutes. You're asked simple questions about your income and education history. Upstart then presents you with loan terms and options for payment. Once a customer agrees to the terms of the loan, funds are issued - sometimes, by the next business day. If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.
Upstart's reputation is very solid - you'll quickly see links to articles on prominent sites like Fox, Bloomberg, and other news agencies, along with testimonials from satisfied clients. Their underwriting model uses machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to underwrite borrowers based on many variables, including but not limited to credit score, income, education, and employment. Such details helped us gain more confidence in the success of this company's services.
We found the blog articles very helpful. With topics ranging from selecting health insurance to saving money on groceries, a person seeking financial security could benefit from the wisdom these articles offer. Unfortunately, this tool is found at the bottom of the Home page. The website would function more effectively if they included this option at the top of the page along with "Contact" and "Team" information because it is on these pages where we found answers to our initial questions.
While Upstart's website is good, it could use some enhancements to make it more user friendly. Still, Upstart earns high marks for their quick processing of loan applications and many helpful financial features.
SoFi, short for "Social Finance", bills itself as a modern personal finance company, and its clean, crisp, easy-to-use website definitely matches that description. And they're clearly making an impact in the lending industry. SoFi currently has a variety of products, including personal loans, mortgage loans and refinancing, student loan refinancing, and more.
SoFi's application process is straightforward: enter your personal information, such as your name and address, current employer and annual wages/salary, and post-secondary education information, and if SoFi is able to confirm your information you'll be able to see the loan and terms for which you qualify. If they are not able to confirm your data, you will be asked to enter your Social Security Number.
There is an easy-to-miss link at the bottom of the site called "Eligibility Criteria". We encourage potential borrowers to look through the information there, as several states are excluded from their personal loan program, and there are other state-specific details to be aware of. Also, it states that personal loan recipients must be US citizens or permanent resident aliens, be of the age of majority in their state of residence, and must be currently employed.
We love that SoFi publishes its personal loan rates and that there are no prepayment penalties or origination fees: "what you see is what you get". Their loan rates are consistently very competitive with other loan companies.
Loan terms from 2 to 7 years were available for both fixed and variable interest rate loans, in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $100,000.
SoFi also has several unique perks that we like, from referral bonuses for new members referred by current borrowers (both parties get a cash benefit), to unemployment protection that suspends payments required from borrowers - for up to 12 months over the course of the repayment term - who lose their job through no fault of their own. SoFi even provides help through its Career Strategy department to assist borrowers in their search for a new job!
If you're in the market for a personal loan, you'll definitely want to take a look at what SoFi has to offer. We give them a strong recommendation because of their low interest rates, transparency, and lack of loan fees.
LendingTree is one of the most recognized names in the personal loan market. They quickly connect borrowers with a wide variety of lenders that can meet their debt consolidation needs with loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000.
As a connection service rather than a direct debt consolidation lender, the loan products LendingTree has to offer and their terms and conditions naturally vary with each individual lender. One advantage of using LendingTree is the ability to survey multiple lenders' consolidation offers without having to disclose one's identifying information to those lenders. You only have to make yourself know when you've made the decision to apply for the loan that best fits your debt consolidation needs. Borrowers can also use offers obtained on LendingTree to negotiate directly with lenders; LendingTree provides customers with lenders' direct contact information for that very purpose.
If you choose to research debt loans using LendingTree, be aware that you will need to provide your credit score, which is used by lenders to determine if they would like to compete for your business. Even if you have a low credit score, you may still receive loan offers, because LendingTree works with such a large variety of lenders.
One thing to note is that LendingTree's main website takes you to the page for entering your information to get started in the consolidation quote process. There is very little other information on that page. We were able to determine that entering your personal information will not impact your credit report or your credit score, although we would have liked to see that fact clearly spelled out on LendingTree's landing page.
With a solid A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, reliable history, and its ability to connect debt consolidation borrowers with a wide range of potential lenders, we give LendingTree good marks.
Upgrade got its start in 2017, designed to offer exceptional value through combining rewards checking, affordable loans, credit cards and financial education. In its first four years, Upgrade saw more than 15 million people apply for a credit card or loan. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, with additional offices in Phoenix and Montreal.
No surprises in the application process
The quote process for getting a consolidation loan with Upgrade is simple. You start by entering your desired loan amount, from $1,000 to $50,000, as well as the loan purpose (consolidate debt, make a large purchase, and so on). From there, you'll need to indicate if your application is individual or joint and provide the corresponding name, address and birthdate of anyone who will be included on the loan documents.
Read the details if you're self-employed
On the next page, you're asked to specify how much money you make in a year, and any additional annual income. If you're self-employed, be sure to click on the FAQ in the text that pops up: your documentation requirements will be a little different from those who get W2 income.
Verify identity to get loan offers
Finally, to get your personalized rate quotes, you'll need to create an Upgrade account with your email address and desired password, and then enter your full Social Security Number to verify your identity. If Upgrade can't locate your credit profile through TransUnion or another bureau, you'll get a message saying that they can't offer you a consolidation loan at this time, and a PDF with the notification of your loan request denial.
Origination fees taken out of loan proceeds
So, let's say you bite the bullet and provide all of the necessary info to get a consolidation loan quote through Upgrade. What can you expect? Generally speaking, all loans through this provider have fixed-rate APRs ranging from 5.94-35.97%, with repayment terms anywhere from 24-84 months. Those APRs include a one-time origination fee of 2.9-8%, which is deducted from the proceeds of your loan. In other words, if you request a $10,000 personal loan and you're charged an origination fee of 4%, you'll get $9600 deposited to your bank account.
Two lenders = one-day turnaround for funds deposit
Once your debt consolidation loan is approved, you could see the funds in your bank account within one business day, though it may take your financial institution a few more days to finalize the transaction. How does Upgrade get it done so quickly? Unlike many of the consolidation loan platforms in our review that operate as a referral service with lots of lenders in the network, Upgrade uses just two financial partners for all their funding: Cross River Bank and Blue Ridge Bank. Having a two-lender-only system means that you won't have to jump through any extra hoops of (re)applying after being matched with a financial institution (which is one of the downsides of using a referral platform for your consolidation loan).
A+ from the Better Business Bureau
At the time of this evaluation, Cross River bank had a "C" rating from the Better Business Bureau, while Blue Ridge had a more favorable "A" rating. Upgrade itself enjoys both accreditation and an "A+" from the BBB, making us confident that they're overseeing the consolidation loans made by their two lending partners, regardless of each bank's standing.
Clients love this service
And, Upgrade customers seem to agree: looking over more than 13,000 independently-verified reviews, 94% of them give this lender a 4- or 5-star rating. While a handful of clients reported longer-than-average wait times (both for loan processing and for getting in touch with the customer service team to request help), the vast majority describe the consolidation loan process at Upgrade as quick, easy, and trustworthy.
New service with a fantastic reputation already
Upgrade is an all-around solid option for getting a debt consolidation loan. Although they're a little bit newer than some of their competitors (who've been in the industry for a decade or two), that's no reason to worry that your loan isn't in good hands if you choose Upgrade. Thousands of clients have already used this lender to get the money they need, and we're confident that you can too.
LendingClub has experienced some big changes over the last few years. Originally created as a peer-to-peer platform, where individual and business investors could choose to fund consumer loans (hence the name LendingClub), this source of debt consolidation loans now operates like a traditional financial institution. All funding is provided by LendingClub's own bank by the same name, making the loan application extremely streamlined when compared with platforms that refer you to multiple lenders at once.
No surprises in the application process
To get a debt consolidation loan through LendingClub, start by entering your desired loan amount (between $1,000 and $40,000) and selecting the loan's purpose in the dropdown box, then click on "Check Your Rate" . Indicate whether you're applying alone or with a co-applicant, your date of birth, and your total annual income. Finally, enter your first and last name, plus your address, and LendingClub will try to verify your credit report. If it can't do so based on the information provided, you'll be asked for your Social Security Number.
Expect origination fees and just-average interest rates
What can you anticipate if you are matched with a consolidation loan? That largely depends on your details: how much you're trying to borrow, your credit history, your income, and so forth. All debt consolidation loans funded through LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of at least three years, giving you ample time to repay it. Interest rates here are fairly average, with APRs ranging from 8.05% to 35.89%. You should also expect origination fees ranging from 3% to 6%, which may or may not be rolled into the total cost of the loan or deducted from the payout deposited to your bank account. LendingClub's fine print at the bottom of the loans page said that their average loan has an origination fee of 5% and an APR of 15.95%.
Still being re-evaluated by the BBB
How about LendingClub's reputation? It's not really an apples-to-apples comparison, given how drastically their business model has changed since our last evaluation. However, a few items stand out and are worth keeping in mind. The company used to have an "A" rating from the Better Business Bureau, but their listing during our most recent check with the BBB was simply "Not Rated" . That indicates that LendingClub's new structure is still under consideration. More reassuringly, their sole lender WebBank received both accreditation and an "A+" from the BBB: you shouldn't encounter any issues with fraud or other problems if you pursue a debt consolidation loan through the LendingClub website.
Plenty of recent, positive customer comments
We also followed the link on the LendingClub site to see some of the more than 57,000 independently-verified reviews posted there, so that we could see what their most recent comments indicated about the new-and-theoretically-improved service. Most of the clients gave LendingClub a rating of 4 or 5 stars, and we were happy to see that a decent number of those came from repeat customers.
Should be fine
LendingClub appears to be on the right track, having made quite a few changes to their service that have gotten lots of positive feedback from borrowers. Until the company has an actual rating from the BBB, we hesitate to give LendingClub a rating higher than "slightly above average" . Reputation matters, and while LendingClub seems to have fixed some of the issues that they had in the past, we'd like to see confirmation from the Better Business Bureau too. You should be fine if you choose a debt consolidation loan here, but we encourage you to consider several other options too.
CareOne Debt Relief Services is unique among the debt consolidation programs we reviewed. You may not realize it at first glance, but they actually represent a collection of debt consolidation providers. CareOne works to match you with the best debt consolidation option that fits your specific financial needs. Because the work with total debt as low as $2,500, they can reach a wider range of consumers than some other programs in our review.
Debt consolidation companies have to meet rigorous professional standards in order to become a CareOne Debt Relief Services provider. These include access to customer account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; the ability to provide monthly statements to customers, and achieving the highest customer service expectations.
Completing the online application with CareOne is a quick and easy process. You enter some contact information about yourself (name, address, phone number), and then some information about your current debt load. Filling out the online form doesn't commit you to anything, it just gives the CareOne debt consolidation providers the information that they need in order to find the right debt program for your needs.
After you receive your free debt analysis and have a chance to review it, you may elect to enroll in a CareOne debt consolidation plan online or call to speak with an associate. When you enroll online, you'll get access to your free debt analysis, an online community the features debt experts, and free education resources.
The CareOne website is TrustE certified, which helps ensure safe online business practices and privacy considerations. The company is very professional, and the website is easy to navigate. If you have a total debt load from $2,500 and up, CareOne debt consolidation providers are an excellent choice.
Avant is one of the newest providers in the debt consolidation loans marketplace. They opened their doors in 2012 and received their first accreditation with the Better Business Bureau in March 2015. They currently have an A+ rating with the BBB.
Avant provides access to one of the larger ranges of debt consolidation loans available, anywhere from $2,000 to $35,000. Loans through the Avant platform include terms from 2 to 5 years. As an example, 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.
Although Avant is relatively new to the online lending business, the Avant platform has issued more than $1 Billion in loans with over 450,000 customers. Their Chicago offices hold nearly 500 employees that are dedicated to providing affordable loans to consumers in need, and they bring a professionalism and dedication that is welcome to this industry.
There are no extra charges for prepayment of your consolidation loan, although late fees may apply if a payment is missed. Customer service is available 7 days a week.
Another area where Avant earns high marks is in how quickly they provide access to funds. The Avant platform can often provide funding for your loan as soon as the next business day* through direct deposit.
Avant's debt consolidation loan application and approval process is very simple:
We're encouraged to see this lending platform enter the debt consolidation marketplace and earn such a high BBB rating in such a short period of time. With their quick loan application process and lack of exorbitant fees, Avant easily earns very good marks.
A free, no obligation review of your credit situation is available at American Debt Enders. This company has been in the financial solution business since 2007. Some of their services include debt consolidation, debt settlement and credit repair. We liked that the American Debt Enders website offers easy-to-read information that helps educate the consumer on the pros and cons of each financial program they offer.
If after your free debt review it's identified that debt consolidation is the best route for you, American Debt Enders requires at least $5,000 in unsecured debt to take you on as a client. Their Debt consolidation services can also entail lower interest rate negotiation and payments for each unsecured loan to have your credit cards paid off in approximately 5 years.
American Debt Enders is a no-nonsense, New York based company that is helpful to the client with their information abundant website and friendly counselors. They do a good job of both educating the consumer and identifying viable solutions to assist those that have accumulated too much debt. If you're looking to simplify your creditor payments American Debt Enders offers programs that are worth considering.
OneMain Financial is a big name in the consumer loan market and has been business since 1920 under various names. They offer personal loans and mortgages to consumers and have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
OneMain earns high marks for history and their current BBB rating but miss the mark with website friendliness. Their current interest rates and respective fees are hidden within their website making it hard to identify if OneMain is worth your consideration. Customers must speak to a customer service representatives at OneMain to identify the basic information that most companies are more than willing to provide on their website.
Customer feedback of their experiences at OneMain frequently reported very high interest rates, and hidden fees and mandatory loan insurance. Some customers identified a 25%-38% typical loan rate before expensive fees.
For those looking for a debt consolidation loan, OneMain will lend money to those with lower credit ratings and no collateral, but the cost seems to be a very high interest rate and spotty customer service. This company appears strong and solvent so it is a legitimate lending source, but we had concerns with the cost associated with borrowing money from OneMain and if that would help or hinders customers efforts to improve their financial situation.
Debt Consolidation Care is a Nevada based debt consolidation and settlement company offering services since 2004. Their website is abundant with information but lacks a professional appearance and will be a turn off for many visitors. They have a lot of debt relief information to share but unfortunately do so in a disorganized, unprofessional, and outdated manner.
Along with an unprofessional website, we had concerns with the background of the owner. The website identifies the owner as someone enrolled in law school to better understand laws pertaining to debt relief. This was a bit unsettling as we would prefer to work with those that are experts and have completed the necessary education to avoid potential lawsuits. Further, Debt Consolidation Care also offers forums and poor quality videos to help consumers become more informed about their debt relief options. We found the videos to be unprofessional.
To get started with Debt Consolidation Care, customers must provide a name, phone number, email, and unsecured debt amount. Once submitted the company will call back to discuss the actual program available at Debt Consolidation. At the time of our review we attempted to get assistance via the Live Chat but no operators were available to assist. We also noted that the BBB provides an A rating for this company but doesn't list it as a debt settlement provider. We thought this was a bit strange. The lack of a transparent pricing structure, minimum debt requirement, and the states where Debt Consolidation Care services, proved to be disappointing.
If you're in the market for assistance with debt consolidation, we recommend you consider a higher ranked company that puts more effort into customer service and professionalism.
Finding the right debt consolidation program can be confusing for many individuals. Thankfully a number of reputable financial companies allow consumers to search and apply for debt consolidation online, from the convenience of their home. This increases the chances of finding the right debt consolidation program that meets their needs.
Before applying for a debt consolidation program, you should consider these important points:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Debt Consolidation programs available today. We hope you find these reviews helpful in finding a debt consolidation program that meets your financial needs!
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