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Maybe you've gotten overwhelmed by credit card payments and overdue bills, and now you're wondering if there's any light at the end of the tunnel. Or, perhaps you're a financially-savvy consumer who wants to take advantage of lower interest rates, in order to pay off your mounting credit cards bills. Debt consolidation can be a smart strategy either way.
What, exactly, is debt consolidation? It's important to understand that companies offering it may mean different things. For some, debt consolidation is offered as a personal loan: you borrow funds that you use to pay off all of your outstanding debts. Your interest rate should be much lower than your credit cards, and now you've got a simplified, single payment to make each month. This can be a great way to boost your credit score by reducing the likelihood of making late payments (or none at all) and get on your feet again financially. On the other hand, you're in charge of using your loan money responsibly - and not to buy things you don't need!
Saturday, December 4th
Since 2008, National Debt Relief has helped more than 100,000 families and individuals to pay off over $1 billion in unsecured debts. Their debt consolidation works primarily by negotiating with creditors to settle accounts for less than you originally owed.
No-pressure, free consultation
Your best bet is to sign up for a free initial consultation. To do this, you simply complete an online form or call their dedicated debt help line at 1-888-919-1355. With the online form, you'll use the dropdown box to select how much debt you have, then enter your name, address and phone number. You'll get a call back from one of National Debt Relief's certified debt counselors; they'll work with you to analyze your debt, go over your budget, and talk about all of your available options. If you qualify for a debt consolidation program, you'll find out how much you'd pay and can enroll right away or take some time to think about it. There's no pressure to sign up for a plan here.
Fees based on how much they save you
How much does it cost to use National Debt Relief for your consolidation or other programs? While your fees will vary and are only paid once your debt is settled, they typically wind up being around 15-25% of the total debt you've enrolled. Most of NDR's programs take between 24-48 months to complete, while they negotiate with creditors on your behalf. If you enroll, you'll pay a flat monthly fee (based on that 15-25% of your enrolled debt we mentioned) and those funds are held in reserve until each debt is settled. NDR's portion is then paid out from there.
Do you meet the criteria?
In order to qualify for debt consolidation and relief through NDR, you should have at least $7,500 in unsecured debt. Like most debt consolidation companies, some debts are not eligible for this kind of program. For example, if you're trying to get help with child support, back taxes, mortgages, auto loans, insurance policies, or bail bonds, you may find a better solution with a different type of loan.
See what others have saved
Want to see for yourself the kinds of debt reduction National Debt Relief has been able to get for its clients? Look on the Proven Results page, where you can take a look at various creditors and how much NDR was able to get as a debt settlement. For example, several client accounts with American Express were reduced by 25-66%, with Discover, they were reduced 18-62%, and so on.
This service comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If National Debt Relief is unable to settle any of your accounts, or if you're unsatisfied with their service prior to having any of your debts settled, you can cancel anytime with no penalties or fees.
30,000 5-star reviews
National Debt Relief is a company you can trust for debt consolidation and other strategies for managing your finances. The BBB has given them the highest possible rating as well as accreditation, and we found almost 30,000 5-star reviews from very happy clients. Across the board, NDR representatives are described as helpful and friendly, and they make the entire process feel much less scary than clients had imagined.
Pay much less on what you owe
Why take out a loan to consolidate your debts if you can reduce or eliminate them completely? If you like the idea of paying less in the long run and getting out from under the mountain of debt you're in, National Debt Relief is the first company to turn to. Their advisors have helped tens of thousands of people just like you to get lower monthly payments and finally get out of debt. National Debt Relief (1-888-919-1355) earns our highest rating among all of the available options for debt consolidation.
Credit.org is one of the longest-standing resources for financial education and debt solutions, including consolidation. Founded in 1974 and approved by many organizations and agencies, including the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), this is an excellent resource if you need help taking control of your finances.
Over five million coaching sessions logged
Credit.org has completed more than five million coaching sessions, with a team of more than 50 professionals offering help and advice. You can get started either by calling Credit.org's toll-free number or by filling out your information online. If you go the online route, you'll be taken to a page with several resources you can use before you speak with a counselor. These include a debt journal and other tools to analyze your situation.
Free debt analysis
Your call with a coach will involve a debt analysis, to get a picture of what you owe and your current budget. At the end of that analysis, the financial coach will talk with you about all of the debt resolution options that apply to your situation, which may include consolidation. If there's a strategy that appeals to you, you can enroll with a Credit.org partner and get started on your journey to financial freedom.
Low fees for some services
Know what you'll love about Credit.org? Most of their credit coaching is free! Yes, you read that right: you can get financial education, budgeting and counseling sessions, pre-purchase advice, foreclosure prevention counseling, and default rental counseling at no charge. All other fees depend on the service you use and the state you live in, but even those fees can be reduced or waived due to financial hardship. Still, it's nice to have even a ballpark estimate, so we poked around and found that some clients pay $35 as an enrollment fee and $20 in monthly costs when enrolled in an ongoing debt consolidation plan or other strategy for managing their finances.
Clients really appreciate everything that Credit.org has to offer. Financial topics can be sensitive and difficult to discuss, and people say that their coaches were friendly and knowledgeable with no pressure to choose any particular solution to their debt issues. The Better Business Bureau gives Credit.org an "A+" rating and accreditation, and there were zero complaints registered with the BBB in the year leading up to this review.
Long-standing, trustworthy help for most financial situations
They say you can't get something for nothing, but Credit.org proves that's not true. If you're looking for honest, objective advice about your financial situation - even if that doesn't wind up including debt consolidation - then this is a great option. Their fees are reasonable and their reputation for excellent service spans almost half a century. Credit.org is one of our preferred resources for debt resolution and other options for improving people's finances.
Upstart is a company founded by former Google employees that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to help everyday people unlock mobility and opportunity through affordable credit. They can offer higher approval rates from their bank partners, which translates into a greater chance you'll be accepted for a loan.
More than just your credit history
The application process with Upstart starts out fairly standard: you select the purpose of your loan, the amount you'd like to borrow, your contact information, and your birthdate. From there, the questions get a little more unique compared with other personal loan providers. What's your highest level of education? Where did you go to school, what did you study and when did (or will) you graduate? How much money do you currently have in bank accounts and investments?
Upstart asks these types of questions because they calculate risk differently from most lenders, taking your educational background and earning potential into account when determining your eligibility for a loan. Although educational information is collected as part of Upstart's rate check process, neither Upstart nor its bank partners have a minimum educational attainment requirement in order to be eligible for a loan. As their About Us page says, "four in five Americans have never defaulted on a credit product, yet less than half have access to prime credit. With a smarter credit model, lenders could approve almost twice as many borrowers, with fewer defaults." In other words, Upstart is trying to make consolidation loans - and credit in general - accessible to more people and at a lower risk to the financial institutions that provide it.
There are some eligibility requirements here than you might not find elsewhere. For example, you should have a minimum credit score of 580 - however, if you don't have sufficient credit history to produce a score, you can still qualify for a personal loan through Upstart. You also can't have any bankruptcies or accounts currently in collections, past due or delinquent, or that have been wholly charged-off in the last three years. You'll be found ineligible for a loan if you have more than 6 inquiries on your credit report in the last 6 months - but that doesn't count any that are related to mortgages, vehicle loans, or student loans. Again, this is part of how Upstart measures risk, so that they can make consolidation loans available to more people.
Loans up to $50,000
Depending on your state of residence, you could receive a loan anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000. Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Loans are not available in West Virginia or Iowa. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100.
Loan terms and fees
All loans funded through this service have a repayment term of either 3 or 5 years. While they advertise a range of interest rates, we found them to be very competitive with other lenders in the industry. Upstart's origination fee ranges from 0-8% of the loan amount, and 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 3%, you'll get $9,700 deposited to your bank account.
Get your money fast
If your application is approved and you accept your loan terms, you could have your loan money deposited 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.
Very high customer satisfaction
Upstart seems to be doing quite well with customer satisfaction. The company has an "A" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, but even more impressive is the fact that with over 8,500 client reviews, 99% of them gave Upstart a rating of 4 or 5 stars. Consumers said that their experience was simple, easy, and straightforward, and many people expressed their delight at having loan funds deposited within a day.
There's a lot to like about Upstart. It's refreshing to see a lender that looks at your big picture as a borrower, including your education and employment potential when determining if you're a good candidate for a personal loan. And, there's no arguing with Upstart's loyal fanbase of happy clients. We're very impressed with what we see here, and we're sure you will be too.
CuraDebt got its start in 1996 in Irvine, California and has helped people nationwide with a variety of financial issues: debt consolidation, tax resolution, and many others. Currently headquartered in Hollywood, Florida (not California!), the company offers a free initial consultation with no obligation to sign up for paid services. More than 180,000 people have successfully used CuraDebt to take care of unsecured debts.
Many different types of debt are eligible
What kind of debts do you have? CuraDebt can probably help with most of them. Their list of debts available for consolidation and other strategies includes credit cards, IRS debt and back taxes, personal loans and lines of credit, business debts, medical bills, and collections/repossessions. In special cases, they can also help with lawsuits and student loans. The only kinds of debt that CuraDebt can't help you manage are utility bills, mortgage or home loans, auto loans and government loans.
Helpful info after registering
To see what CuraDebt can do for you, click the button that says "Get a free savings estimate" . Use the slider to indicate your debt amount - it'll need to be at least $5,000 to be eligible, even though the slider goes down as low as $1,000 - and then select your state of residence. Provide your name, email address and phone number, and you'll be taken to a helpful intro video that explains more about debt consolidation. We like that potential clients have a hassle-free way to get some background information before speaking with a credit counselor. (Settle in, though, because it's 30 minutes long!)
Call directly or wait to be contacted
From there, you can either call the toll-free number provided or wait for a CuraDebt senior counselor to reach out to you. You'll get a free consultation to review your financial situation, and CuraDebt recommends that you access your credit score prior to your phone meeting. (You can do that through the link on the CuraDebt site, or access it through your bank account, credit card provider, or any way you prefer.)
Free consultation with an advisor
Your advisor will work with you to design a personalized solution to your debt. The strategies used by CuraDebt may include debt consolidation, debt negotiation, debt settlement, and tax relief, depending on your circumstances.
No fees until debts are settled
What will it cost? CuraDebt charges no fees until a debt has been settled, and those will depend on how much debt is consolidated or discharged. Generally speaking, however, you can expect a savings of approximately 50%, with a net savings of around 30% after CuraDebt's fees are deducted. The process usually takes anywhere from 24-48 months to complete.
Lots of praise from clients
CuraDebt continues to have a positive reputation. Although the BBB hasn't yet accredited the company, they still give it an "A+" rating. Even more impressive is the nearly perfect 4.97 out of 5 stars average across all of the reviews left at the BBB: people said that their counselors were friendly and knowledgeable, and that the debt consolidation process went exactly as expected with the promised results. Consumer reviews elsewhere confirmed that impression, with over 900 5-star reviews and lots of praise for CuraDebt's services.
Check out how much people saved
If you really want to have some fun, go to the Results tab and browse the actual letters from clients to see their settlement amounts. Would you like to only pay $1,267 on a balance of $6,332.61 at Capital One? How about $1,244.49 on a balance of $12,444.96 at Chase Bank? We would! These services are legitimate and can go a long way towards helping you get on solid financial ground again.
Smaller-than-average service area
One downside is that CuraDebt isn't available to all residents of the US. Since our last review, more states were added to the list of areas they don't serve, going from 11 up to 16. Those states include CT, HI, ID, KS, LA, ME, MT, NH, NV, OR, SC, TN, UT, VT, WV and WY. It's unfortunate that there are even fewer people who can take advantage of everything CuraDebt has to offer. There are other debt consolidation companies that work in all 50 states.
Super option - if your state is eligible
CuraDebt has everything you could want in a debt consolidation company. They're transparent with all of the ins and outs of their service and have a proven track record for helping clients with almost every type of debt. But, with even more places that aren't included in their customer service area, we're disappointed that not everyone can take advantage of this fantastic debt consolidation program.
Liberty Lending, founded in 2015, is relatively new to the lending industry - but they're making a positive splash. Based in New York, this company aims to simplify the debt consolidation loan process. They offer an easy-to-complete online application, loans with fixed rates and no prepayment penalties, and the ability to access funding in as little as one business day once a loan is approved by them and accepted by the borrower.
Focus on getting out of debt
Right out of the gate, the process of getting a loan through Liberty Lending is a little different than their competitors. When you start by clicking on the "Get my offer" button, the first question you're asked is how much debt you have, ranging from $3,500 to $40,000. Most lenders ask how much you'd like to borrow first. This is one sign that shows their focus is on helping customers get out of a debt problem they already have.
Soft pull of credit history required
From there, you're asked to provide your name, email address and phone number; the following screen requires your street address, date of birth, and Social Security number. You'll also have to specify your primary source of income and net amount, as well as your monthly housing payments. Finally, you choose a password and authorize Liberty to run your credit report. When you submit your application, Liberty Lending says that your credit score will not be impacted by getting a consolidation loan quote.
We were a little disappointed that Liberty Lending provides no detailed information about their loans until after you complete their quote process. For example - what are their lending limits? What are their typical interest rates and repayment terms? While they do state that all their loans are fixed-rate and don't have prepayment penalties, we wish they shared more information upfront so we would know what to expect.
More digging gets more information
Since we didn't have much information to go on from the Liberty Lending website, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work on other avenues. We were able to confirm that Liberty Lending provides loans up to $40,000, and their payback range terms anywhere from 2 years to 5 years out. On average, their interest rates may be a little higher than some other lenders - but their rates will vary according to your personal circumstance, and you're guaranteed they won't increase.
Solid reputation with customers
We were impressed with the reputation that Liberty Lending has garnered. The company maintains an "A+" grade and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, and we found only three registered complaints within the last 3 years. There were numerous 4- and 5-star reviews on the BBB listing for Liberty Lending: customers said that their representatives were courteous and knowledgeable, that the loan process was smooth, and that they had no trouble getting help whenever they needed it.
Strong choice, with room to improve
Liberty Lending has built a very good reputation in a short period of time. In the lending industry, that's pretty impressive. We wish there was more transparency with regards to their loans and process, but still this is a solid company with a strong customer focus. If you're in search of a loan to help consolidate your debt, Liberty Lending is worth your consideration.
LendingTree is part of a large financial brand family that also includes Ovation Credit Services, Student Loan Hero, and QuoteWizard. Each brand focuses on specific financial services, and LendingTree gives you access to borrowing options for mortgages, auto loans, and, of course, consolidation loans.
Broad database of lenders
One nice thing about LendingTree is their extensive lender database. This site makes it extremely easy to learn about any lenders who make you a loan offer, from company history to hundreds (if not thousands) of client reviews. That's important, because LendingTree has financial partners you've probably never heard of - and reading through their detailed reviews can give you a good picture of who might be financing your loan.
Basic application process
How do you get started with finding a personal loan through LendingTree? That's easy: first choose the purpose of your loan, such as debt consolidation or major purchase, in the dropdown box, move the slider to the amount you're requesting, and indicate how quickly you need the money (anywhere from "within 48 hours" to "unsure, just browsing rates" ). From there, you'll be asked for your address, your credit score range, your birthdate (to verify your identity), pre-tax income, and several other basic questions.
MyLendingTree account benefits optional
Pay attention to the last step of the account-creation process: you'll be asked if you want to include a free My LendingTree account, which comes with complimentary credit monitoring and monthly score reports, dark web monitoring, and more. You'll automatically be enrolled into this service if you don't uncheck the box.
See up to five lender offers
The next screen will provide you with any loans offered by LendingTree partners, assuming your information was able to be verified. Click on the loan offer that best meets your needs, complete any lender requirements, and you're on your way to getting your funds. If you aren't matched with any personal loans, you can expect to get recommendations for budgeting tools and debt consolidation services.
Thousands of 5-star reviews from borrowers
LendingTree has a strong positive reputation over more than two decades in operation, including accreditation and an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau. Out of nearly 10,000 independently-verified reviews, the company received over 7,600 perfect five-star ratings from customers.
It's not all princes and fairy tales
Be aware that this platform has its share of complaints, too. Many customers have reported a spam-like volume of calls, emails, and texts throughout the day. Some report still getting calls for weeks or months after applying for a loan through LendingTree. We think they can do a better job setting limits with their funding partners with regards to customer contact.
Strong choice for getting multiple loan offers
If you're looking for a easy way to compare loan offers from multiple financial institutions, LendingTree is a strong choice. The service is simple to use and with their lending network they have a good chance to offer you a loan that fits your needs.
SoFi wants you to get your money right, reaching financial independence so you can make your ambitions a reality. And, with over two million members and $50 billion in funded loans, this service is absolutely helping people like you accomplish that. While you can definitely use SoFi just for a consolidation loan and nothing else, you may want to take advantage of their additional products and tools that can give you guidance for attacking your debt with a plan, building and maintaining a safety net, putting your money to work, and even saving for retirement or other goals.
A few unique questions in application process
To apply for a consolidation loan from SoFi, enter your name, state of residence and email address to create an account on their site. Next, you put in the desired loan amount (from $5,000 to $100,000) and click on the category that matches your intended use of the funds. We like the next question: "What monthly payment amount works with your budget?" You can enter any number between $150 and $500, or skip it altogether. The remaining questions help SoFi to verify your identity; otherwise, you'll be asked for your Social Security Number if they can't match your credit history to the details you provided.
Big perks you won't find elsewhere
SoFi has some huge perks compared with many financial institutions offering consolidation loans. Their interest rates are generally lower than what you'll find elsewhere, with an added deduction if you set your repayments to automatically come out of your bank account each month. Better yet, the APRs on SoFi personal loans have zero origination fees - good luck finding that with other lenders!
Look for sign-up bonus promotions
There was even a promotion in place at the time of our most recent visit to SoFi: a $10 credit for simply checking our offered rate on a loan, and a $300 cash bonus if our loan was funded. Hey, if credit cards can offer sign-up bonuses, why not providers of loans too?
Unemployment protection benefit
Our favorite SoFi benefit, though, is their Unemployment Protection program. If you lose your job through no fault of your own and your loan is in good standing at that time, you can apply to have your loan repayments suspended for three months at a time, for a total of 12 months over the life of the loan. SoFi's Career Advisory Group will even help you look for a new job.
Disappointing downturn in overall customer satisfaction
However, we were disappointed to find out that in the time that has passed since our last evaluation, several of SoFi's rivals have done a better job of keeping clients happy. In fact, even though the BBB gives them an "A+" rating, Sofi's listing there says "this business receives a high volume of complaints" . That's not good. Looking at nearly 2,500 independently-verified reviews elsewhere, SoFi comes in with a disappointing 3.2 out of 5-star average, and less than 80% of their reviewers would give the service a perfect score. Ouch!
Customer service needs improvement
The biggest complaints we found described frustrating challenges getting ahold of anyone in SoFi's customer service department - and the resulting long timeframes for resolving issues. If you need funds quickly, or if you have any problems with your personal loan, you want to know you'll get a prompt, professional response. Unfortunately, SoFi has some work to do in that regard.
Still worth considering
SoFi has a lot to offer: you'll find low interest rates on your loan, and no other lender we found works with you so supportively if you lose your job. But, there's more to the story, and customer complaints tell a tale that leaves us feeling more than a little disappointed. We really hope to see an upswing in customer satisfaction in the near future, because SoFi has previously been a great option for loans.
SuperMoney provides a comparison platform across a wide variety of financial services, from consolidation loans to banking. In business since 2013, this company has helped people make smart decisions with their money by providing objective and transparent information. SuperMoney has been featured by Huffpost, Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, Business Insider, and many other publications.
Your information is kept private
One aspect of SuperMoney that we absolutely love is their promise not to sell applicants' data off to the highest bidder. If you've applied for a loan through a referral platform before, you're already familiar with the endless number of solicitations that followed: phone, text, email, even regular mail. The way SuperMoney avoids all of that is by integrating their site directly with their lending partners, letting you compare your options with full transparency and zero pressure.
Just over a dozen network lenders
Another big plus is that there's no guessing who SuperMoney includes in their financial network: most of the lenders are listed right on their main page. The full list of lending partners is available on SuperMoney's Personal Loans-specific page, and you can read client reviews without even applying. They don't have as much borrower feedback as some of their rival referral services, but it's still a good resource.
Simple, standard application questions
Your process begins when you click on "Get Competing Offers" and choose the category that best fits the intended purpose of your loan, from everyday expenses to major life events and debt consolidation. Move the slider to indicate the amount you owe or would like to borrow (depending on the loan category you selected), then use the next slider to enter your credit score. The next questions ask you about your employment status, whether you own or rent, name/address/birthdate, and finally your Social Security Number (all to verify your identity and do a soft pull of your credit history). Before you're taken to your offers page, you'll need to create an account with SuperMoney.
Will still have to complete application with chosen lender
Once you've reached your loan offers, you're given the option to finalize the application process on the lender's website. That could mean you have to take a few extra steps to complete your loan application, as opposed to going directly to one of those partners' sites, but the additional legwork might be worth it if it lets you compare your options first.
Limited - but positive overall - client feedback
We're not sure why SuperMoney couldn't be found in the listings at the Better Business Bureau, given how long the company has been around. We were able to find just over 200 reviews elsewhere, and an impressive 96% of those gave the service a perfect five-star rating. Granted, not all of those reviews were specific to consolidation loans, but it's a great sign that SuperMoney delivers what it promises.
Good for doing research, better options out there
Should you use SuperMoney to do research before choosing a personal loan? Sure, why not! You'll get valuable information that might help you pick a loan and a lender that's right for you. But, compared with many sources of loans, SuperMoney doesn't have a reputation that's as well-established. Plus, many of their lending partners are also referral platforms, which could have you jumping through all of the same hoops a second time. SuperMoney is good - but not quite great. We anticipate seeing continued progress from them in the loans marketplace in the future.
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 personal 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 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 loan? That largely depends on your details: how much you're trying to borrow, your credit history, your income, and so forth. All 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, but vary widely. 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 personal 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 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.
Wait and see
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. But, until the company has an actual rating from the BBB, we hesitate to give LendingClub a rating higher than 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 consolidation loan here, but we encourage you to consider other options first.
Payoff is part of the Happy Money brand, and the service works with eight lending partners who originate loans. You would use the loan to pay off all of your debts as a DIY consolidation strategy; Payoff doesn't offer credit counseling or any other services as part of their program. While you can use your loan in any way you choose, Payoff says that their loans are "specifically designed to help you eliminate high-interest credit card debt" , and that doing so may increase your credit score by 40 points or more.
Minimum credit score and other requirements
To qualify for a debt consolidation loan through Payoff, you'll need to meet some basic criteria. Those include a FICO score of 640+ and no current delinquencies. Your debt-to-income ratio, age of credit history, and your credit utilization will also be taken into account, but Payoff doesn't give any specifics on what they're looking for. You will also need to provide your SSN and have a valid checking account.
Not a "get money fast" service
The initial online application is fast. You can check your rate without impacting your credit score and see what loan offers might be made to you. Because you're being handed off to one of Payoff's lenders, the rest of the process is on their time. Expect a lengthy process of income verification, submission of documents, and other paperwork before your loan is funded. (In other words, this is not a "need cash now" option.)
Loan amounts and rates are just average
You can borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000 from Payoff's partner lenders, depending on your creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan. If you wind up being approved for a loan through Payoff, you can expect interest rates competitive with other lenders. Keep in mind, you'll probably be paying less than the rate on your credit cards.
BBB gives them an A+
Payoff gets extremely mixed reviews. On the positive side, the company earned the highest rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. We found clients who said that their experience with Payoff was smooth, the interest rate was better than they were quoted by other lenders, and they were able to borrow more than they expected.
Too many negative client reviews
However, we found more than a few reviews that slammed Payoff for giving preapprovals with one interest rate and then offering a loan with a much higher APR. Frequent complaints described delayed paperwork, missed recording of payments, and overall poor communication. The most common comment was that applicants jumped through endless hoops to apply, only to be denied at the very end for a debt-to-income ratio that could have been easily verified early on in the process.
Better debt consolidation loans available elsewhere
Payoff falls well below other services that offer debt consolidation in the form of a personal loan. With so many complaints about delayed paperwork and seemingly bait-and-switch loan offers, we suggest you look at one of Payoff's rivals before committing to using them for your debt consolidation needs.
American Debt Enders focuses on resolving debt primarily through legally disputing what you owe. The company has been around for many years and can help anyone with unsecured debt of at least $5,500.
Not the most professional website
American Debt Enders comes across a little bit...casual. For example, on the pop-up we got when visiting the site, there was a signup for something described as "your dose of Get out of Debt tips, tricks, or just things I'm enjoying" . Not sure why we would want someone's favorite viral videos or clickbait-y articles when we're looking for debt consolidation, but okay. Even on the main Free Credit Consultation sign-up, there was a typo of "coulseling" on the button to submit our information. We found more typos elsewhere on the site. And, when we tried using their online chat to ask some questions, it went unanswered even though it was during the posted business hours.
Debt dispute, not consolidation
We were interested in the way ADE describes their approach to resolving debt. One of their strategies is disputing the validity of the debt. According to the website, if your debt has been sold to a third party and the original creditor has already been repaid in full by their insurance, the new creditor is essentially trying to collect a debt that doesn't exist anymore. They refer to this as their "Debt Dispute Program" , and they promote it much more than a debt settlement or debt consolidation approach.
No disclosure of fees until you call
How would American Debt Enders resolve your debt? The best way to find out is to call for a free consultation. Your representative will go over your financial situation and let you know which resources and strategies would best fit your needs. Any fees you pay will depend on the debt management plan put in place: ADE doesn't disclose those costs upfront or even give you a general idea of what they might be.
Limited feedback available
American Debt Enders isn't a huge name in the debt consolidation industry. We didn't find a listing for them with the Better Business Bureau, and there were only a handful of client reviews in other places. Within those customer comments, we found mention of the company having faith-based roots so keep that in mind if you really love (or dislike!) the idea of working with a Christian company.
Choose a different service for more transparency
Could you get an effective debt consolidation plan through American Debt Enders. Maybe, but it's more likely that they'll take a debt dispute approach, which may not be what you want or need. Is it the most professional, experienced option at your disposal? Not even close. We'd suggest circling back to ADE only if you don't have any luck with the higher-ranking services in our review.
At first glance, you might look at the Debt Consolidation Care website and wonder if they're still in operation. The site looks outdated and has a copyright date from several years ago. But yes, you can still use this service to get help with your finances.
Not the smoothest website
It's still a little clunky, though. You start by filling out their contact form: just name, email, phone number, and the total debt amount you want to consolidate. From there a Debt Consolidation Care financial coach will get in contact with you via phone, to go over your current financial situation and decide on a debt repayment plan. You'll be assigned a dedicated Client Relationship Manager who will negotiate with creditors on your behalf, reduce your total debt/interest, and decide how much you'll pay each month towards your debts.
Used by a half-million members... or not?
How does it really work, though? It's a little slippery trying to figure that out. On the one hand, the site proudly says that it offers free debt counseling and assistance through "internet's first get-out-of-debt community" (the weird grammar is theirs, not ours) and that they've helped over 470,000 community members to get out of debt. And yet, out of nearly half a million members, there are only 12 testimonials on the site?
Free... or fee-based?
It gets even stranger. Looking at the background of Debt Consolidation Care, we learned about how its founder went to law school "in order to make himself aware of the US Federal and State laws" . That's nice, but it doesn't make him an expert on debt consolidation. Their expertise seems to come through a partnership with an actual firm, Oak View Law Group. They're referenced as Debt Consolidation Care's affiliate when you call the toll-free number and they're mentioned by at least one of DCC's clients in the testimonials. That service clearly states that clients will pay fees when OVLG successfully reduces/consolidates their debts: so while DCC is free to use, it looks like they eventually pass you off to a service that is not.
Still manages an "A+" from the BBB
The Better Business Bureau gives Debt Consolidation Care their highest accolades: an "A+" rating and accreditation. Given what we learned about DCC, it came as little surprise that the company is listed as an "internet marketing service" rather than having anything to do with financial services or debt consolidation. There were zero complaints registered with the BBB - and no customer reviews either.
No reason to choose this company first
At the end of the day, you can use the community-based resources offered by this site without paying a fee, and we encourage you to check out Debt Consolidation Care's social media channels if you'd like to get a feel for the kinds of articles and advice they provide before signing up. But, there are much more straightforward debt consolidation companies out there, and we're pretty sure you'll have a smoother time with a higher-ranked service.
Other providers of debt consolidation take a more hands-on approach, giving you credit counseling and even going to bat for you with your creditors. The services they provide may include negotiating a lower debt amount or getting your debt forgiven altogether! You might pay a monthly fee for this kind of debt consolidation, or it might be a flat fee based on how much money they saved you overall.
Either route you choose, there are a lot of options out there. How can you decide which one is right for you? Keep these points in mind as you weigh out the possibilities:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best debt consolidation options available today. We're confident that this information will help you choose a strategy to pay down your debts and get your finances in order!
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