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Debt consolidation. Is it right for you?

Debt consolidation loans aren't right for everyone. It's important to check all of the other options available and make sure you're making the right choice. While consolidating debt often sounds like a promising solution, this could make your situation worse.

Download our debt consolidation guide, or browse through the guide using the navigation on the left hand side.

What is debt consolidation?

Consolidating debt usually involves taking out new credit to pay off existing credit. Most people do this to reduce the interest rate on their debt, to bring down their monthly payment amount or to reduce the number of companies they owe money to.

Debt consolidation can be a useful strategy in some situations but for many it can involve extra costs, and potentially makes a difficult situation much worse. That's why it's best to get expert debt advice before taking out a consolidation loan.

Debt consolidation or debt management?

Debt consolidation and debt management are two different things but it's easy to get confused between the terminology used when trying to sort out your debts. Debt consolidation involves taking out new credit to pay off your debts and debt management is where you negotiate affordable payments with the companies you currently owe money to.

Both can lead to lowering payments but are completely different ways of dealing with debt. If you're not sure which option suits your circumstances then we can help.

Try our debt consolidation calculator to see whether you need debt consolidation or debt advice. If you need to get help with your debts then we'd recommend you use our Debt Remedy tool or call our helpline and we'll help you work out a personal action plan to get out of debt.

See through the marketing

Debt consolidation is often made to sound like a great solution but it's important to try and see through the sales patter and look at the facts.

Selling point of debt consolidation Reality
"Consolidate all of your debts into one place" Many people taking out consolidation loans will end up spending on credit again, so many still have lots of accounts to deal with.
"Lower your monthly payments" By lowering your payments you're more than likely going to take longer to repay your debts.
"Reduce your interest rates" Even with lower interest rates, consolidation loans can often end up with higher total interest to pay because they're generally taken out over a longer time period.
"Manageable monthly payments" Consolidation loan payments aren't always affordable. Without a proper budget in place it's hard to know.
"Government Debt Consolidation" Some companies will imply there are Government Debt Consolidation schemes to help with debts. No such schemes exist.

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Secured consolidation loans

Some consolidation loans will require you to secure the debt against your home. We'd strongly recommend that you don't use these types of loans to consolidate unsecured debts. If you fall behind with a secured consolidation loan in the future you will be at risk of house repossession.

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

*This is the average rating of our service on Feefo by DMP and DRO clients three months into their solution.

© StepChange Debt Charity 2016