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Debt consolidation loans replace all your individual debts with a single debt that covers them all. This means you pay one payment each month rather than several at once.
If you have debts with more than one creditor and are having difficulties managing them, you might have been tempted by an offer of a free debt consolidation loan.
Not sure how to deal with your debts? We’re here to help. Get started by using our free online debt advice tool.
Consolidating your debts can make your debts easier to manage because:
However, even if loan is advertised as 'free debt consolidation' and you don’t have to pay any fees to set it up, you still might end up worse off because:
Use our debt consolidation calculator to find out whether you need debt consolidation or debt management advice
This depends on the interest rate you’re offered by a lender. If you have lots of debt, or if you've missed payments on your debts, this will have affected your ability to borrow more money.
You might find that the only way you can borrow more money is at a higher interest rate. This means that you could end up paying more money back over the lifetime (or term) of the loan.
You may have to make a large payment to your debt consolidation loan each month, or you could find that you are paying the money back for a long period.
If you're applying for any kind of loan you should always check:
We advise you not to consolidate your debts without first looking at your situation so you understand how you will be affected.
We also advise against consolidating your unsecured debts with a loan secured against your property as this would put your home at risk if you fall behind on payments.
Read our guide to secured and unsecured debt consolidation loans and your home.
We can help you decide if debt consolidation is the right solution for your situation. We look at a range of debt solutions to fit your specific circumstances and help you manage your debts.
"They were so kind, they listened patiently and helped me through the process" Alison, Kent
Answer 5 quick questions to find out.It shouldn’t take more than a minute to get a clear picture of whether you're on top of your credit card, store card and catalogue repayments or not.
Did you pay only the minimum payment last month?
Do you regularly pay only the minimum payment?
Have you had any letters warning you that you're in 'persistent debt'?
Do you ever miss payments to your credit card, store card or catalogue accounts?
Do you worry about not being able to keep up with repayments or not being in control of your credit?
You're in control
Based on your answers it sounds like you’re in control of your repayments.
Because you’re not missing any payments and you’re not just paying the minimum each month, you’re reducing your balance. You’re also saving money by not paying interest.
Make the most of your money with income-boosting, money-saving and budgeting-busting tips, direct to your inbox.
Things are OK
Based on your answers, it sounds as though you’re mostly keeping on top of your repayments at the moment.
That’s great. By paying more than the minimum payment each month, you reduce your credit card balance quicker and you can also save yourself money because you’ll pay less in interest.
Find out more about what can happen if you’re only making minimum payments by clicking the button below.
You could make some improvements
Based on your answers it looks as though you’re doing everything you can to keep on top of your repayments, but you might be able to make improvements.
If you depend on making the minimum payment each month, you’re at risk of your account being in ‘persistent debt’. Your creditors will contact you and ask you to pay more each month.
Or you can contact our dedicated persistent debt team on 0300 303 2517. We’re available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
And if you’ve missed any payments, you might be struggling to keep on top of your finances. Find out how we can help you.
You need debt help
Based on your answers, it looks like you’re struggling financially. We can help you out. We’d recommend you get in touch with us for free debt advice.
Use our online debt advice tool for tailored budgeting advice and a personal action plan.
If you’d like to talk to a debt advisor, please call us on 0800 138 1111. We’re open Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-4pm.
John, Greater Manchester
StepChange don't judge you. They're here to help. I feel a lot less stressed thanks to them.
Richard, East Anglia
Words can hardly describe how great a service StepChange do, I feel like my life has improved so much thanks to the help they provide.
They've helped me so much! Can't thank them enough.
A big thank you to StepChange for not judging me and for all your assistance and support.
The service has been amazing, I feel a massive weight off my mind and no longer worry about my finances.