Pros and Cons of Debt Consolidation

Consumer debt is a scourge that the majority of American consumers suffer under. It refers to a load of debts that is so plentiful that it swallows up a good chunk of the monthly income. Since this debt accumulates slowly, it is hard for consumers to exactly pinpoint the moment in time when the occasional credit card purchases actually tipped the scales and made it hard to make ends meet. When the realization sets in that there is nary a penny left after paying bills, credit cards become the saviors – in the short run – as they allow the debtors to take them to the grocery store and purchase essentials. Of course, this only worsens matters but it is not until consumers put a stop to this kind of spending, that revolving debt continues to become a fiscal nightmare.

When consumers do pull the plug on their credit spending, they look for ways out of the debt without putting a huge adverse mark on their credit profiles. Failure to pay on the credit card debts results in negative notations on the credit record and thus a forfeiture of future credit at reasonable interest rates. Debt consolidation companies offer a way out to a good many consumers, but even this solution is not without its downfalls. On the pro side, the fact that a multitude of consumer debt can be consolidated into one payment makes it a lot easier to budget for the expense, keep track of it, and also pay it on time every month.

This helps a consumer’s credit file. Moreover, since debt consolidation companies are oftentimes also settlement agencies, they may be able to negotiate a favorable reduction of debt for the consumer. This results in a reduced balance due, a lessening of the interest paid, and also a significant reduction in the monthly payment. Getting out of debt altogether, which might have taken the average consumer at least 15 years, can now be accomplished in as little as three to five years. Consumers who opt for debt consolidation find that their goal of living debt free is so much closer at hand than when they were trying to pay off these bills themselves.

On the flipside, there is a good chance that debt consolidation may hurt the credit rating. For example, while a lowered overall balance due is great for the consumer; it does show up with the credit reporting agency as a balance that was renegotiated. This in turn warns away future creditors who see that this consumer might not have been able to pay off their bills as initially contracted. It may appear to be a negligible red flag on the occasional credit account, but when it encompasses all of the unsecured credit accounts – as if frequently the case during a debt consolidation – it has the potential to make a consumer appear as a poor credit risk. Subsequently, s/he will not readily receive credit later on until the notation drops off the credit profile after about seven years.

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