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Pay Down My Debt

Debt Consolidation 101: What It Is, How It Works and Where to Find Loans

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Juggling debts with different payment due dates, amounts and interest rates can be a headache. It can get even worse when you’re tight on money and don’t know when you’ll be debt-free.

Debt consolidation is one way to simplify your finances. By merging multiple credit card bills and loans into one monthly payment with more favorable terms, debt consolidation can help get you out of the red faster and/or make your monthly payments more manageable.

Here’s a look at how debt consolidation works, how it may affect your credit and different ways you may consolidate your debt.

How does debt consolidation work?

Debt consolidation involves taking out a new loan (often a debt consolidation loan) and using it to pay off other unsecured consumer debts, such as credit card bills. The new loan should have more favorable terms, such as a lower APR, to make repaying your debt more affordable or simply easier.

There are several products you may choose from to consolidate your debt:

How debt consolidation may help improve your credit score

  • It can help you pay down your debt sooner. A consolidation loan with a fixed term or an expiration date on a promotional period can be a powerful motivator to repaying your old debts sooner. Less debt can increase your credit score, making you more liable to qualify for better loan products later. The amount you owe on your accounts compared to your income determines 30% of your FICO® Score, a type of credit score commonly used by lenders.
  • Thanks to flexible terms, you can build a history of regular, on-time payments. If you’ve struggled with making payments in the past, you could choose a longer repayment term for lower, more manageable monthly payments in the future. Positive payment history is the most significant factor in calculating your FICO Score, at a whopping 35%. Showing a history of payments that are on-time and in full makes you come across as a more reliable borrower.
  • May lower your credit utilization ratio, if you use a loan to do so. The more revolving debt you pay off, the less you’re using from the total amount of revolving credit available to you, which helps lower your credit utilization ratio. This ratio determines 30% of your credit score. Ideally, you should keep your ratio at under 30%.

Where to find debt consolidation loans

You can apply for a debt consolidation loan through a variety of lenders, including banks, credit unions and online lenders. You may explore lenders using our debt consolidation marketplace.

To help you kickstart your search, you can review the below three lenders.

Debt consolidation loan lenders
 

Peerform

Learn more

Best Egg

Learn more

Upstart

Learn more

APR

5.99% to 25.05%

5.99% to 29.99%

7.00% to 35.99%

Terms

36 or 60 months

36 or 60 months

36 & 60 months

Borrowing limits

$4,000 to $25,000

$3,000 to $35,000

$5,000 to $30,000

Origination fee

1.00% - 5.00%

0.99% - 5.99%

Up to 8.00%

Minimum credit score requirement

600

700

620

Are there debt consolidation loans for bad credit?

While you can get a debt consolidation loan for bad credit (below 670), as long as you have enough money for the minimum monthly payments, it may not be worth your while. The worse your credit, the higher your interest rate can be and the more you will have to pay, including origination and other fees, to consolidate your debt.

Keep this in mind as you shop for lenders willing to consider factors beyond your credit score such as your job history or education. Some of your best bets could be online lenders who could offer more flexible terms, or credit unions whose interest rates are capped at 18%. Tapping into your home equity or getting a secured loan (see above) are some other options, but keep in mind the risk of losing your assets if you default on your payments.

Is debt consolidation a good idea? How to decide for yourself

Depending on your individual circumstances, such as your monthly income, type of debts, credit score, and willingness to change your spending habits, debt consolidation may or may not be a good idea.

When debt consolidation is a good option …

  • The reasons behind the financial decisions that led you into debt are clear and you’re committed to ensuring it won’t happen again.
  • You’ve met with a credit counselor or financial advisor to put together a realistic budget (or are confident in your ability to do so on your own)
  • All your other options to get out of debt have been researched and explored
  • Committing to the monthly payments and terms of the consolidation loan are achievable
  • You’re saving money compared to what you were paying previously on all your debts

When debt consolidation might not be the right option …

  • Decreasing your expenses might not be possible and you might rack up balances on old credit lines
  • You’d need a secured loan for good interest rates but you’re risk-averse or worry you won’t be able to keep up with payments
  • Savings are negligible or nonexistent after paying the interest rate and associated fees of a debt consolidation loan

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Personal Loans

Where U.S. Families Are Leaving in Droves — and Where They’re Moving to

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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While some media outlets report increasing challenges for families seeking a comfortable life in America’s biggest cities, leading to declining birth rates, other research claims most cities and metropolitan areas are as family-friendly as the nation as a whole. What’s clear is that the cost of living, and in particular the cost of childcare, presents significant challenges for those raising children in 2019 and beyond.

We analyzed U.S. Census Bureau migration data to understand which areas families with children are moving to, as well which metropolitan areas they are moving away from. For the purposes of this article, we defined a family as any household with children under the age of 18. Final rankings were determined by subtracting the number of families who left a metro area between 2016 and 2017 from the number of families who moved in.

Key findings

  • Riverside, Calif., took the top spot for highest migration, with a net inflow of 6,279 families. Nearly 15,700 families moved to Riverside while just under 9,400 left.
  • Phoenix, Ariz., was the second most popular spot for families to move to. In total, this metro saw a net inflow of 5,580 families. This city is also known for being a destination of choice for retired seniors and snowbirds, thanks not only to good weather but also retirement-friendly tax laws.
  • The country’s largest city, New York, saw about 38,100 families leave and 13,149 move in. This created a net outflow of just under 25,000 families, making it the city families are most likely to leave.
  • Other big cities like Los Angeles and Chicago did not perform well in this analysis, either, ranking second and third for net outflow of families. The good news for big cities is that they are the ones best able to recover from the loss of families. With a large population of young people, it is possible these cities can naturally replace the families leaving.
  • Apart from the three largest cities, other large cities round out the bottom 10. San Francisco, Washington, Miami, San Diego and Seattle all saw a net loss of families from migration.
  • On the state level, the most popular states for families to move to were North Carolina, Massachusetts and Texas. Those states saw a net gain of 10,108 families; 8,092 families; and 7,643 families, respectively.
  • The worst-performing states, according to our analysis, were New York, California and Indiana. New York lost 23,276 families; California lost 15,690; and Indiana lost 7,670.

Which states families are moving to

Riverside, Calif., ranks first on our list of the top 25 places families are migrating to. It’s followed closely by Phoenix, then by Tampa, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; and Orlando, Fla.

Surprisingly, these states rank relatively low on MagnifyMoney’s list of the top 25 happiest states in America. In that study, Arizona ranked 17th, followed by Oregon at 18th, while California and Florida came in 21st and 29th, respectively. Diving deeper into the categories that contributed to residents’ happiness, California ranked 11th in health, while Florida came 46th in economic stability.

Surprisingly, while the state of Arizona has a lower total population overall than California or Florida, its capital city, Phoenix, ranked second in the number of new families moving in. Florida is also a hot spot for educated workers who are drawn to its relatively low cost of living and low unemployment rates. These are some of the attributes responsible for two cities in Florida ranking in the top five places families move to.

Which states families are moving from

The largest exodus of families comes from the nation’s largest cities. The top five cities families are moving away from include New York, which is at the very top of the list with a net mobility of almost -25,000.

The difference in net mobility between New York and Los Angeles, the next city on the list, is more than 10,000 families. Chicago, San Francisco and Washington follow more closely behind.

These numbers support the recent MagnifyMoney happiness study that ranked New York the 39th happiest state in the U.S. and second-to-last in economic stability overall, just above the state of Louisiana. Another MagnifyMoney study ranked Washington and San Francisco among the top three most expensive cities in the nation, where even a six-figure salary may not be enough to afford housing and transportation costs or live a comfortable lifestyle.

On the other end of the spectrum, Colorado ranked third-happiest state in America, and Fort Collins, Colo., is lowest on the list of metropolitan places families move away from. It also has the second lowest number of families who are moving in.

The cost of moving

From packing supplies and moving trucks to hiring staff and taking time off work, moving and relocation expenses can put a significant dent in a family’s savings. On average, it costs between $2,000 and $5,000 per move more than 100 miles away, according to Consumer Affairs.

You may want to start saving for moving expenses now — or consider options such as an introductory 0% APR credit card or personal loan — to cover costs when making a move with your family across state lines. That’s especially true if your company won’t cover moving expenses.

If you decide that a personal loan is the best option for you, try searching for the best interest rates and repayment terms on MagnifyMoney’s personal loan comparison tool, where you can see if you qualify for personal loan offers.

Methodology

In order to rank the places where families were moving, researchers looked at the number of families who moved from one metro area to another from 2016 to 2017. To define family, we looked at households with children under the age of 18. To create the final ranking, we subtracted the number of families leaving a metro area from the number of those moving in.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Personify Financial Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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APR

35.00%
To
179.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

6 to 48

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 5.00%

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Personify Financial personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 6 to 48 months (dependent on state of residence)
  • APR Range: 35.00% to 179.99%
  • Loan amounts: $500 to $10,000
  • Time to funding: One to two business days after you submit your signed paperwork for final loan approval.
  • Hard pull/soft pull: Initially, Personify Financial will do a soft pull on your credit to show you loan offers. This will not affect your credit score. When you officially apply for a loan, a hard pull will be performed, which does have the potential to negatively impact your credit.
  • Origination fee: 0.00% - 5.00% (dependent on state of residence), added to the amount you receive
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late payment fee: May be charged if you don’t make your payments on time.
  • Other fees: A non-sufficient funds fee may be charged if you don’t have enough money in your account when the payment is collected.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: Not specified.
  • Minimum credit history: Not specified.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified.

Personify Financial doesn’t offer a lot of details on its eligibility requirements. However, residents of the following 31 states can apply:

  • Alaska
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington

Regardless of which state you live in, you must have a valid checking account in order to qualify for a Personify Financial personal loan.

Applying for a personal loan from Personify Financial

The only way to apply for a Personify Financial personal loan is to use their online application. You will be asked for your name, email, address, date of birth, and potentially a government-issued ID or other paperwork that will verify your identity.

After you provide your information, Personify Financial will do a soft pull on your credit to determine your loan offers. This will not affect your credit score. In addition to providing you with the terms and interest rates for which you qualify, you’ll also have the option of paying once per month, twice per month or every other week. Depending on your state of residence, these offers will either be through Personify Financial directly or through its partner, First Electronic Bank.

If you decide you want to follow through and actually apply, Personify Financial will do a hard pull on your credit, which does have the potential to lower your score, but that’s a part of applying for any debt. The approval process can be quick, but you may be required to provide additional documentation. The faster you provide this documentation, the faster your application will be processed.

If you are approved, you’ll have to sign the final loan paperwork. After it’s submitted, you should have your money within one to two business days.

Pros and cons of a Personify Financial personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • No prepayment penalty. With no prepayment penalties, you can pay off your loan at a faster clip without incurring additional charges.
  • Flexible credit requirements. If you have bad credit, you still have a chance of getting approved for a Personify Financial personal loan. The tradeoff to this is that you’ll likely end up paying far higher rates than you would elsewhere. If you have good credit, shop around — you may find lower rates elsewhere.
  • Choice of payment schedules. Depending on the loan offers you receive, you will have the option of paying once per month, twice per month or every two weeks.
  • High interest rates. Because Personify Financial loans to those with bad credit, its interest rates are extremely high.

Who’s the best fit for a Personify Financial personal loan?

If you have a good credit score, Personify Financial is not for you. You’ll be able to find better interest rates with other lenders.

Personify Financial consumer reviews

Personify Financial currently has a BBB rating of A+. On LendingTree, which owns MagnifyMoney, consumer reviews of this lending agency are rather lukewarm at a rating of 3.5. While some clients praise it for a “fast application and approval process,” others refer to the process as “a nightmare from beginning to end.” Common glitches seem to affect the website and the billing system, while human errors from staff lead to unnecessary confusion and delays.

But one satisfied client stated, “Y’all have a good reliable company and employees,” and gave Personify Financial 5 stars without any further explanation.

Another client who awarded the lender 4 stars had mixed feelings and elaborated on their experience as follows: “I was confused by the whole thing. I uploaded all the required papers and the next day got a call from one of their reps who I could barely understand. He insisted that the federal letters from SS and the VA were unacceptable forms of income proof. He said if I had no tax returns or paystubs I did not qualify. (I am retired.)”

Before working with any lender, be sure to carefully reviews reviews from current and previous borrowers. These reviews can give you a glimpse into what your experience may be like.

Personify Financial FAQ

Personify Financial offers personal loans between 6 to 48 months in duration, with biweekly, semimonthly or monthly payment schedules.

If approved, you can borrow between $500 and $10,000, depending on multiple factors.

You can apply online from any computer, smartphone, or tablet.

In some states, Personify Financial charges an origination fee worth 5″% of the total loan amount you receive, as well as non-sufficient funds and late fees when applicable.

Once approved, you can receive funds within 24 to 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays.

You can make payments via electronic funds transfer or a remotely created check; your checking or savings account; a debit card via an automated phone system; or via a personal check for military and their dependents.

If you miss a payment, your credit rating could take a hit; call a Personify Financial specialist at 888-578-9546 to discuss your options.

Alternative personal loan options

Affinity Federal Credit Union

Affinity Federal Credit Union
APR

As low as 8.75%

Credit Req.

525

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

Up to 60

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

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on Affinity Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Affinity Federal Credit Union offers personal loans that come with no origination fees, no prepayment penalties, and low fixed rates. ... Read More

A good place to start your search is credit unions, as they tend to offer lower interest rates. One such credit union is Affinity Federal Credit Union. Its minimum required credit score is 525, and APRs on personal loans start at 8.75%.

LendingPoint

APR

9.99%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

585

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 48

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingPoint is an online lender that targets borrowers with fair credit, and allows borrowing up to $25,000.... Read More

LendingPoint offers personal loans at rates of 9.99% to 35.99% — drastically lower than Personify Financial. However, you will have to have a halfway decent credit score in order to qualify.

Finova Financial

Finova Financial
APR

18.00%
To
30.00%

Credit Req.

Varies

Terms

12 to 24

months

Origination Fee

Varies by state

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Terms and Conditions Apply. FINOVA RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet Finova's underwriting requirements. A borrower cannot be an active-duty service member of the U.S. Armed Forces (or a covered dependent under the Military Lending Act). Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice and are subject to state restrictions. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Finova conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull. Finova is an equal opportunity lender.

Another option is looking at secured loans. Many times this involves putting your car or another valuable item up for collateral. You have to be careful, though. Interest rates on auto title loans — where you put your car up as collateral — can be terribly high. If this is your only option, look to a lender like Finova Financial, which caps its interest rates at a comparatively low 30.00%.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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