Does a Debt Consolidation Loan Hurt Your Credit Score?

If you are considering debt consolidation using a loan then you need to consider the question of does a debt consolidation loan hurt your credit score? Debt consolidation can be a good way to help you manage your debt and can make it easier to pay down the debt process. Depending on how you go through the process of debt consolidation, a loan can have an impact on your credit score. It can help your credit score in some ways and in other ways it can hurt your credit score.

How Does a Debt Consolidation Loan Hurt Your Credit Score?

Determining how can a debt consolidation loan hurt your credit score will depend on various options you choose. When you choose a loan or a credit card then you are applying for new credit, which will mean a hard inquiry on your credit report. Anytime this happens, the score can suffer. Before you start a debt consolidation plan, check your score. If you close down your credit cards in the process of paying down a loan then it can also hurt your score.

What makes up a credit score.

How to Prevent a Debt Consolidation Loan from Hurting Credit

If you are considering debt consolidation then your credit isn’t the best shape. If your credit score is already in bad shape then the answer to does a debt consolidation loan hurt your credit score won’t really matter as much. When you don’t want a debt consolidation loan to hurt your credit then it’s time to become aware of all your choices.

The higher the amount of debt, the greater the impact on the credit score. Even if you see a slip in your credit score, chances are your credit score is low enough that it won’t make much of an impact. If you are considering debt relief then be sure to arm yourself with information.

What Is Debt Consolidation?

In order to answer the question of does a debt consolidation loan hurt your credit score, it helps to know what bill consolidation financing is. Debt consolidation can help you get control of your money. During the process, you merge different bills into one debt you pay off with one monthly payment. You can do this using a debt management company or by getting a loan to get out of debt. Debt consolidation can work for credit cards with high interest.

Pros of Debt Consolidation

One of the main advantages of going through the process of debt consolidation is being able to handle your bills. First, try to negotiate your bills down as much as possible. Yes, that’s right it just takes calling and asking sometimes.

It helps to know the advantages of debt consolidation so you know if the risk of using debt consolidation is worth it to you. You get to merge all your debts into one larger debt.

If you are feeling overwhelmed about your debt then debt consolidating can make it easier to manage. One payment can be much easier to manage than a bunch of little ones. It can also improve your credit as you start to go through the process. As long as you are making consistent monthly payments, you decrease your debt and this will decrease your debt-to-income ratio as well.

Cons of Debt Consolidation

The biggest con of debt consolidation is the interest rate. You can have a high-interest rate on any loan you get, especially if you have bad credit. However, once you have locked in an interest rate, it won’t change as long as it’s a fixed rate. Consolidating debt won’t shorten the repayment in any way.

Unless you close your credit cards, they will still be available to use and you can increase your debt while paying the consolidation loan. This can be dangerous so you have to change habits in order for it to not be a problem.

How Does a Debt Consolidation Loan Help Your Credit Score?

While it initially seems the result is that a debt consolidation loan hurts your credit score, adding new credit or a loan will cause your utilization ratio to go up and this could help you score. For this to work, you will need to leave your credit cards alone after you pay them off.

Remember that a big part of your credit score is your payment history. If you want to prevent a debt consolidation loan from hurting your credit then be sure to make your payments on time every month, including your new consolidation loan.

Process of Debt Consolidation

In order to be successful and not have a debt consolidation loan hurt your credit score, it helps to know the process.

Know Your Goal

When you start to consider consolidation, there are some things you need to know because you do not want to have a debt consolidation loan hurt your credit score. The most obvious goal is to get out of debt but you may also have the goal to prevent debt consolidation from hurting your credit report. You should have long and short-range goals.

A long-term goal can be able to save for retirement. A short-term goal can be to begin saving money. When you consolidate your debt, it gives you the freedom to start to think about these goals. You also want to make sure that consolidating your debt doesn’t stand in the way of your goals.

Gather Your Debts

You need to gather information about your debts so you can know the gravity of the situation. You can’t start to understand the debt problem until you know how deep you are in. Check with your credit card companies and other loan companies to know the pay off amount. It could be different than you think.

Don’t stop paying debts just because you are considering consolidation. You still need to continue to pay off your debts. If you aren’t paying, this can hurt your credit score and give you additional fees. You also need to gather up your debts so that you know how much the loan should be, should you choose to go with that option.

Look at Your Assets

This is a step that many people overlook. Assets can be your home and vehicles you have. You can also consider other valuables you have. This can include investments, savings, and retirement plans. Assets can make a difference. Some companies that help with debt management will want you to use assets to pay off your debts. This may not be the best idea. Remember your goals about how paying off debt can be a short-term goal and saving for retirement is a long-term goal. Protecting assets can be a good way to also protect your financial future.

Understand Your Credit Score: In order to start the process, you should have an idea of your credit score. Your credit score can impact the interest rate you get on a debt consolidation loan. A lower credit score can give you a higher interest rate, which can result in having a debt consolidation loan hurt your credit score.

Look at Your Budget

Once you understand your debt, you also need to understand your budget. It helps to know how much you need to pay off your debt. If you aren’t able to pay off all your debt before the process then you may not be able to pay off the amount of the debt consolidation loan.

Know Your Options

There may be a few debt consolidation options available to you. Some of the options may not make sense for you but it’s important to know these options are available. A debt consolidation loan can be used to pay off all your debt and then you are responsible for paying that one payment. If you own a home, you can also consider a home equity loan.

This is a secured loan since you are using your home as collateral. These loans may have a lower interest rate but you do risk your home if you aren’t paying. A balance transfer may also be another option available to you. This also requires you to have a new credit card. You can transfer the balance and pay it off with a lower interest rate. You can also use a debt settlement company with an expert in debt consolidation to help you. The expert will come up with a plan for you that is tailored for your specific situation.

Can You Get a Debt Consolidation Loan with Bad Credit?

While the answer to does a debt consolidation loan hurt your credit score may be no, it can be harder to get a loan with bad credit. While it may be harder to get a loan, debt consolidation for poor credit can still be an option. Many modern lenders can give you a debt consolidation loan online and you can get approved in a very short period of time.

You can start to compare different consolidation lenders online so you can find the right one for you. There are some alternatives that you should be aware of. Payday lenders may not be looking out for your best interest. Some can give you decent terms but others will have interest rates that are extremely high.

Should You Consolidate?

The key to debt consolidation is to avoid taking on new debt. If you are borrowing money and paying off your credit cards but still charging them up, then you can be in worse shape than before. Think about your individual situation so you know how the process can affect your payments and your specific debt. Taking steps to consolidate debt can be the right choice if you are drowning in debt and you don’t have any end in sight.

If you feel that you can’t get your bills paid each month because you can only afford the minimum payment then you may also want to consider consolidating. If you don’t want to deal with multiple payments each month and want an easier way to settle your bills then you may also want to consider consolidating. You will have to decide which steps to address debt are the right choices for you. There are many different ways to access debt consolidation.

Final Thoughts

When you are trying to answer the question of does a debt consolidation loan hurt your credit score, you need to consider your unique situation. Debt consolidation can help your credit score but it may also hurt your credit score if you aren’t careful with the process. There are different ways to consolidate your debt, including a debt consolidation loan. It helps to know what kind of debt you have in order to understand if it is good or bad. By going through the process correctly, you can prevent a debt consolidation loan from hurting your credit score.


How to Improve Your Credit Score Without Crying

You just got your credit report and you took a look at your credit score. If you are one of the lucky ones, it is good. For many, it is not so good. That’s OK, I know how it feels. You get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that you should have done things differently. Maybe you screwed up or maybe you just got overwhelmed by unexpected things. Well, the past is past; however, you wonder if anything can be done about it. You need to know how to improve your credit score, and I am going to help you do this.

Learn How to Improve Your Credit Score

The good news is that by reading this guide you can learn how to improve your credit score. How to get rid of all the mysteries and break it down for you. I want to show you how to improve your credit score in a step-by-step way.

I want to teach you that there is really no magic way of how to improve your credit score super fast. Anyone who says this is not telling the truth. However, if you learn these techniques of how to improve your credit score, you will likely see improvement within a few months.

I want to encourage you to continue to improve your credit score over the long term. If you give this effort a bit of time, over the next few months, you will learn how to improve your credit score and thereafter you will be in charge of your own financial destiny.

What is a Good Credit Score?

Credit scores are based on your credit history file that is maintained by the three main credit-reporting bureaus, which are of Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Your credit score is called a FICO score because that is the rating system, which is used by about 90% of toplenders. It was invented by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO).

Equifax logo.
TransUnion logo
Experian logo.

Your credit score is calculated in pretty much the same way by all three of the credit bureaus. Equifax and Transunion use the exact FICO process. CNBC reports that in 2009, Transunion broke with the official FICO system, but still basically follows the same system.

The information in your credit history file at each bureau may differ between these three systems. This may result in your credit score being slightly different on each system. This can be to your advantage if a lender will accept a higher score from one credit bureau over a lower one from another credit bureau. In a perfect world, the three scores would be the same since theoretically they are supposed to be based on the same information.

A credit score rating can be categorized as high, lower, and very low credit score.

Here is a breakdown of the rating levels:

Credit score scale

How Can I Get My Credit Score Up Fast?

The first thing everyone wants to know is how to improve your credit score fast. There are some things you can do that help fairly quickly. However, there is no way to wave a magic wand and make all your credit troubles go away in one moment. If your credit score is low, it probably took you a long time to mess up your credit. It also takes some time to improve it.

If you want to improve your credit score by next week that is simply not going to happen. Be cautious of anyone who advertises “miracle” ways to instantly improve your credit score. They are very likely to be scams.

You have to think in terms of monthly segments of time to see improvements because something you do today will take at least a month, maybe two or three, to appear on your credit report. Your credit report is a history of what happened the month before and going back in time from there.

If you start making improvements today, you can start to see changes that may improve your score over the next few months.

How Long Does it Take to Improve a Credit Score?

The very first thing to learn about how to improve your credit score is to stop messing it up more. One late payment is enough to do a lot of damage to your score. It is frustrating to look at a person’s bad credit score and then realize that they had enough money to pay their bills on time in the past. They simply forgot to pay them! That is like hitting your thumb with a hammer. You only have yourself to blame.

Set up automatic payments for all of your reoccurring bills and you will not have this problem ever again. And, if you want to drive nails safely, hold them with a pair of needle-nose pliers, not between your thumb and forefinger. These are simple things you can do, starting right now, and from now on. No late payments and no more bruised thumbs in your future.

As I said, it takes time to improve your credit score. If you are aggressive in doing the things I suggest, you can see improvements within 60 to 90 days. In about six months to a year, you will see even more improvements.

Get a Credit Repair

You can get a credit repair company to help you. Be careful if you decide to go this route because there are lots of ripoffs out there. Check for complaints about them with the Better Business Bureau. Find positive reviews on the consumer review websites, like Yelp and others, before you make any commitment to work with them or pay them anything.

I prefer that you do this work to repair your credit yourself. It takes time and your involvement; however, it is not that difficult. The reason why I recommend a hands-on approach is that you will be empowered by taking control of your finances. You are the one ultimately in charge of your credit score. It is better if you do not have to rely on others to do this for you.

The Super Lazy Way to Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score will eventually improve if you can simply wait for a long time. If you don’t add any more negative credit information on your credit history, after a long time, the bad stuff disappears from your credit record. Some of this happens because of the policies of the credit bureaus. Other parts of the negative information in your credit history have to be removed after a certain period by law. You can force the credit bureaus to remove this information if they do not follow the law.

It takes up to a decade to get rid of everything on your credit record that is negative, except for student loan debt. Student loan debt never goes away unless it is forgiven by the U. S. government under special forgiveness/cancellation programs for student loans. Even bankruptcy does not get rid of it.

For everything else, except student loan debt, here are the timelines of when the information gets removed from your credit history file:

Accounts Sent to Collections or Charged Off as Non-Collectible:

180 days from the date you failed to make a payment plus seven years.

Tax Liens

These stay on your credit record for seven years from when they were finally paid off or officially discharged in bankruptcy.

Civil Judgments

Judgments are shown on your credit history for seven years or until the statute of limitation expires, whichever is longer (check your state’s laws). Note that it may be possible for a creditor to request the judgment to be renewed by the court. This extends the time for the collection of the judgment and how long the item appears on your credit history.


A bankruptcy stays on your credit history for up to ten years after the official “discharge” date, which is when the bankruptcy is finalized. Some credit bureaus take Chapter 13 bankruptcies off your credit history after only seven years from the discharge date.

If you are the lazy type, waiting does work. Any negative information that becomes older has less impact our your current credit score as long as you do not continue doing bad things to mess up your credit.

What Makes Up Your Credit Score?

Learning how to improve your credit score starts with understanding what goes into the calculation. Here are the things that make up your credit score and what causes the number to go up or down.

Your credit score is an algorithm. That is a fancy term from mathematics that means many things are used to calculate your score. They are given different weights in the calculations based on their perceived importance.

Here are the main categories and their respective weights in the calculations:

Payment History (35% weight)

Always pay everything on time. A single late payment is very damaging to your credit score.

Amount Still Owed (30% weight)

As a rule of thumb, restrict the use of your credit to half of the limit and frequently pay down the balance. Paying off a credit card at the end of each month, to avoid paying interest, saves money wasted on interest payments. This is also a wonderful thing that improves your credit score.

Length of Your Credit History (15% weight)

Showing many years of good payment records on your credit history is very powerful and improves your credit score dramatically.

New Credit Recently Added or Applied For (10% weight)

Having many recent credit inquiries about your credit history is a red flag These show up on your credit report when you apply for new credit. This can negatively impact your credit score.

Be sure you know who is accessing your credit file. If you don’t want unsolicited credit offers, you can lock your file at the three credit bureaus. If your file is locked you can then unlock the file just for the lenders that you approve.

In some states, this is a free service required by law. In other states, there may be a $10 fee for each time you unlock your credit file. Locking your file is free. Locking and unlocking can be done online at the websites of the credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and Transunion.

Some systems have monthly memberships that offer this service combined with sending you email notifications of changes when they are made to your credit history file. If you want to permanently lock your accounts, so no one can get access, you can freeze them.

Kinds of Credit You Use (10%)

Good credit scores come from a balanced mix of installment payments, such as an auto loan, and credit line payments, such as credit cards. Having a home mortgage is a plus.

What makes up a credit score.

7 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

In this section, I am going to describe the seven steps you can take while you learn how to improve your credit score. These are the exact same steps that a credit repair company would do for you if you decide to pay for that service. As you will learn, it is not that difficult to take these steps after you learn how to improve your credit score.

Credit history files are notoriously inaccurate. This is not necessarily the fault of the three main credit bureaus. The credit bureaus want to maintain accurate records; however, they report the information that they receive from the lenders. The trouble is that they may get lots of stuff from lenders that is wrong. Files get mixed up. Data entry mistakes create errors.

You should check your credit score by reviewing a report from all three credit bureaus and look for inaccuracies. Then, dispute anything you find that is wrong. Each credit bureau has a system for disputes. Disputes can be made online. Go to their websites and follow the dispute procedures for each system at Equifax, Experian and Transunion. This is a very good way of starting on the pathway of how to improve your credit score.

After you clean up your credit reports and make sure all the information is accurate, then the next steps are all about reducing spending, following a budget, and dealing with old problems. If you are constantly using your credit cards to buy things, you are spending too much. Switch to using cash instead. Only carry one credit card for emergencies and leave the rest at home locked away in a safe place.

When you run out of cash, stop spending money, especially on frivolous things that you do not really need. Reserve a portion of your monthly budget for paying down credit card debt. Don’t just pay a minimum payment because you will never reduce the balance that way. Cut up credit cards (but don’t close the accounts) except one that you keep for emergencies that has plenty of credit available on it that is still left to use.

If you are really in a bind, negotiate with your lenders to lower your interest rate or ask them to forgive the interest. Tell them you are planning a bankruptcy if they don’t cooperate and you will get their attention fast. If possible, consolidate high-interest credit card debt into one personal loan at a lower rate. Avoid having to take personal loans with bad credit customers can as you improve your credit score. Eventually, you can get a better deal on personal loans with good credit. Don’t take on any more debt if you cannot handle the debt that you already have.

Dispute all late payments on your credit history, even if they are accurate. The credit bureaus ask the lenders to verify the information. The lenders must respond within a certain amount of time. If the lenders fail to respond in time, the credit bureaus will remove the negative information.

If this does not get rid of all late payments in your credit files, negotiate with the lenders that put the negative information on your credit history. A lender that gave your payment information to a credit bureau also has the ability to change it.

Offer to pay off all the debt if you can, or bring the account current, or make a big payment. Do this in exchange for the correction and removal of all past due, late payment information in your file. Alternatively, get the lender to accept an amount to satisfy the entire debt (at a discount), then the account will show on your credit history “closed, paid as agreed.”

An easy way to make sure you get the agreed terms is to put the payment amount in an escrow account. The funds are held there waiting for the lender to comply with the written contract terms before the funds are released.

Collection accounts can be paid off at a steep discount. A good rule of thumbs is to offer ten cents on the dollar. If you owe $1,000 offer to pay $100 and tell them this is your last money before you file bankruptcy. It helps if you use a low-cost legal service or decently-price lawyer who is competent and honest.

There are flat fee lawyers who work to resolve certain issues, which you can contact through It is beneficial to have a lawyer do this negotiation because the collection agencies cannot harass you, or even speak with you after you inform them that you have legal representation.

One good rule of how to improve your credit score is not to apply for more credit once you have all the credit cards that you need. Every time you apply for a credit card or a loan, your credit score is “dinged.” This means you lose some points of your score, whether you get the loan, credit card, or not.

The credit utilization ratio is the amount that you have borrowed compared with the amount of remaining approved credit balance that you have left. It is best to only use up to half the amount of credit you have available on each account. Never max out your credit cards, unless you pay off the entire balance at the end of each month.

Your best bet for succeeding in how to improve your credit score is to show prudent use of your credit and pay all accounts on time, as agreed, over a long period. Then, you can get a personal loan to improve your credit score if the rates work out for your budget.

Can You Improve Your Credit Score by 100 Points?

Now, that you know how to improve your credit score take these three steps and you will likely see at least a 100 points increase in your score:

  • Correct all errors on your credit reports by disputing them
  • Fix delinquent accounts by paying them off or bringing them current in exchange for getting the negative information removed from your credit files
  • Pay down your debts to improve your credit utilization ratio


If you follow my advice, I see a 550 to 650 changing to maybe a 650 to 750, or even an 800+ score as a happy possibility for your future. Good luck.


What is a Good Credit Score? Your Credit 411.

Maybe you know that you need a good credit score to get a favorable rate when you want to shop personal loans or rent an apartment.

If you are wondering if your credit score is good then you need to read on to learn what that really means.

What is a Good Credit Score?

A credit score expresses your relationship with credit in a three-digit number. There are several bureaus that generate credit scores — perhaps you’ve heard of Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion — using either the FICO or VantageScores sliding scale.

Experian logo.
TransUnion logo
Equifax logo.

A good credit score generally falls within the 700 to 749 range. The problem of trying to figure out a good credit score isn’t that simple; however, as some creditors see anything above 720 as excellent, rather than good.

It’s in your favor if a lender moves you up to excellent, as you’ll usually get better terms when you loan shop. Yet this does make it difficult to pin down a good credit score numerically.

Adding to the confusion over determining a good credit score is the fact that creditors don’t report to every agency. So if you have a store credit card, the retailer won’t report to the three major credit bureaus, they’ll report to one or two.

Due to the differences in reporting by creditors, your credit score can vary by several points across the three major credit bureaus. This means that if you are on the cusp of a good score with TransUnion, for instance, you might actually have good credit with Equifax because the bureaus aren’t looking at the same data set.

While you may be able to run your own credit report — selecting the place where your score is best — for a landlord credit check, you can’t exactly tell the bank considering you for a mortgage which credit bureau to use for their credit check.

Credit score scale

What Other Options are There?

Credit scores range from 300 to 850. 750 or greater typically means excellent credit. 650 to 699 is a fair credit score, 550 to 649 is a poor credit score, and 300 to 549 means a bad credit score.

Why is a Good Credit Score Important

The higher your credit score, the greater the chance you will pay your loan on time. So a good score means you are a credit-worthy person, in lenders’ eyes.

When your score is good, you may have an easier time finding an apartment to rent, because a landlord sees you as a qualified applicant. Or you may receive a lower interest rate on an auto loan than someone whose score is fair.

Consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each of the major agencies per year. Thinking ahead, if you’re planning to make a major purchase in the next 6 months, it’s a good idea to run a credit report from at least one agency.

This way, you’ll find out if your credit score is good. You may spot mistakes on your credit report, which can be disputed and removed from your report.


If your score is good, keep it that way by paying bills on time. Use under 30 percent of your available credit to maintain a good score. Avoid opening new accounts, as this triggers a temporary dip in your score. When you don’t have a good credit score, work to improve it before you need a loan.

If you can get a good credit score, you’ll be favorably treated when you need money. If you aren’t in the good score range, work to develop money management skills and pay down debt.