In America, the total amount of credit card debt hit an unfortunate new high recently of more than 1 trillion dollars. That means there’s a whole lot of spending going on, and a whole lot of people in debt. One path to conquer high-interest credit card and other debt is with a debt consolidation loan. You trade in the multiple, hard-to-pay-down debts for a single, more manageable payment per month, ideally of an appreciably lower amount.
If you are interested in a debt consolidation loan, which lender should you choose? There are many options available, and it pays (quite literally) to invest some time in reviewing your alternatives to get the best deal and the right fit.
There are several ways to compare the best debt consolidation loans. Rates and terms are the most common differentiators. Flexibility and accessibility are important, too. This list incorporates these variables and lending criteria for individuals with less-than-perfect credit. Based on our research, the following lenders offer the 10 best debt consolidation loans for 2023-2024.
Upgrade is considered the best debt consolidation lender for individuals with bad credit. Their minimum credit score requirement is 580. They offer APRs of 8.49% to 35.99% on loans of $1,000 to $50,000. The lower minimum loan amount makes them appealing to borrowers who don’t want to take on too much new debt. The downside is that origination fees can be high.
2. Universal Credit
This option deserves an asterisk, because Universal Credit is not a lender. They’re on this list because they’re a fintech app owned by Upgrade. Prospective borrowers looking for lower interest rates can use Universal to shop around or deals. They offer a low minimum loan amount of $1,000, a minimum credit score requirement of 580, and same-day funding availability.
3. Happy Money
Happy Money, the company previously known as Payoff, only does loans for credit-card debt consolidation. That puts them in a unique position because they can pay the creditors directly and then collect from the borrower. They also offer low APRs of 11.27% to 24.67% and no application fees, but origination fees could be as high as 5%.
Achieve is an online lender that partners with Cross River Bank and MetaBank, N.A., the financial backbone of Netspend. Like Happy Money, Achieve offers lower qualification requirements in exchange for consolidating third-party debt through the lender. Their minimum credit score requirement is 620. APRs range from 8.99% to 35.99%.
Discover personal loans could be a good fit for you if your credit score is 660 or above and you need a minimum of $2,500. Their APRs are some of the lowest on this list (7.99% to 24.99%), and they don’t charge an origination fee for their loans. Borrowers can have Discover pay off their debt directly or take the money and distribute it themselves.
6. Best Egg
Best Egg is on the best debt consolidation loans list in part because they’re easy to do business with. Their minimum credit score requirement is 640. APRs start at 8.99%. They have an origination fee of 0.99% to 5.99%, but the minimum loan amount is just $2,000 and you can use the money for whatever you like. Best Egg also partners with Direct Pay for debt consolidation payments.
7. Lending Club
Peer-to-peer lending has become increasingly popular in recent years because the approval criteria are less stringent. Lending Club has been at the forefront of that movement, scoring them a spot on the best debt consolidation loans list. They offer loans of $1,000 to $40,000, APRs starting at 9.57%, and a minimum credit score requirement of 600.
LightStream is not an option for prospective borrowers with poor credit scores. Their minimum credit score requirement is 660, and the minimum loan amount they offer is $5,000. If you meet their requirements, your APR could be as low as 7.49%, there’s no origination fee, and you can borrow up to $100,000, which is significantly more than what average lenders offer.
SoFi also targets borrowers with higher credit scores. Their minimum credit score requirement is 650. Their APRs start at 8.99% and range up to 25.81% with autopay. Like LightStream, SoFi can lend up to $100,000 to qualified applicants. Repayment terms are between two years and seven years, and funding can be available in just one to two days.
10. OneMain Financial
We’re rounding out this list with OneMain Financial because they do not have a minimum credit score requirement. That makes them a “sub-prime lender” who can help you even if your credit history isn’t all that great. The rates and fees are high, but it’s likely they don’t add up to more than what you’re paying in credit card APRs. Do the math; there are plenty of online calculator tools to help you with this so you can see if this could be a good option for you.
How to Choose the Best Debt Consolidation Loans
Submitting an online application to any of these lenders could generate multiple loan offers. Use those as a starting point to compare the costs and benefits. With debt consolidation, make sure you know how much you’re paying in credit card bills now and how much the loan will cost you. The difference between those two numbers is how much you can save.
The rates and terms listed for each of these lenders are as of January 2024 and are subject to change with market fluctuations. Each of these companies has been established for some time, and you can find additional reviews and ratings listed on other sites. We encourage you to check as many of those as possible before applying for a debt consolidation loan.
Read more debt consolidation company reviews.