A home equity loan offers a lump sum payment, and the repayment period is typically over five to 15 years, with a fixed interest rate. In contrast, a home equity line of credit works like a credit card, by providing you with a credit limit you can draw from. HELOCs typically have a variable interest rate and a draw period of up to 10 years, followed by a repayment period (often 15 to 20 years) when you can no longer draw cash.

And while it’s tempting to allow Aunt Martha to lend you the money to pay off your student loans and save you on interest, don’t even think about! The borrower is slave to the lender (see Proverbs 22:7), and you change the dynamic of a relationship when a loved one loans you money. When you owe someone, suddenly that relative or friend thinks they get to decide how you live. They may judge the trips you take and items you buy. Thanksgiving dinner could taste different, and Christmas morning might feel like opening presents in front of your banker. Trust us on this—it’s not worth the trouble.  
PLEASE NOTE: Some people are not clear regarding the limitations of credit repair software. Just know that credit repair software can NOT legally pull consumers’ credit reports or load them directly from the credit bureaus. One must have a permissible purpose to do so, and a credit repair company does not fit this legal standard. They can import them in using a couple of credit monitoring services that can display what is negative or positive, including public records.  Therefore, credit repair software is an effective management tool for a growing company, but only if you are fully trained in this business.
Abnormal rate of return or ‘alpha’ is the return generated by a given stock or portfolio over a period of time which is higher than the return generated by its benchmark or the expected rate of return. It is a measure of performance on a risk-adjusted basis. Description: The abnormal rate of return on a security or a portfolio is different from the expected rate of return. It is the return gene
You can use the free analyzer which may have been provided to help you figure out which items are lowering your credit score. After reviewing your credit reports, print them off and then highlight everything you see as a negative listing along with what the computer analysis pointed out. If you downloaded these reports online, make sure to save copies of them somewhere on your computer. You are only able to access these reports for 30 days through the bureau websites, so you want to make sure you have both a printed and electronic copy.

Adam Tijerina is a personal finance expert for National Debt Relief, a BBB A+ accredited business offering debt settlement services since 2009. Adam knows a thing or two about debt resolution after successfully settling $43,250 in credit card debt on his own. He has also co-authored two books about overcoming adversity and has been featured on Credit.com and USNews.com. Adam holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Trinity University and lives in Texas with his wife and four children.


Laura is an editor and writer at CreditCards.com. She has written extensively on all things credit cards and works to bring you the most up-to-date analysis and advice. Laura’s work has been cited in such publications as the New York Times and Associated Press. You can reach her by e-mail at [email protected] and on Twitter @creditcards_lm.

Be Persistent. Become more insistent, but not more threatening, with each dispute. Make sure your letters are clear and to the point. Remember, an employee at one of the credit bureaus has about 4 minutes to enter the dispute into the computer for analysis by e-Oscar. And if you call the company, this resets the clock on how long they have to get back to you. If you are on day 29 of the 30 days they have to get back to you and you call, the clock resets and they have 30 more days because you provided them with more information.


An important thing to note is that debt consolidating should be considered only if you see your financial situation improving in the future. It is basically a safe way out of paying a large sum of interest rates in your current situation. For example, if you are a college student that doesn’t have a significant income, but have a job lined up where you would be able to pay off your debt, debt consolidation would be a route to take. 


TIP: Older credit history has less impact on your score than recent financial activity. That means if you practice good credit behavior now, you still may be able to make up for those prior blemishes. This process takes a little longer than credit repair, but with the proper activity, you can absolutely revitalize your credit picture pretty quickly.

Try transferring your debt to another credit card. This only works if you still have excellent credit. You could look into applying for a balance transfer credit card that offers a 0% introductory annual percentage rate. If you get one that allows you to transfer your debt for 12 or more months, you won't have interest collecting for that period – and that may give you enough time to pay off the debt without it spiraling out of control.
Why this credit card is one of the best: The United Explorer Card offers unlimited 2 miles per dollar on United flights, hotel stays and purchases at restaurants. All other purchases earn 1 mile per dollar. Cardholders get valuable airline perks, including up to a $100 fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, your first checked bag free, priority boarding and 25% back on United in-flight purchases.

Debt settlement isn’t exactly a debt consolidation program, but involves negotiating with your creditors to settle for less than what you owe. You can do this on your own, but working with a professional has its advantages. Since a professional debt negotiator at a debt settlement company has more experience negotiating with creditors, they’re likely able to get larger debt reductions than you could on your own.
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People often think that bad credit is a curse that will follow them forever. But the truth is that you can solve most consumer credit problems within six months to a year. Even better? You don’t need professional credit help to do it. You can complete the repair process and rebuild your score without incurring any additional costs to make it happen.

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Best Egg loans are unsecured personal loans made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. “Best Egg” is a trademark of Marlette Funding, LLC. All uses of “Best Egg” refer to “the Best Egg personal loan” and/or “Best Egg on behalf of Cross River Bank, as originator of the Best Egg personal loan,” as applicable.

In the first three steps, your debt relief company will not be making payments on your debts. The primary goal of debt relief programs is to negotiate lower settlements. Continuing to not make payments helps them achieve that goal. But depending on how large your debts are, those steps can take years — and during that time, your credit score continues to drop.

I would like to say Thank you for the outstanding service that you gave me. I started the program just four short years ago and in March I will be debt free. With your help in setting better plans with my creditors I was able to accomplish this. It was hard work, but it was all worth it at the end. The Consolidated credit counselors are the best; they answered all of my question(s) and helped me every step of the way.

Bills.com has aggregated all the debt help resources and information you need to start tackling your debt today. We even have a Debt Help Savings Center that will help you find the best solution for consolidating and paying down your debt, whether that is debt consolidation, credit counseling, debt settlement or other forms of debt help. Bills.com will help identify what options you have and which ones are best suited to help you tackle your debt. Browse through our articles, debt help guides, and debt relief tips and get all the information you need to get debt help.
These cards are best for those who expect to carry debt from month to month. Zero-percent cards offer new cardholders a year or more of 0% interest on purchases, making them suitable for a big expense. Low-interest cards might not offer a 0% period, but they have a low ongoing rate that makes them a good long-term option. See our best low-interest and 0% credit cards.
Do you have high-interest credit card debt at 18% or above? You might be able to transfer the balances on those cards to a new one at a much lower interest rate and thus achieve some debt relief. If you can qualify for it, you could get one of those zero interest percent balance transfer credit cards that give you a “time out” of 6 to 18 months during which time you wouldn’t have to pay any interest at all. This means all of your payments would go to reduce your balance and, who knows, maybe you could be completely debt free at the end of those six or 18 months.
We encourage you to apply if you are a current full-time student at any accredited US university or college and have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher working towards at least your Bachelors Degree. You must be currently enrolled and attending school to apply. The award will be sent directly to the financial aid office of the student who wins the scholarship.

Credit.org partners with nonprofit credit counseling agencies to offer Debt Management Plans (DMPs). These plans consolidate a consumer’s unsecured credit and debt payments into one convenient monthly payment. Some of the advantages of having a Debt Management Plan include concessions from your creditors including a reduction in interest rates or elimination of late fees.
Negative entries on your credit report that are either erroneous or inaccurate can often be removed by simply writing a letter to the reporting agency. In fact, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states that the credit reporting agencies must investigate any disputed entry a consumer discovers on their credit report. If the agency finds that the entry is erroneous, they must remove it from the report.
If you have impossibly high interest on those credit cards, then do cancel them. It doesn’t help to have open credit cards if the interest rate makes it nearly impossible for you to get the balance down. In fact, banks currently have hardship programs, where they will reduce your interest rate TO ZERO if you agree that they will cancel your cards. Yes, you wll take an immediate hit on your credit score, but that will quickly improve as you pay down your credit cards, which you can now do because you don’t have those usurious interest rates to pay.
TIP: The bureaus have to supply you with a free credit report annually as I noted. But if a someone denies you credit, insurance or a job based on a credit report, the bureau that supplied that information must also provide you with a free report on demand. The only caveat is that you must make your request within 60 days from the time you learned of the adverse decision by the vendor.

However, once a payment is beyond 30 days past due, creditors and lenders can report your account to the credit bureaus — which ultimately impacts your score and creditworthiness. The longer your payment is overdue, the worse it is for your credit. Late payments can stay on your credit report for as long as seven years, so it’s important to pay them off sooner rather than later.
Debt settlement isn’t exactly a debt consolidation program, but involves negotiating with your creditors to settle for less than what you owe. You can do this on your own, but working with a professional has its advantages. Since a professional debt negotiator at a debt settlement company has more experience negotiating with creditors, they’re likely able to get larger debt reductions than you could on your own.

Credit Karma uses TransUnion and Equifax for their credit scores. Since all scoring models are not the same, my score may have changed in different ways with the other major credit bureau, Experian. I think it’s also important to stress that you can do exactly as I did, but your score still may not change in the exact same manner. Everyone’s score is affected in different ways, even though you may be taking the exact same actions. Sound confusing? Don’t worry, it is. Here are some examples of how this can happen:
Payoff bills itself as ideal to help consolidate credit card debt, and for good reason. Payoff will help you put together a debt reduction plan and help you consolidate your credit cards to make it happen. Payoff also has relatively low rates, starting from 5.99% to 24.99% APR. You can borrow between $5,000 and $35,000, and Payoff lends to individuals with slightly lower credit scores (640 or higher) than you might see with Marcus or Discover. Loan terms range from two to five years.
If you’re unsure of your chances of being approved and don’t want to risk a hard credit inquiry on a hopeless application, you can check for pre-qualification offers, instead. Provided by many major credit card issuers, pre-qualification uses a soft credit inquiry, rather than a hard inquiry, to estimate your credit risk and give you an idea of the cards for which you’ll most likely qualify.
Interest.com is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The products and offers that appear on this site are from companies from which Interest.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how, where and in what order products or offers appear on this site. Interest.com does not include the entire universe of available financial products or credit offers.

What I mean by all of this is that even if you believe firmly in the value proposition of The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, that probably shouldn’t be the first card you ever apply for. There are plenty of great starters cards that are easier to get approved for, allowing you to earn points and build credit without dealing with the confusing sting of rejection early on.


Opening a secured credit card can help raise your credit score. This type of card involves you depositing money into a checking account to secure the line of credit the lender is extending to you. Payments come directly out of this account, so you can’t miss a payment.And because you can’t miss a payment, and make all your payments on time, your credit score could improve over time.
Low rates. Debt consolidation loans typically have a lower interest rate than most credit cards. This is important because the lower the interest rate, the less money you are spending on interest charges and the more money you can be saving. More of your monthly payment is actually going towards the balance. When you make minimum payments on your credit cards, you’ll notice that your balance goes down the smallest amount and there’s no certainty as to when your card will be paid off. With a debt consolidation loan, though, you’ll have the ability to know exactly how much of your payment is going towards your balance as well as a defined pay-off date.
It’s important to note that the longer the term length of your loan, the more you’re likely to pay in interest over the life of your loan. Still, if you’re struggling with your monthly payments, it might be worth it to consolidate your debt and extend your repayment timeline. This way, you won’t be struggling to stay afloat every month, and you’re less likely to miss payments.
Beware of credit repair companies that overpromise. Credit repair does not happen overnight. Any organization promising an unrealistic turnaround should be viewed with skepticism. The same goes for companies requesting up-front payments without delivering results, offering a new credit identity, or bogus money-back guarantees without specifying conditions. Some companies even go so far as to promise to remove negative items that are correct. A dispute of this nature cannot be guaranteed and chances of the item being removed are slim at best.
While you're on the hunt for a new credit card, watch out for subprime credit cards that prey on people with bad credit. These credit cards often have high interest rates and extremely high fees that make credit unaffordable. A lot of people find themselves right back in debt with damaged credit after trying to rebuild with one of these types of credit cards.
Debt management is one of several debt-relief options for those who are struggling to keep up with a growing pile of bills each month. When you sign up for a debt management plan, you pay a single company every month instead of all of your creditors individually. The debt management company then pays off your creditors for you, usually after negotiating lower interest rates and payments.

Consolidation means that your various debts, whether they are credit card bills or loan payments, are rolled into one monthly payment. If you have multiple credit card accounts or loans, consolidation may be a way to simplify or lower payments.  But, a debt consolidation loan does not erase your debt. You might also end up paying more by consolidating debt into another type of loan.


Debt relief companies help people deal with their outstanding debts by negotiating or consolidating balances, working out payment plans, or even helping them file for bankruptcy in exchange for a fee. Debt settlement is what people often think of when they hear the term debt relief, but that can negatively affect your credit score and should therefore only be used as a last resort. As such, it’s also important to consider other debt relief options, like debt consolidation or debt management. 

No two members are alike. That's why we provide a variety of features like online and mobile banking, mobile deposits, and nationwide account access through the CO-OP Shared Branching network. That’s right: you can find an ATM almost anywhere. Our personal accounts include Peak Checking accounts with high interest rates that help your money make money. We also offer additional personal checking account options, personal savings, Visa cards, and youth accounts to get your kids started making smart financial choices from the beginning. Whether you just moved to Portland, or have been here for years, our credit union is here for you. Our services include checking accounts, high-interest peak checking accounts, savings accounts, and youth accounts. Want to bank online or in-app? We offer that too.

The first thing you’ll want to do is get your complete credit reports from all three credit bureaus and go over them thoroughly in search of errors. The next logical step is to go about disputing these errors. This is where many people give up and employ the services of a credit repair company. Why? Companies have many more resources at their disposal and they’re used to dealing with creditors on a regular basis. Consumers, unfortunately, are not.

Not only that, but the loan may save you quite a bit of money over time. If that single loan payment is less than the total amount you were paying to all of your different creditors, then you’ll save money every single month that you can save or put towards paying off your debt even faster. And if the interest rate on your new debt consolidation loan actually leads to you paying less interest over time, you’ll spend less of your income on debt and more on things that actually matter.
Many people find it hard to negotiate with their creditors. A debt relief program has expert, experienced negotiators that know how to deal with creditors. They take the hassle and heartache out of a fraught situation. Additionally, because debt relief companies deal with a lot of debt in different accounts, they have more leverage and can bulk their deals to get better settlements.
Another major contributing factor is my perfect track record of on-time payments. According to Credit Karma, I have a 100% record of consistent, on-time payments. I manage to never miss a payment by maintaining my own personal bills calendar, which tells me when all of my bills are due. I even set reminders one week early to allow room for any mistakes.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information, however all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on an offer you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your offer.
But let’s say that seems worth it to you. Credit cards that offer airline miles usually have an annual fee between $70 and $100. Once you’ve blown through the points you get for signing up, you’ll need to spend around $8,000 on the card every year for three years to get another free round-trip ticket. Even if you pay it off each month, in those three years, you’ll have spent at least $210 in annual fees alone—and you can buy your own plane ticket for that amount!
Prepayment penalties on your old debt: Some lenders include prepayment penalties in their terms to ensure you pay a certain amount of interest before paying off your loan. This prepayment penalty is usually a percentage of your remaining balance. Read through the fine print in your loan agreement to determine whether you have to pay a prepayment agreement.

ADVERTISER DISCLOSURE CreditCards.com is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditCards.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and the likelihood of applicants’ credit approval also impact how and where products appear on this site. CreditCards.com does not include the entire universe of available financial or credit offers. CCDC has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover.
Though we have done our best to make this guide as comprehensive as possible, linking to sources where you can learn more, it’s impossible to address everything. If you have questions that you cannot find answers to – on our site or anywhere else – please ask in our free, friendly credit repair forum. And if you do decide to use a credit repair company, make sure it’s a good one.
The goal is to negotiate a payment with your creditors that is lower than your full outstanding balance. Paying less than you originally owed may seem like a great deal—until you consider the consequences to your credit, which could be substantial. Additionally, the forgiven debt may be reported as income to the IRS, which means you may have to pay taxes on it.
As part of our debt relief assistance programs, our counselors will frequently recommend consolidating payments on your debts. Unlike debt restructuring or consolidation where you must take out a new loan to pay your creditors, we simply enable you to make one convenient monthly payment to ACCC instead of making multiple payments to creditors. We then disburse funds to your creditors on your behalf. Most clients in our debt programs find that making one payment per month helps to simplify their finances, reduces the stress of owing money and enables them to stay current with payments more easily.
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