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15 DIY Bathroom Remodeling Projects to Tackle This Winter

If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably got a long list of home improvement projects to tackle. While bringing your home up to date can increase its value, you can’t tackle everything at once. Instead, you’ll want to prioritize whether you’re doing a quick project or a full-on renovation.

Winter is a great time to update your bathroom. For one, it’s an indoor project, so you won’t have to deal with the cold. Plus, renovated bathrooms are well-known for producing a solid return on investment. It can also be cost-effective to start a project in the winter, since prices for materials usually rise in the early spring.

Here are 15 DIY bathroom projects to tackle this season:

Update the lightingAdd a splash of tileWallpaper the roomUpdate the vanityRecycle furniture for a new vanityInstall a towel warmerReplace the mirrorSwap out the hardwareAdd wall storageInstall eco-friendly featuresPaint the wallsImprove your shower spaceAdd window treatmentsReplace your bathroom exhaust fanAdd to your cabinet storage

1. Update the lighting

Changing an outdated light fixture can spruce up your bathroom by making it appear brighter and fresher. A hanging fixture, for instance, can add some much-needed personality, or you can install the fixture above the mirror to reflect light around the room.

This project involves temporarily disconnecting the electricity and working with wiring, so you may want to hire an expert if you’re uncomfortable with this part.

2. Add a splash of tile

Adding tile is a great way to modernize the bathroom without a complete overhaul. It’s also easy to clean, durable, and moisture-resistant — and there are lots of options.

You may decide to re-tile the floor, install tile halfway up the shower walls, or lay a simple backsplash above the sink. White subway tiles are classic, but you can get creative by arranging them in a herringbone or chevron design, or using a hexagon- or honeycomb-shaped tile.

3. Wallpaper the room

Wallpaper can add an upscale look to your powder room, whether you cover the whole thing or only apply it to one accent wall to create a focal point.

Look for “splash-proof” wallpaper, which is designed for high-humidity areas and won’t peel off as easily as regular wallpaper. You can also experiment with bold colors or patterns to create a statement.

Learn More: 18 Home Improvement Projects You Can Wrap Up in a Day

4. Update the vanity

The vanity is a great place to keep your bathroom necessities organized and out of sight, and it’s also a spot where you can add some personality.

Try painting the vanity a bold new color, installing new hardware, or using painted stencils or wallpaper on the door panels. You can also replace the top with a butcher block or granite countertop for a stylish look.

5. Recycle furniture for a new vanity

If you want to swap out the vanity completely, look for upcycled furniture to repurpose. An old dresser, nightstand, or coffee table can easily be transformed into your new bathroom organization system. You can add a fresh coat of paint and new hardware, then cut a hole on the top for a sink.

Tip: Remember to moisture-proof the counter with a few coats of clear polyurethane.

6. Install a towel warmer

If you live in a colder climate, you’ll want to stay extra toasty when getting out of the shower. A wall-mounted towel warmer keeps your towels warm and can give any bathroom a luxurious feel. Towel warmers are easy to install and typically plug into a standard outlet.

7. Replace the mirror

Replacing a frameless, rectangular mirror with a more artful version can spruce up your bathroom easily. These come in different shapes, colors, and patterns to give your bathroom a style all your own.

When exploring your options online or in a store, look for a mirror that fits the space well and comes with a hanger bracket for easy installation. For a cheaper and easier project, you can keep the original mirror and get a kit to add the frame.

8. Swap out the hardware

Sometimes accent features are all you need to make a bathroom feel brand new. Replacing the faucets, towel rack, shower head, light fixtures, and toilet paper holder are easy and budget-friendly projects to tackle in the winter.

You can go for a classic look, like brushed nickel, or use a funky design from an antique store. The point is to create a unified suite to tie the room together.

Check Out: 8 Popular Pandemic Home Renovations to Transform Your Space

9. Add wall storage

If your bathroom is a tight squeeze, you might need to get creative with storage solutions. You can install floating shelves or a wall cabinet above the toilet and add a bar with hooks next to the tub — so your towel is always at the ready. If you can’t hang anything on the walls, try positioning a storage ladder over the toilet and use it to store your bathroom necessities.

10. Install eco-friendly features

Installing energy-efficient features throughout your home may help you save on utility bills while helping the planet at the same time. On top of that, high energy-efficiency ratings can boost your home value by 2.7% on average, according to research by Freddie Mac.

For a simple, DIY project, upgrade to energy-efficient lighting with halogen incandescent, CFL, or LED light bulbs. You can also install insulated windows and an Energy Star-rated toilet to further reduce your carbon footprint — but these are more complex tasks that might require a contractor.

11. Paint the walls

A fresh coat of paint isn’t usually considered a “remodel,” but using the right color may boost your resale value. A warm, neutral color can help the bathroom appear cleaner and brighter. Or, for something different, you can use painted stencils for a flourish along the trim.

12. Improve your shower space

If your shower doesn’t have enough storage for your family’s soaps and shampoos, shower shelves can be a great addition. Corner shelves are popular, or you can install a wire caddy or build a recessed shelf into the wall.

It’s possible to add these features even if your shower is tiled, using water-resistant adhesive or screws and a lightweight material for the shelf.

13. Add window treatments

Installing new blinds can help make the bathroom feel new and even improve energy-efficiency. Closing the blinds to keep heat out in the summer might cut down on cooling costs. And in the cooler months, you can open the blinds to use natural light and keep utility costs down. Curtains also add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral bathroom.

See: 15 Home Improvement Projects to Complete Before You List Your Home

14. Replace your bathroom exhaust fan

Though you may never think about your bathroom’s exhaust fan, it’s an important part of your home’s ventilation system. These remove heat, odors, and moisture from the bathroom — helping to prevent mold and improve your air quality.

Exhaust fans usually last about 10 years. If you’re not sure when it was last replaced, it’s a smart idea to invest in a new one.

15. Add to your cabinet storage

If you’re looking for ways to maximize your storage space, consider adding static or slide-out shelves to your cabinets. You can use baskets to further organize your bathroom necessities and store extras like linens and towels. These shelves come premade at hardware stores, but you might be able to reuse parts from an old dresser or vanity.

When you’re planning out your bathroom update, you may decide to tackle just a few of these projects or put all of them on your to-do list. You’ll need to consider what your bathroom needs, your budget, and how much time you have. The good news is, they’re generally easy to do by yourself or with a partner.

If you’re doing extensive remodeling to your home and need a way to fund all of the projects, you may want to consider a cash-out refinance. With a cash-out refinance, you’ll replace your existing mortgage with a newer, larger mortgage and receive the difference as a lump sum. Credible can help you find a great rate on a cash-out refinance in just a few minutes.

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The post 15 DIY Bathroom Remodeling Projects to Tackle This Winter appeared first on Credible.

Can I get a Personal Loan to Buy Land?

Buying land can sometimes be a great investment — for example, you could purchase land to use for building a home or commercial property. There are also several potential ways to pay for it, such as taking out a personal loan, land loan, or construction loan.

If you’re thinking about getting a personal loan to buy land, here’s what you should know:

Personal loans vs. land loans vs. construction loansTaking out a personal loan to buy landPersonal loan eligibility requirementsLand financing alternatives

Personal loans vs. land loans vs. construction loans

There are a few types of loans that can be used to purchase land, including:

Personal loans: Disbursed as a lump sum that can be used how you wishLand loans: Designed for borrowers who want to purchase land but don’t want to build on it immediatelyConstruction loans: Available to potential homeowners who want to purchase land and immediately build a house on it

Here are several important points to consider as you compare your options:

Personal loansLand loansConstruction loansUseAlmost any personal expenses (some lenders might have limitations)For land purchase without immediate construction plansFor land purchase and immediate constructionInterest rate typeFixedFixedVariableInterest ratesFixed rates:
2.49%+
(with Credible partner lenders)Fixed rates: 4% to 5% APRVariable rates: 5% to 10% APRDown paymentNone20% to 50%
(depending on the lender)10% to 20%
(depending on the lender)Repayment terms1 to 7 years
(depending on the lender)2 to 5 years
(depending on loan type)12 to 18 monthsLoan amounts$600 to $100,000
(depending on the lender)Depends on land value, down payment amount, and lender maximumsNo specific maximum

Personal loans

Personal loans are installment loans that can be used to cover almost any personal expense. You can typically borrow $600 to $100,000 or more and have one to seven years to repay a personal loan, depending on the lender.

Keep in mind: Most personal loans are unsecured, which means you don’t have to worry about collateral. However, because these loans are riskier for lenders, you’ll generally need good to excellent credit to qualify.

If you decide to take out a personal loan to buy land, be sure to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for you. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders in the table below in two minutes.

LenderFixed ratesMin. credit scoreMax. loan amounts

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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9.95% – 35.99% APR550$35,000Fixed APR:
9.95% – 35.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
550Loan amount:
$2,000 to $35,000**Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5*Time to fund:
As soon as the next business day (if approved by 4:30 p.m. CT on a weekday)Fees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except CO, IA, HI, VT, NV NY, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
AvantLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, emergency expense, life event, home improvement, and other purposesMin. Income:
$1,200 monthly

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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6.79% – 17.99% APR700$50,000Fixed APR:
6.79% – 17.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
700Loan amount:
$10,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
3 to 6Time to fund:
Next business dayFees:
No prepayment penaltyDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, self-employment, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
4.99% – 35.99% APR600$35,000Fixed APR:
4.99% – 35.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
600Loan amount:
$2,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as 1 – 3 business days after successful verificationFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all states except DC, IA, VT, and WVCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
Best Egg and Blue Ridge BankMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.99% – 24.99% APR660$35,000Fixed APR:
5.99% – 24.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$2,500 to $35,000Loan terms (years):
3, 4, 5, 6, 7Time to fund:
As soon as the next business day after acceptanceFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
 Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan Uses:
Auto repair, credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home remodel or repair, major purchase, medical expenses, taxes, vacation, and wedding

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
7.99% – 29.99% APRNot disclosed by lender$50,000Fixed APR:
7.99% – 29.99% APRMin. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$10,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as 2 business daysFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoEligibility:
Available in all states except CO, CT, HI, KS, NH, NY, ND, OR, VT, WV, WI, and WYCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding, travel, medical expenses, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
7.04% – 35.89% APR600$40,000Fixed APR:
7.04% – 35.89% APRMin. credit score:
600Loan amount:
$1,000 to $40,000Loan terms (years):
3, 5Time to fund:
Usually takes about 2 daysFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
LendingClub BankMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, paying off credit cards, home improvement, pool loans, vacations, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
9.99% – 35.99% APR580$36,500Fixed APR:
9.99% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
580Loan amount:
$2,000 to $36,500Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4Time to fund:
As soon as the next business dayFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except NV and WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
$20,000Loan Uses:
Home improvement, consolidate debt, credit card refinancing, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.49% – 19.99% APR660$100,000Fixed APR:
2.49% – 19.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$5,000 to $100,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7*Time to fund:
As soon as the same business dayFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except RI and VTCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
NoLoan servicer:
LightStreamMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
6.99% – 19.99% APR1660
(TransUnion FICO®️ Score 9)$40,000Fixed APR:
6.99% – 19.99% APR1Min. credit score:
660
(TransUnion FICO®️ Score 9)Loan amount:
$3,500 to $40,0002Loan terms (years):
3, 4, 5, 6Time to fund:
Many Marcus customers receive funds in as little as three daysFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
Goldman SachsMin. Income:
$30,000Loan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, major purchase, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
18.0% – 35.99% APRNone$20,000Fixed APR:
18.0% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
NoneLoan amount:
$1,500 to $20,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as the same day, but usually requires a visit to a branch officeFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Must have photo I.D. issued by U.S. federal, state or local governmentCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not disclose

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.99% – 17.99% APR660$50,000
(depending on loan term)Fixed APR:
5.99% – 17.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$600 to $50,000*Loan terms (years):
1, 2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
2 to 4 business days after verificationFees:
NoneDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Does not discloseCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
NoMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, transportation, medical, dental, life events

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
6.95% – 35.99% APR640$40,000Fixed APR:
6.95% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
640Loan amount:
$2,000 to $40,000Loan terms (years):
3, 5Time to fund:
As soon as one business dayFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all states except IA, ND, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, vehicles, small business, new baby expenses, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
4.74% – 19.28% APR10Does not disclose$100,000Fixed APR:
4.74% – 19.28% APR10Min. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$5,000 to $100,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7Time to fund:
3 business daysFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except MSCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Solely for personal, family, or household uses

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
8.93% – 35.93% APR7560$50,000Fixed APR:
8.93% – 35.93% APR7Min. credit score:
560Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,000Loan terms:
3 to 5 years 8Time to fund:
Within one day, once approved9Loan types:
Debt consolidation, pay off credit cards, home improvements, unexpected expenses, home and auto repairs, weddings, and other major purchasesFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
A U.S. citizen or permanent resident; not available in DC, SC, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.94% – 35.97% APR560$50,000Fixed APR:
5.94% – 35.97% APRMin. credit score:
560Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,000*Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 5, 6Time to fund:
Within a day of clearing necessary verificationsFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except West VirginiaCustomer service:
EmailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
4.37% – 35.99% APR4580$50,000Fixed APR:
4.37% – 35.99% APR4Min. credit score:
580Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,0005Loan terms (years):
3 to 5 years4Time to fund:
As fast as 1 business day6Fees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
$12,000Loan Uses:
Payoff credit cards, consolidate debt, take a course or bootcamp, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposesCompare rates from these lenders without affecting your credit score. 100% free!

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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | LightStream disclosure | 10SoFi Disclosures | Read more about Rates and Terms

Land loans

Land loans are specifically designed for borrowers who are purchasing land but don’t have immediate plans to build on it. There are three main types of land purchases, each of which has its own kind of land loan. These include:

Raw land: This is land that hasn’t been developed and has no connection to the electrical grid, sewers, or roads. This kind of land can be less expensive, but the loans typically require a higher down payment (often 20% or more) and come with higher interest rates. If you’re interested in a raw land loan, be prepared to provide the lender with extensive documentation of your plans to develop the land.Unimproved land: This kind of land is somewhat more developed than raw land and usually has some amenities and connections to utilities. However, it generally won’t have an electric meter, natural gas meter, or phone box. Because unimproved land loans are less risky to the lender than raw land loans, they tend to have lower interest rates. However, you’ll still likely need to come up with a down payment of 20% or more as well as have a detailed plan for development.Improved land: This type of land is already set up with access to utilities, roads, sewers, and other major amenities, which makes it less of a risk to the lender. But keep in mind that this also makes it more expensive than raw or unimproved land. An improved land loan will typically come with a lower interest rate and require less of a down payment than other types of land loans. On the other hand, rates on these loans are much higher than you’d pay on a traditional mortgage.

Land loans typically come with an initial repayment term of two to five years followed by a balloon payment at the end of the term. There are also some lenders that might offer longer terms if you plan to build a home on the land.

Keep in mind: Because land loans are considered riskier than traditional mortgage loans, they can come with more stringent requirements and higher interest rates.

This means you’ll likely need to have excellent credit, a complete plan for the development of the land, and a substantial down payment.

Learn More: How to Get a Personal Loan

Construction loans

A construction loan is used to purchase land, then fund the construction costs of building a new home or structure. The repayment term for a construction loan usually is only as long as the construction itself — usually 12 to 18 months. After the construction is finished, the loan will convert to a traditional 15- or 30-year mortgage.

Keep in mind: Though construction loans are less risky than land loans, they’re still more expensive than traditional mortgage loans. You’ll generally need good to excellent credit, a 20% down payment, and a detailed plan for the construction, including schedule and budget projections.

Also note that construction loans generally have variable rates, which means your rate could fluctuate according to market conditions.

Check Out: Personal Loan Calculator: See Your Payments On a Loan

Taking out a personal loan to buy land

While using a personal loan to buy land could be a good idea in some cases, it isn’t right for everyone. Here are some pros and cons to consider as you weigh your options:

Benefits of using a personal loan for land purchase

Fixed rates: Personal loans have fixed interest rates, which means your payments will stay the same throughout the life of your loan.Might be less expensive: A personal loan could be less expensive compared to a land or construction loan since you don’t have to worry about a down payment. Fewer requirements: Unlike with land and construction loans, you don’t have to provide a detailed land development plan to take out a personal loan.

Disadvantages of personal loans for land purchase

Fewer options for bad credit: You’ll typically need good to excellent credit to get approved for a personal loan — which means it could be hard to qualify if you have poor or fair credit.Smaller loan amounts: You can generally borrow $600 to $100,000 with a personal loan, which might not be enough to cover your expenses.Higher interest rates: Personal loans can come with higher interest rates compared to other funding options, such as traditional mortgages or home equity loans.

Learn More: Best Personal Loan Companies

Personal loan eligibility requirements

While eligibility criteria for personal loans can vary by lender, there are a few common requirements that you’ll likely come across, including:

Good credit: You’ll generally need good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan — a good credit score is usually considered to be 700 or higher. There are also several lenders that offer personal loans for bad credit, but these loans tend to come with higher interest rates compared to good credit loans.Verifiable income: Some lenders have a minimum income requirement while others don’t. But in either case, you’ll likely need to provide proof of income so the lender can see that you can afford to repay the loan.Low debt-to-income ratio: Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is the amount you owe in monthly debt payments compared to your income. To get a personal loan, your DTI ratio should be no higher than 40% — though some lenders might require lower ratios than this.

Check Out: Personal Loan Requirements

Land financing alternatives

There are also several other potential ways to finance a land purchase. If a personal loan, land loan, or construction loan don’t seem right for you, here are a few alternatives to consider:

Section 523 loans: These U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans can be applied for by nonprofit organizations to buy housing sites for low- and moderate-income families. Houses on these sites must then be constructed by the Self-Help method — meaning families will help build each other’s homes.Section 524 loans: These USDA loans are similar to Section 523 loans but don’t have any restrictions when it comes to construction method.Home equity loan: If you’re a homeowner, you might be able to tap into your home’s equity with a home equity loan. Like personal loans, home equity loans are paid out as a lump sum that you can use how you wish. They also tend to have lower interest rates than personal loans. However, if you can’t keep up with your payments, you risk losing your home. HELOC: A home equity line of credit (HELOC) could be another way for homeowners to utilize the equity in their homes. Unlike a home equity loan, a HELOC is a type of revolving credit that you can repeatedly draw on and pay off — similar to a credit card. Just remember that because your home secures the loan, you risk losing it if you can’t make your payments.

If you decide to take out a personal loan to buy land, remember to shop around and consider as many lenders as you can to find the right loan for your needs. This is easy with Credible: You can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes — without affecting your credit.

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Should You Refinance With the Same Lender?

You have plenty of financial institutions to choose from when refinancing a mortgage. But if you were happy with the place that originally funded your loan, you might be wondering if you should refinance with that same lender.

Before making the decision, you’ll need to understand your own goals and shop around to find the right fit.

Here’s what to consider if you’re looking to refinance with the same mortgage lender:

Can you refinance with the same lender?Advantages of refinancing with the same lenderDisadvantages of refinancing with same lenderHow to negotiate with lender

Can you refinance with the same lender?

Yes, you can refinance your mortgage with the same bank or lender. According to a Black Knight report, 28% of all homeowners who refinanced in the first quarter of 2021 stayed with their current mortgage company.

This could be a good option if your lender:

Offers low interest rates or closing costsGives discounts to returning customersCloses refinance loans quickly and efficiently

Before you go down this path, you’ll need to find out:

Who’s your loan servicer? Your mortgage lender is the institution that funded your home loan, but it might not be the same company that now processes your payments and manages your account. Since your loan servicer might not originate loans, you’ll want to be sure you’re talking with the right company.Do you need to honor a waiting period? Some lenders make borrowers wait at least six months before they’ll refinance a home loan. So if you recently closed on your mortgage and you want to refinance with the same lender, you’ll need to ask if it’s possible.Does your original lender offer what you need? There are many different types of refinance loans, such as rate-and-term refinances and cash-out refinances. Some lenders also offer programs like the FHA streamline and VA streamline refinances. Make sure your original lender can meet your refinancing goals.

dvantages of refinancing with the same lender

Refinancing your mortgage with the same lender has two major benefits: money savings and convenience.

You might save money

Like your original mortgage, there are costs to refinancing a home loan. These closing costs typically range from 2% to 5% of the total loan amount — or about $5,000 on average, according to Freddie Mac.

However, your lender could waive or reduce certain fees if they already have an appraisal report, title information, and a mortgage insurance policy on your property. You could save money on these costs:

Title insurance feeMortgage insurance feeLoan origination feeHome appraisal fee

You might be able to negotiate better terms

Because you have an established relationship with your original lender, the company might take extra steps to keep you as a customer. Your lender might be willing to match a lower interest rate or closing cost quote from a competitor. This is especially true if you have good credit and a record of making on-time mortgage payments.

Also Read: 6 Ways to Negotiate Home Closing Costs

The process might be quicker and more convenient

It could be easier to refinance with the same lender since you already have an established relationship. The company has your information on file, including your payment history and financial details, so it might be able to streamline some of the documents required on a refinance.

Plus, if the bank or credit union you use for your personal finances underwrites your home loan as well, it might be more efficient to keep everything under one roof.

Disadvantages of refinancing with same lender

Sometimes change can be a good thing. Switching your mortgage lender might be a good idea if it can’t close your loan quickly, offers bad customer service, or it isn’t giving you the lowest rate.

They might have capacity issues

According to national property database ATTOM Data Solutions, refinances during the first quarter of 2021 were at the highest levels in more than 14 years. That means financial institutions have been busy churning out a record number of home loans. If your original lender is popular, you might experience closing delays.

As part of the loan shopping process, you’ll need to ask your lender if it has the capacity for another refinance loan and how long it might take. Across the industry, lenders are taking 47 days on average to close refinance loans, per data from ICE Mortgage Technology — but some are able to turn things around more quickly.

You might get better customer service elsewhere

Every mortgage lender provides different services. Some financial institutions have an end-to-end digital process that emphasizes efficiency and savings, while others offer brick-and-mortar branches to provide in-person help. Furthermore, some lenders have higher customer satisfaction ratings.

If you’re not happy with your original lender or current loan servicer, switching lenders could give you a better experience.

You could lose out on money savings

Shopping around with different lenders is the best way to save money on the interest rate and closing costs. Your lender knows the rate you currently pay, and it might offer you slightly lower terms. But when you get rate quotes from multiple lenders, you can use the information to negotiate.

Credible makes comparing different lenders and refinance options easy. In just a few minutes, you can see personalized prequalified rates from all of our partner lenders. Checking rates with us is free and secure, and it won’t have any effect on your credit score.

Find out if refinancing is right for you

Actual rates from multiple lenders – In 3 minutes, get actual prequalified rates without impacting your credit score.Smart technology – We streamline the questions you need to answer and automate the document upload process.End-to-end experience – Complete the entire origination process from rate comparison up to closing, all on Credible.Find My Refi Rate
Checking rates will not affect your credit

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How to negotiate with lender

You can refinance a mortgage with the same lender, but it’s important to negotiate the details so you save money. Follow these steps to get the best deal:

Get rate quotes from multiple lenders. Compare the interest rate you’ll pay along with the closing costs and your monthly loan payment. Credible can help with this.Ask other lenders to offer a better rate. Take the best offer and ask the other lenders to offer a better interest rate or closing costs — or both. Your original lender might be more willing to compete for your business if it knows you’re shopping around.Consider paying discount points. A discount point is a fee you can pay in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you know you’ll be in the home long enough to recoup this cost, it could be worthwhile.Get everything in writing. If a lender offers a better deal, ask it to send it to you in writing.

Keep Reading: What to Expect When You Close on a House

The post Should You Refinance With the Same Lender? appeared first on Credible.

Should I Take Out a Personal Loan to Start a Business?

While the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers SBA loans to new and established small business owners, these loans require the borrower to submit a business plan and often take some time to process — which can mean they’re out of reach for entrepreneurs who need quick access to cash for their ventures.

However, you might be able to get the startup funding you need through a personal loan. Although some lenders prohibit their loans from being used for business expenses, there are others that will let you use the funds to buy inventory, pay for marketing, or cover other business-related costs.

Here’s what you need to know about using a personal loan to start a business:

15 personal loans to start a businessWhat is the difference between an SBA loan and a personal loan?Pros of using a personal loan to start a businessCons of using a personal loan to start a businessApplying for a personal loan for a businessChoosing the right lender

15 personal loans to start a business

If you decide to take out a personal loan for your business, it’s important to consider as many lenders as possible. This way, you can find the right loan for your needs.

This is easy with Credible. You can compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders that offer personal loans for business expenses below in just two minutes.

LenderFixed ratesLoan amountsLoan terms (years)

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
9.95% – 35.99% APR$2,000 to $35,0002, 3, 4, 5*Fixed APR:
9.95% – 35.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
550Loan amount:
$2,000 to $35,000**Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5*Time to fund:
As soon as the next business day (if approved by 4:30 p.m. CT on a weekday)Fees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except CO, IA, HI, VT, NV NY, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
AvantLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, emergency expense, life event, home improvement, and other purposesMin. Income:
$1,200 monthly

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
6.79% – 17.99% APR$10,000 to $50,0003, 4, 5, 6Fixed APR:
6.79% – 17.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
700Loan amount:
$10,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
3 to 6Time to fund:
Next business dayFees:
No prepayment penaltyDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, self-employment, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
4.99% – 35.99% APR$5,000 to $35,0002, 3, 4, 5Fixed APR:
4.99% – 35.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
600Loan amount:
$2,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as 1 – 3 business days after successful verificationFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all states except DC, IA, VT, and WVCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
Best Egg and Blue Ridge BankMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.99% – 24.99% APR$2,500 to $35,0003, 4, 5, 6, 7Fixed APR:
5.99% – 24.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$2,500 to $35,000Loan terms (years):
3, 4, 5, 6, 7Time to fund:
As soon as the next business day after acceptanceFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
 Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan Uses:
Auto repair, credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home remodel or repair, major purchase, medical expenses, taxes, vacation, and wedding

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
7.99% – 29.99% APR$10,000 to $50,0002, 3, 4, 5Fixed APR:
7.99% – 29.99% APRMin. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$10,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as 2 business daysFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoEligibility:
Available in all states except CO, CT, HI, KS, NH, NY, ND, OR, VT, WV, WI, and WYCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding, travel, medical expenses, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
7.04% – 35.89% APR$1,000 to $40,0003, 5Fixed APR:
7.04% – 35.89% APRMin. credit score:
600Loan amount:
$1,000 to $40,000Loan terms (years):
3, 5Time to fund:
Usually takes about 2 daysFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
LendingClub BankMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, paying off credit cards, home improvement, pool loans, vacations, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
9.99% – 35.99% APR$2,000 to $36,5002, 3, 4Fixed APR:
9.99% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
580Loan amount:
$2,000 to $36,500Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4Time to fund:
As soon as the next business dayFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except NV and WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
$20,000Loan Uses:
Home improvement, consolidate debt, credit card refinancing, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.49% – 19.99% APR$5,000 to $100,0002, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
(up to 12 years for home improvement loans)Fixed APR:
2.49% – 19.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$5,000 to $100,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7*Time to fund:
As soon as the same business dayFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except RI and VTCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
NoLoan servicer:
LightStreamMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
6.99% – 19.99% APR1$3,500 to $40,00023, 4, 5, 6, 7Fixed APR:
6.99% – 19.99% APR1Min. credit score:
660
(TransUnion FICO®️ Score 9)Loan amount:
$3,500 to $40,0002Loan terms (years):
3, 4, 5, 6Time to fund:
Many Marcus customers receive funds in as little as three daysFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
Goldman SachsMin. Income:
$30,000Loan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, major purchase, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
18.0% – 35.99% APR$1,500 to $20,0002, 3, 4, 5Fixed APR:
18.0% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
NoneLoan amount:
$1,500 to $20,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as the same day, but usually requires a visit to a branch officeFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Must have photo I.D. issued by U.S. federal, state or local governmentCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not disclose

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.99% – 17.99% APR$600 to $50,000
(depending on loan term)1, 2, 3, 4, 5Fixed APR:
5.99% – 17.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$600 to $50,000*Loan terms (years):
1, 2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
2 to 4 business days after verificationFees:
NoneDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Does not discloseCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
NoMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, transportation, medical, dental, life events

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
6.95% – 35.99% APR$2,000 to $40,0003, 5Fixed APR:
6.95% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
640Loan amount:
$2,000 to $40,000Loan terms (years):
3, 5Time to fund:
As soon as one business dayFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all states except IA, ND, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, vehicles, small business, new baby expenses, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
8.93% – 35.93% APR7$1,000 to $50,0003 to 5 years 8Fixed APR:
8.93% – 35.93% APR7Min. credit score:
560Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,000Loan terms:
3 to 5 years 8Time to fund:
Within one day, once approved9Loan types:
Debt consolidation, pay off credit cards, home improvements, unexpected expenses, home and auto repairs, weddings, and other major purchasesFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
A U.S. citizen or permanent resident; not available in DC, SC, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.94% – 35.97% APR$1,000 to $50,0002, 3, 5, 6Fixed APR:
5.94% – 35.97% APRMin. credit score:
560Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,000*Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 5, 6Time to fund:
Within a day of clearing necessary verificationsFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except West VirginiaCustomer service:
EmailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
4.37% – 35.99% APR4$1,000 to $50,00053 to 5 years4Fixed APR:
4.37% – 35.99% APR4Min. credit score:
580Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,0005Loan terms (years):
3 to 5 years4Time to fund:
As fast as 1 business day6Fees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
$12,000Loan Uses:
Payoff credit cards, consolidate debt, take a course or bootcamp, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposesCompare rates from these lenders without affecting your credit score. 100% free!

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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | LightStream disclosure | 10SoFi Disclosures | Read more about Rates and Terms

What is the difference between an SBA loan and a personal loan?

Personal loans are offered by private lenders — such as online lenders as well as traditional banks and credit unions — and can be used for almost any personal expense, such as covering business costs. With a personal loan, you can typically borrow $600 up to $100,000 or more with repayment terms from one to seven years, depending on the lender.

SBA loans, on the other hand, are partially guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. With these types of loans, the SBA guarantees lenders that it will pay up to 85% of the loan if the borrower defaults. These loans range from $25,000 up to $5 million with repayment terms from five to 25 years (depending on how you use the loan).

If you’re considering an SBA loan vs. a personal loan, here are some important points to keep in mind:

SBA loanPersonal loanFixed rates5% to 8% + prime
(depending on loan amount)
2.49%+
(with Credible partner lenders)
Variable rates2.25% to 4.35% + base rate
(depending on loan amount and term)N/ALoan amount$25,000 to $5 million$600 to $100,000
(depending on the lender)Repayment terms5 to 25 years
(depending on how loan is used)Typically 1 to 7 years
(depending on the lender)RequirementsYour business must: Operate for profitBe engaged in or propose to do business in the U.S. or its territoriesHave reasonable amount of owner equity to invest
(usually $1 for every $3 borrowed)Use alternative funding sources (including personal assets) firstCan vary by lender but typically must have:Good creditVerifiable incomeLow debt-to-income ratioCredit eligibilityPersonal and company credit must show positive payment historiesGenerally have good to excellent creditTime to fund5 to 10 business days for standard loans36 hours for express loansUsually about 1 week
(depending on the lender)

SBA loan requirements

SBA loans also have additional requirements compared to personal loans. To be eligible, your business must:

Operate for profitBe engaged in or propose to do business in the U.S. or its territoriesHave a reasonable amount of owner equity to invest (generally, $1 of your own money to invest for each $3 borrowed)Use alternative financial resources (including personal assets) before seeking financial assistance

These requirements can make it harder to qualify for an SBA loan as a new business owner compared to getting a personal loan — especially since you’ll also need to provide a full business plan to the lender.

Also keep in mind that both your personal and business credit history will be considered for an SBA loan. However, you’ll also have the opportunity to explain any extenuating circumstances that might have affected your credit history to the lender.

Can I get an SBA loan with bad credit?

Possibly. The Small Business Administration doesn’t have a minimum required credit score for its loans. Instead, it’s up to the lenders that offer these loans to determine who to approve. In general, the credit reports for both you and your company should illustrate positive payment histories and demonstrate your ability to manage your obligations.

However, you might still be able to get an SBA loan with bad credit — for example, if you’ve been in business for several years or if there are extenuating circumstances that led to your poor credit score. In these cases, it could still be worth it to apply for an SBA loan even if you have less-than-stellar credit.

Learn More: How to Get a Personal Loan

Can I get a personal loan with bad credit?

You’ll typically need good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan — a good credit score is usually considered to be 700 or higher. There are also several lenders that offer personal loans for bad credit, but these loans tend to come with higher interest rates compared to good credit loans.

If you have bad credit and are struggling to get approved for a personal loan, here are a few options to consider:

Apply with a cosigner. Having a creditworthy cosigner can increase your approval chances and might also get you a better interest rate than you’d get on your own. Just remember that because your cosigner shares responsibility for the loan, they’ll be on the hook if you don’t make your payments.Take out a secured loan. While most personal loans are unsecured, there are also some lenders that provide secured personal loans that require collateral. Because these loans are less risky for the lender, it could be easier to qualify for one even if you have poor credit. However, keep in mind that if you can’t make your payments, you risk losing your collateral.Improve your credit. If you can wait to take out a loan, it could be worth spending some time building your credit so you’ll have an easier time qualifying in the future. There are several potential ways to do this, such as making on-time payments on all of your bills or paying down credit card balances.

Check Out: Personal Loans to Consider When You’re Self-Employed

Pros of using a personal loan to start a business

Taking out a personal loan to start a business can be a good choice in some cases, but it isn’t right for everyone. If you’re considering a personal loan, here are a few potential benefits to keep in mind:

Lower rates: Personal loan interest rates tend to be lower than rates on credit cards.Might be easier to qualify for: Unlike with SBA loans, you don’t have to worry about providing a full business plan or having owner equity to be eligible for a personal loan. Fast funding: You can usually expect to get your funds within one week — though some lenders will fund loans as soon as the same or next business day after approval.

Cons of using a personal loan to start a business

Fewer options for bad credit: You’ll generally need good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan — which means you could have a hard time getting approved if you have poor or fair credit.Smaller loan amounts: Personal loans typically range from $600 to $100,000 — less than the $25,000 to $5 million you could get with an SBA loan. Shorter repayment terms: You’ll generally have one to seven years to repay a personal loan, depending on the lender. SBA loans, on the other, provide terms of 10 to 25 years, depending on how you use the loan. Personal loan prosPersonal loan consLower rates than credit cardsCould be easier to qualify for than an SBA loanFast fundingFewer options for bad creditSmaller loan amountsShorter repayment terms

If you decide to take out a personal loan for your business, be sure to consider your overall loan cost. This way, you can be prepared for any added expenses.

You can estimate how much you’ll pay for a loan using our personal loan calculator below.

Enter your loan information to calculate how much you could pay

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pplying for a personal loan for a business

If you’re ready to apply for a personal loan for your business funding needs, follow these four steps:

Compare lenders. Be sure to shop around and compare as many personal loan lenders as possible to find the right loan for your situation. Consider not only interest rates but also repayment terms, any fees charged by the lender, and whether the lender allows its loans to be used for business purposes. Pick a loan option. After comparing lenders, choose the loan option that best suits your needs.Complete the application. Once you’ve picked a loan option, you’ll need to fill out a full application and submit any required documentation, such as pay stubs or tax returns.Get your funds. If you’re approved, the lender will require you to sign for the loan so the funds can be disbursed to you. The time to fund for a personal loan is usually about one week — though with some lenders, you could get your money as soon as the same or next business day after approval.

Learn More: Where to Get a Personal Loan

Choosing the right lender

As you weigh your options, it’s critical to take the time to compare as many lenders as you can so you can find the best loan for your business needs. Here are several important points to consider as you do your research:

Loan uses: While the majority of lenders allow personal loans to be used for almost any personal expense, some limit the uses of their loans — and others specifically prohibit using their loans for business purposes.Interest rates: Your interest rate is one of the biggest factors that will determine how much you end up paying for your loan over time. Your credit score and the repayment term you choose will also impact the rates you qualify for.Repayment terms: You’ll generally have one to seven years to repay a personal loan, depending on the lender. While picking a longer term could reduce your monthly payments, it’s usually best to choose the shortest term you can afford to keep your interest costs low. Many lenders also provide lower rates to borrowers who opt for shorter terms.Loan amounts: Personal loans typically range from $600 to $100,000 or more, depending on the lender. You’ll need to think about exactly how much you’ll need for your business and which lenders provide large enough loans.Credit requirements: Most lenders require borrowers to have good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan. While some lenders provide bad credit loans, remember that these loans usually have higher interest rates in comparison. If you have bad credit, you might want to consider applying with a cosigner — not all lenders allow cosigners on personal loans, but some do.

If you’re ready to compare your loan options, Credible can help: You can see your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes — without affecting your credit.

Ready to find your personal loan?
Credible makes it easy to find the right loan for you.

Free to use, no hidden feesOne simple form, easy to fill out and your info is protectedMore options, pick the loan option that best fits your personal needsHere for you. Our team is here to help you reach your financial goalsFind My Rate
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How Does Debt Consolidation Work?

Dealing with a large amount of debt can be overwhelming, especially if you have several monthly payments to keep track of. But if you have debt to manage, you’re not alone — as of 2021, U.S. adults carry an average of $25,112 in non-mortgage debt, according to Experian.

The good news is that there are a few strategies that could help you pay off your debt more easily. One option to consider is consolidating your debt, which will leave you with a single loan and more manageable payment.

If you’re wondering how debt consolidation works, here’s what you should know:

How does debt consolidation work?How to qualify for a debt consolidation loanCommon ways to consolidate debtHow debt consolidation affects credit scoresWhen debt consolidation makes senseWhen debt consolidation doesn’t make sense

How does debt consolidation work?

Debt consolidation is the process of taking out a personal loan to pay off your old debts, leaving you with just one loan and payment to keep track of. Depending on your credit, you might get a lower interest rate on this new loan than what you’re currently paying — which could save you money on interest and even potentially help you pay off your debt faster.

Or you could opt to extend your repayment term to reduce your payments and lessen the strain on your budget — though keep in mind that this also means you’ll pay more in interest over time.

How to qualify for a debt consolidation loan

While eligibility criteria for a debt consolidation loan can vary by lender, there are a few common requirements you’ll likely come across, including:

Good credit: You’ll typically need good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan for debt consolidation — a good credit score is usually considered to be 700 or higher. There are also several lenders that offer debt consolidation loans for bad credit, but these loans tend to come with higher interest rates compared to good credit loans.Verifiable income: Some lenders have a minimum income requirement while others don’t — but in either case, you’ll likely need to show proof of income.Low debt-to-income ratio: Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is the amount you owe in monthly debt payments compared to your income. You’ll generally need a DTI ratio no higher than 40% to get approved for a personal loan — though some lenders might require lower ratios than this.Tip: If you’re struggling to get approved for a personal loan, consider applying with a creditworthy cosigner to improve your chances. Not all lenders allow cosigners on personal loans, but some do.

Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify, having one could get you a lower interest rate than you’d get on your own.

If you decide to take out a personal loan to consolidate debt, be sure to shop around and compare as many lenders as possible. This way, you can find the right loan for your needs.

Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders in the table below in two minutes.

LenderFixed ratesLoan amountsMin. credit scoreLoan terms (years)Cosigners allowed?

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Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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9.95% – 35.99% APR$2,000 to $35,0005502, 3, 4, 5*NoFixed APR:
9.95% – 35.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
550Loan amount:
$2,000 to $35,000**Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5*Time to fund:
As soon as the next business day (if approved by 4:30 p.m. CT on a weekday)Fees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except CO, IA, HI, VT, NV NY, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
AvantLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, emergency expense, life event, home improvement, and other purposesMin. Income:
$1,200 monthly

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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6.79% – 17.99% APR$10,000 to $50,0007003, 4, 5, 6NoFixed APR:
6.79% – 17.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
700Loan amount:
$10,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
3 to 6Time to fund:
Next business dayFees:
No prepayment penaltyDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, self-employment, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
4.99% – 35.99% APR$5,000 to $35,0006003, 5NoFixed APR:
4.99% – 35.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
600Loan amount:
$2,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as 1 – 3 business days after successful verificationFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all states except DC, IA, VT, and WVCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
Best Egg and Blue Ridge BankMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.99% – 24.99% APR$2,500 to $35,0006603, 4, 5, 6, 7NoFixed APR:
5.99% – 24.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$2,500 to $35,000Loan terms (years):
3, 4, 5, 6, 7Time to fund:
As soon as the next business day after acceptanceFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
 Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan Uses:
Auto repair, credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home remodel or repair, major purchase, medical expenses, taxes, vacation, and wedding

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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7.99% – 29.99% APR$10,000 to $50,000Not disclosed by lender2, 3, 4, 5YesFixed APR:
7.99% – 29.99% APRMin. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$10,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as 2 business daysFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoEligibility:
Available in all states except CO, CT, HI, KS, NH, NY, ND, OR, VT, WV, WI, and WYCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding, travel, medical expenses, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
7.04% – 35.89% APR$1,000 to $40,0006003, 5YesFixed APR:
7.04% – 35.89% APRMin. credit score:
600Loan amount:
$1,000 to $40,000Loan terms (years):
3, 5Time to fund:
Usually takes about 2 daysFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
LendingClub BankMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, paying off credit cards, home improvement, pool loans, vacations, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
9.99% – 35.99% APR$2,000 to $36,5005802, 3, 4NoFixed APR:
9.99% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
580Loan amount:
$2,000 to $36,500Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4Time to fund:
As soon as the next business dayFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except NV and WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
$20,000Loan Uses:
Home improvement, consolidate debt, credit card refinancing, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.49% – 19.99% APR$5,000 to $100,0006602, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
(up to 12 years for home improvement loans)YesFixed APR:
2.49% – 19.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$5,000 to $100,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7*Time to fund:
As soon as the same business dayFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except RI and VTCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
NoLoan servicer:
LightStreamMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
6.99% – 19.99% APR1$3,500 to $40,0002660
(TransUnion FICO®️ Score 9)3, 4, 5, 6, 7NoFixed APR:
6.99% – 19.99% APR1Min. credit score:
660
(TransUnion FICO®️ Score 9)Loan amount:
$3,500 to $40,0002Loan terms (years):
3, 4, 5, 6Time to fund:
Many Marcus customers receive funds in as little as three daysFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
Goldman SachsMin. Income:
$30,000Loan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, major purchase, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
18.0% – 35.99% APR$1,500 to $20,000None2, 3, 4, 5YesFixed APR:
18.0% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
NoneLoan amount:
$1,500 to $20,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as the same day, but usually requires a visit to a branch officeFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Must have photo I.D. issued by U.S. federal, state or local governmentCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not disclose

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.99% – 17.99% APR$600 to $50,000
(depending on loan term)6601, 2, 3, 4, 5NoFixed APR:
5.99% – 17.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$600 to $50,000*Loan terms (years):
1, 2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
2 to 4 business days after verificationFees:
NoneDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Does not discloseCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
NoMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, transportation, medical, dental, life events

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
6.95% – 35.99% APR$2,000 to $40,0006403, 5NoFixed APR:
6.95% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
640Loan amount:
$2,000 to $40,000Loan terms (years):
3, 5Time to fund:
As soon as one business dayFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all states except IA, ND, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, vehicles, small business, new baby expenses, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
4.74% – 19.28% APR10$5,000 to $100,000Does not disclose2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7YesFixed APR:
4.74% – 19.28% APR10Min. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$5,000 to $100,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7Time to fund:
3 business daysFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except MSCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Solely for personal, family, or household uses

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
8.93% – 35.93% APR7$1,000 to $50,0005603 to 5 years 8NoFixed APR:
8.93% – 35.93% APR7Min. credit score:
560Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,000Loan terms:
3 to 5 years 8Time to fund:
Within one day, once approved9Loan types:
Debt consolidation, pay off credit cards, home improvements, unexpected expenses, home and auto repairs, weddings, and other major purchasesFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
A U.S. citizen or permanent resident; not available in DC, SC, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.94% – 35.97% APR$1,000 to $50,0005602, 3, 5, 6NoFixed APR:
5.94% – 35.97% APRMin. credit score:
560Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,000*Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 5, 6Time to fund:
Within a day of clearing necessary verificationsFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except West VirginiaCustomer service:
EmailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
4.37% – 35.99% APR4$1,000 to $50,00055803 to 5 years4NoFixed APR:
4.37% – 35.99% APR4Min. credit score:
580Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,0005Loan terms (years):
3 to 5 years4Time to fund:
As fast as 1 business day6Fees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
$12,000Loan Uses:
Payoff credit cards, consolidate debt, take a course or bootcamp, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposesCompare rates from these lenders without affecting your credit score. 100% free!

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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | LightStream disclosure | 10SoFi Disclosures | Read more about Rates and Terms

Common ways to consolidate debt

There are several kinds of loans that can be used to consolidate debt. Keep in mind that the right choice for you will depend on your unique situation as well as your financial goals.

Personal loan

A personal loan is a type of installment loan that’s taken out as a lump sum and paid back in equal installments over time. With a personal loan, you can typically borrow anywhere from $600 to $100,000 with repayment terms from one to seven years, depending on the lender.

Pros

Fixed payments: Personal loans typically come with fixed interest rates, which means your payments will stay the same throughout the life of your loan.Could lower your interest rate: Depending on your credit, you might qualify for a lower interest rate on a personal loan than what you’re currently paying. Personal loans also tend to have lower interest rates compared to other options like credit cards.Might reduce your payments: If you opt to extend your repayment term, you could get a lower, more affordable monthly payment. Just remember that choosing a longer term means you’ll pay more in interest over time, though.

Cons

Fewer options for bad credit: You’ll generally need good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan. This means you could have a hard time getting approved if you have poor or fair credit.Might come with fees: Some personal loan lenders charge fees, such as origination fees or late fees. These can increase your overall loan cost. Keep in mind that if you take out a loan with one of Credible’s partner lenders, you won’t have to worry about prepayment penalties.No rewards or perks: Unlike options like credit cards, personal loans don’t provide any rewards or perks.

Learn More: Debt Consolidation vs. Personal Loan: What Is the Difference?

Balance transfer card

Another option for consolidating debt is with a balance transfer card. This is a type of credit card that you use to transfer your balance from one card to another.

Keep in mind that how much you’ll actually be able to consolidate with a balance transfer card will depend on your card issuer and the limit you’re given.

Pros

0% APR: Some balance transfer cards come with a 0% APR introductory period, which means you could avoid paying interest if you repay your balance before this period ends. However, if you can’t pay off the card in time you could get stuck with some hefty interest charges. Might come with rewards or perks: Depending on the card you choose, you might have access to rewards or perks, such as cash back or travel points.Can help you establish credit: By consistently making on-time payments on your card, you could see an improvement in your credit over time.

Cons

Fees: You’ll usually have to pay a balance transfer fee, which is typically 3% to 5% of the amount you want to transfer.Higher interest rates: Following a 0% APR period, the rates on balance transfer cards can be higher compared to other options like personal loans.Could lead to more debt: While a balance transfer card can be used for debt consolidation, it’s still another credit card. For some people, it could be tempting to use your new card to rack up more debt.

Check Out: Credit Card Consolidation Loans

401(k) loan

If you have money stashed away in a 401(k), you could consider borrowing from it to consolidate your debt. With a 401(k) loan, you can generally borrow up to 50% of your vested account balance or $50,000, whichever is less.

As long as you pay this money back according to the loan terms, you can avoid having the 10% penalty that typically comes with early retirement account withdrawals. You’ll typically have up to five years to repay a 401(k) loan.

Pros

No credit check: Unlike most other loans, 401(k) loans don’t require a credit check.Doesn’t affect your credit: A 401(k) loan won’t be reported to the credit bureaus, which means it won’t impact your credit score.Lower interest rates: Depending on your credit, the interest rate on a 401(k) loan could be lower than what you’d get on a personal loan. Additionally, the interest you pay will be added to your 401(k) — meaning you could end up with a higher retirement savings balance than what you started with.

Cons

Loss of investment gains: By taking money out of your 401(k) account, you’ll be missing out on the overall investment gains you would have had. Also keep in mind that because interest rates on 401(k) accounts tend to be low, you might not pay enough back in interest to make up for the lost gains.Limited loan amounts: You can only borrow up to 50% of your vested balance or $50,000, whichever is less. If you have a large amount of debt to consolidate, this might not be enough.Employment requirements: You must remain employed with the employer that sponsors your 401(k) until your loan is paid back — meaning you could end up stuck in your job. And if you’re laid off before repaying the loan, you’ll have to pay the entire loan back the following year or end up facing taxes and penalties.

Learn More: Debt Consolidation vs. Bankruptcy: How to Choose

lternative option: Debt management plan

Unlike other options, participating in a debt management plan doesn’t pay off your debts with a new loan. Instead, you’ll work with a nonprofit debt counseling agency — such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling — to set up a payment plan with your creditors.

Once this plan is in place, you’ll make monthly payments to the agency, which will send the funds directly to your creditors. This will continue until your debts are paid off — typically within five years or less.

Pros

Waived finance charges or fees: Some creditors might be willing to waive finance charges or fees as well as potentially lower your monthly payments if you sign up for a debt management plan. Could help your credit: If you make all of your payments on time and successfully pay off your debts, you could see an improvement in your credit. Less contact with creditors: Your credit counselor will negotiate with your creditors on your behalf. Additionally, if any of your accounts have been sent to collections, signing up for a debt management plan should get the collection agencies to stop calling — however, this could take up to several months while the paperwork is processed.

Cons

Could come with fees: Depending on the agency you work with, you might have to pay fees for a debt management plan. These typically include an initial setup fee as well as monthly fees. Might not include all of your debts: Some loans generally aren’t eligible for debt management plans, such as secured debts and certain unsecured debts like student loans.Loss of credit cards: You’ll typically have to close any credit cards included in a debt management plan, meaning you’ll have less access to credit.

How debt consolidation affects credit scores

If you apply for a new loan to consolidate your debt, the lender will perform a credit check to determine your creditworthiness. This could cause a slight drop in your credit score — though this is usually only temporary and your score will likely bounce back within a few months.

Additionally, debt consolidation could actually end up helping your credit. For example, if you make on-time payments on your new loan, you see an improvement in your credit score over time. Ultimately, the positive effects of a debt consolidation loan on your credit could far outweigh any initially negative impact.

Check Out: How Debt Consolidation Loans Can Help Your Credit Score

When debt consolidation makes sense

While consolidating your debt might be a good idea in some cases, it isn’t the right move for everyone. Here are a few instances where taking out a debt consolidation loan could make sense:

You want to reduce the number of monthly payments you have

Managing multiple payments with their own due dates can be difficult. By consolidating your debt, you’ll have just one monthly payment to worry about.

You have a decent credit score that might qualify for a low interest rate

If you have good to excellent credit, you might qualify for a lower interest rate than what you’re currently paying. This could save you money on interest as well as potentially help you pay off your debt faster.

You’re focused on controlling your spending

It can be easy to get in the habit of swiping your credit cards without thinking while continuing to make only the minimum required payments.

If you want to take control of your debt, a debt consolidation loan could help — but you’ll also need to build and commit to better spending habits so you won’t end up in the same situation again.

When debt consolidation doesn’t make sense

And here are some scenarios where debt consolidation might not be the best idea:

You have a small amount of debt that can be repaid quickly

If you can quickly pay off your debts, going through the trouble of consolidating them likely won’t be worth it, especially if it comes with fees. Instead, it’s probably a better idea to simply focus on repaying your debt as soon as you can.

Your credit score may prevent you from qualifying for a lower interest rate

You’ll generally need good to excellent credit not only to be eligible for a debt consolidation loan but also to qualify for a favorable interest rate. If you have poor or fair credit, you might have a hard time securing a decent rate — or even getting approved for a loan at all.

You’re not ready to change your spending habits

For debt consolidation to be worthwhile, you have to avoid racking up more debt. If you’re unable to give up your old spending habits, then it’s probably better to wait on consolidation.

If you decide to take out a personal loan to consolidate debt, remember to consider as many lenders as you can to find the right loan for you. This is easy with Credible: You can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes — without affecting your credit.

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Home Equity Loan to Pay Off Credit Cards

Using a home equity loan to pay off credit card debt can be a smart move, but it’s not without risk. Since credit card debt usually has a much higher interest rate than mortgage debt, you could save money and get out of debt faster with this strategy.

The big risk is that if you can’t repay the home equity loan, you could lose your home. Not repaying your credit card debt can also have serious consequences, but you’re less likely to lose your home.

Here’s what you need to know about paying off your credit card debt with a home equity loan:

How to use a home equity loan to pay off credit card debtHome equity loan limitsBenefits of using a home equity loan to pay off credit card debtDrawbacks to using a home equity loan to pay off credit card debtHow to pay off credit card debt without a home equity loan>How to pay off credit card debt without a loanIs a home equity loan to pay off credit cards right for you?

How to use a home equity loan to pay off credit card debt

To pay off credit card debt with a home equity loan, you’ll first need to qualify for a home equity loan. Home equity is the part of your home’s value that you don’t owe to the bank. For example, if your home is worth $350,000 and you owe $250,000 on your first mortgage, your equity is $100,000, or about 28.5%.

A home equity loan, also called a second mortgage, will let you access a portion of that $100,000 as a lump sum. You can use the money however you want and take up to 30 years to repay it.

The long repayment period and fixed, lower interest rate can immediately reduce your financial stress. And if you avoid taking on new credit card debt, your home equity loan can help you make steady progress toward getting out of debt for good.

Home equity loan limits

On average, the most you can usually borrow between your first and second mortgages is 80% of your home’s value. This percentage is called your combined loan to value ratio, or CLTV.

Some lenders have stricter loan requirements and limit borrowing to 70% of your CLTV, while others have looser requirements and may let you borrow up to 90%. Your financial profile will also affect how much you can borrow.

Here’s how to calculate your home equity:

Home value - Mortgage principal balance = Home equity

So, let’s assume again that your home value is $350,000, your mortgage principal balance is $250,000, and your home equity is $100,000. With a $250,000 mortgage balance, you’re already borrowing against 71.5% of your home’s value. The strictest lenders that limit CLTV to 70% wouldn’t approve your home equity loan application.

Others might let you take out a home equity loan (or a home equity line of credit) for anywhere from $30,000 (80% CLTV) to $65,000 (90% CLTV).

Tip: Lenders want you to keep some equity because when your own money is at stake, you’ll do more to avoid foreclosure. It assures them that you’re committed to keeping your home and they won’t lose money on your loan.

Along with having enough equity, you’ll also need to meet these qualifications:

A credit score of at least 620Verifiable incomeA debt-to-income ratio of 43% or less

Benefits of using a home equity loan to pay off credit card debt

Using a home equity loan to pay off credit card debt can have several benefits:

They offer lower interest rates than credit cards. The typical credit card interest rate for someone carrying a balance is approximately 17%, according to the Federal Reserve. But home equity loan interest rates can run as low as 3% for highly qualified borrowers.They have a long repayment period. A home equity loan’s term can be as long as 30 years.You’ll enjoy lower monthly payments. A lower interest rate plus more time to repay your loan can improve your cash flow.You can borrow more money. Depending on how much home equity you have, you may be able to borrow more with a home equity loan than with other options, like a personal loan.They have fixed rates. The unpredictability of a variable APR on a credit card can make it harder to pay off debt. A home equity loan will lock in your interest rate for the entire repayment period.

You can also pay off other debts with a home equity loan.

Drawbacks to using a home equity loan to pay off credit card debt

Using a home equity loan to pay off credit card debt can also have drawbacks:

It won’t save you from bad habits. If you haven’t learned new money management skills to replace the habits that got you into debt, using a home equity loan to pay it off will only be a temporary fix. (Of course, bad habits aren’t the only reason people get into credit card debt: illness, unemployment, and emergencies can also be the cause.)Your home will serve as collateral. A home equity loan is secured by your house, so if you default on the loan, there’s a chance it can be foreclosed on. Credit cards don’t have collateral. That said, if you default on your credit card bills, a debt collector could obtain a judgment against you and force the sale of your home, depending on your state’s laws and how much equity you have.It might be harder to sell. The more you owe on your home, the greater your risk of owing more than your home is worth if the market declines. This situation is called being underwater. If you’re underwater and want to sell your home, you’ll have to tap into your savings to pay off your mortgage.You might pay more interest in the long run. Despite getting a substantially lower interest rate on a home equity loan, if you take a lot longer to pay it off than you would have taken to pay off your credit card, you might not achieve the savings you expected.You might pay closing costs. Any closing costs you have to pay will reduce your savings from refinancing your credit card debt. Some lenders don’t charge closing costs on home equity loans, but they might bundle these costs into a higher interest rate.

Learn More: Refinancing a Home Equity Loan: What You Need to Know

How to pay off credit card debt without a home equity loan

Before you take out a home equity loan to pay off your credit card debt, research these alternatives so you can choose the best option for your situation:

Personal loan: A personal loan allows you to borrow money based on your income and credit score. A personal loan is usually unsecured debt, which doesn’t directly put your assets at risk.Debt consolidation loan: A debt consolidation loan is just a personal loan that’s marketed as a way to pay off multiple debts.Balance transfer credit card: Many credit cards offer a low introductory interest rate on balance transfers. If you have excellent credit, the rate can be as low as 0%. However, you’ll also pay a balance transfer fee of the amount transferred, usually 3%. If you miss any payments or don’t pay off your balance before the introductory rate expires, this strategy can become costly.Cash-out refinance: A cash-out refinance replaces your first mortgage with a new, larger mortgage and deposits the difference in your bank account. This loan may be a good choice if interest rates have dropped since you took out your mortgage. However, you’ll have to balance the potential savings against the closing costs of a cash-out refinance and the risk of using your home as collateral. 401(k) loan: If your plan allows it, you may be able to borrow against your 401(k) to pay off credit card debt. You’ll repay the loan to your own account with interest. But you might have to pay early withdrawal penalties if you don’t repay the loan, and you risk falling behind on saving for retirement. Credit counselor: A credit counselor can offer personalized guidance and accountability to help you pay off your balances. Just be sure they are reputable — there are plenty of debt relief and credit repair scams that consumers regularly fall prey to.

Credible makes refinancing easy. You can see personalized, prequalified rates from our partner lenders in just a few minutes. We also provide transparency into lender fees that other comparison sites typically don’t.

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How to pay off credit card debt without a loan

You also have options for paying off your credit card debt without taking out a loan of any kind:

Trim unnecessary spending. If paying off credit card debt is a priority, you’ll have to deprioritize something else. Cut any unnecessary expenses from your budget, like streaming subscriptions or cable. Rent out part of your home. A drastic move that slashes a large expense — like renting out your basement or another room in your home — might also be an option if you’ve already slashed your discretionary spending.Seek a raise. The best raises often come from changing employers and negotiating a better salary and benefits package. If you’re up for it, this path could get you out of debt faster or with fewer spending cuts.Create a spending plan. Before you get your next paycheck, allocate every dollar to a specific purpose. Try a debt repayment strategy. If you have more than one credit card to pay off, strategies such as the snowball method or avalanche method could help you build momentum toward getting out of debt.Pay more than the minimum. Maybe you can only pay $5 over the minimum, or maybe you can pay double. Just keep moving forward and don’t add new charges to your card.Automate your payments. If your cash flow is consistent, automated payments can help you avoid late fees and penalty rates. If you don’t have automatic payments turned on or prefer not to have them, set up multiple calendar reminders.

Check Out: Should You Refinance Your Mortgage to Pay Off Debt?

Is a home equity loan to pay off credit cards right for you?

If you’re not confident you’ll be able to repay your home equity loan, or if you think you might sell your home soon, you could end up worse off by tying more debt to your home. It may be worth giving the no-loan strategies above a chance before going the home equity loan route.

If the circumstances that created your credit card debt are behind you and your income will easily support your home equity loan payments, getting the loan could save you money and strengthen your finances — and provide you with peace of mind.

Keep Reading: Home Equity Loan vs. Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

The post Home Equity Loan to Pay Off Credit Cards appeared first on Credible.

Are Christmas Loans Worth It? Pros and Cons of Taking Out a Loan this Holiday Season

Paying for Christmas gifts and other holiday-related costs such as food or travel can be expensive, especially if you have lost your job or are working fewer hours. In fact, 11.5% of Americans say they won’t be spending any money on holiday expenses in 2021, according to a survey by Deloitte.

If you need help covering holiday expenses, taking out a Christmas loan might be a good option.

Here’s what you should know about Christmas loans:

What is a Christmas loan?How to qualify for a holiday loanPros of getting a Christmas loanCons of getting a Christmas loanWatch out for predatory loansTips for a debt-free holiday season

What is a Christmas loan?

You might see some lenders advertise special “Christmas loans” — but these are usually just personal loans that can be used for holiday expenses. Here are several important points to keep in mind if you’re considering a personal loan for Christmas:

Interest rates: The rate you get on a personal loan will depend on the lender as well as other factors, such as your credit score and the repayment term you choose. Average personal loan interest rates generally range from 4.99% to 36%. Repayment terms: You’ll typically have one to seven years to repay a personal loan, depending on the lender. While longer terms can provide lower monthly payments, it’s usually a good idea to choose the shortest term you can afford to keep your interest costs as low as possible. Many lenders also offer lower rates to borrowers who opt for shorter terms.Fees: Some lenders charge fees on personal loans, such as origination or late fees. These can increase your overall loan cost. Keep in mind that if you take out a loan with one of Credible’s partner lenders, you won’t have to worry about prepayment penalties.Time to fund: If you’re approved for a personal loan, you can generally expect to get your fund in about one week, depending on the lender. There are also some lenders that will fund loans as soon as the same or next business day after approval — which could be helpful if you need the money quickly for Christmas.

If you decide to take out a Christmas loan, it’s important to shop around and consider as many lenders as possible. This way, you can find the right loan for your needs.

Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders in the table below in just two minutes.

LenderFixed ratesLoan amountsMin. credit scoreLoan terms (years)

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
9.95% – 35.99% APR$2,000 to $35,0005502, 3, 4, 5*Fixed APR:
9.95% – 35.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
550Loan amount:
$2,000 to $35,000**Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5*Time to fund:
As soon as the next business day (if approved by 4:30 p.m. CT on a weekday)Fees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except CO, IA, HI, VT, NV NY, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
AvantLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, emergency expense, life event, home improvement, and other purposesMin. Income:
$1,200 monthly

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
6.79% – 17.99% APR$10,000 to $50,0007003, 4, 5, 6Fixed APR:
6.79% – 17.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
700Loan amount:
$10,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
3 to 6Time to fund:
Next business dayFees:
No prepayment penaltyDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, self-employment, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
4.99% – 35.99% APR$5,000 to $35,0006002, 3, 4, 5Fixed APR:
4.99% – 35.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
600Loan amount:
$2,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as 1 – 3 business days after successful verificationFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all states except DC, IA, VT, and WVCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
Best Egg and Blue Ridge BankMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.99% – 24.99% APR$2,500 to $35,0006603, 4, 5, 6, 7Fixed APR:
5.99% – 24.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$2,500 to $35,000Loan terms (years):
3, 4, 5, 6, 7Time to fund:
As soon as the next business day after acceptanceFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
 Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan Uses:
Auto repair, credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home remodel or repair, major purchase, medical expenses, taxes, vacation, and wedding

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
7.99% – 29.99% APR$10,000 to $50,000Not disclosed by lender2, 3, 4, 5Fixed APR:
7.99% – 29.99% APRMin. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$10,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as 2 business daysFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoEligibility:
Available in all states except CO, CT, HI, KS, NH, NY, ND, OR, VT, WV, WI, and WYCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding, travel, medical expenses, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
7.04% – 35.89% APR$1,000 to $40,0006003, 5Fixed APR:
7.04% – 35.89% APRMin. credit score:
600Loan amount:
$1,000 to $40,000Loan terms (years):
3, 5Time to fund:
Usually takes about 2 daysFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
LendingClub BankMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, paying off credit cards, home improvement, pool loans, vacations, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
9.99% – 35.99% APR$2,000 to $36,5005802, 3, 4Fixed APR:
9.99% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
580Loan amount:
$2,000 to $36,500Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4Time to fund:
As soon as the next business dayFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except NV and WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
$20,000Loan Uses:
Home improvement, consolidate debt, credit card refinancing, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.49% – 19.99% APR$5,000 to $100,0006602, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
(up to 12 years for home improvement loans)Fixed APR:
2.49% – 19.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$5,000 to $100,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7*Time to fund:
As soon as the same business dayFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except RI and VTCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
NoLoan servicer:
LightStreamMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
6.99% – 19.99% APR1$3,500 to $40,0002660
(TransUnion FICO®️ Score 9)3, 4, 5, 6, 7Fixed APR:
6.99% – 19.99% APR1Min. credit score:
660
(TransUnion FICO®️ Score 9)Loan amount:
$3,500 to $40,0002Loan terms (years):
3, 4, 5, 6Time to fund:
Many Marcus customers receive funds in as little as three daysFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
Goldman SachsMin. Income:
$30,000Loan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, major purchase, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
18.0% – 35.99% APR$1,500 to $20,000None2, 3, 4, 5Fixed APR:
18.0% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
NoneLoan amount:
$1,500 to $20,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as the same day, but usually requires a visit to a branch officeFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Must have photo I.D. issued by U.S. federal, state or local governmentCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not disclose

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.99% – 17.99% APR$600 to $50,000
(depending on loan term)6601, 2, 3, 4, 5Fixed APR:
5.99% – 17.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$600 to $50,000*Loan terms (years):
1, 2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
2 to 4 business days after verificationFees:
NoneDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Does not discloseCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
NoMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, transportation, medical, dental, life events

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
6.95% – 35.99% APR$2,000 to $40,0006403, 5Fixed APR:
6.95% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
640Loan amount:
$2,000 to $40,000Loan terms (years):
3, 5Time to fund:
As soon as one business dayFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all states except IA, ND, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, vehicles, small business, new baby expenses, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
4.74% – 19.28% APR10$5,000 to $100,000Does not disclose2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7Fixed APR:
4.74% – 19.28% APR10Min. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$5,000 to $100,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7Time to fund:
3 business daysFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except MSCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Solely for personal, family, or household uses

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
8.93% – 35.93% APR7$1,000 to $50,0005603 to 5 years 8Fixed APR:
8.93% – 35.93% APR7Min. credit score:
560Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,000Loan terms:
3 to 5 years 8Time to fund:
Within one day, once approved9Loan types:
Debt consolidation, pay off credit cards, home improvements, unexpected expenses, home and auto repairs, weddings, and other major purchasesFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
A U.S. citizen or permanent resident; not available in DC, SC, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.94% – 35.97% APR$1,000 to $50,0005602, 3, 5, 6Fixed APR:
5.94% – 35.97% APRMin. credit score:
560Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,000*Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 5, 6Time to fund:
Within a day of clearing necessary verificationsFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except West VirginiaCustomer service:
EmailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
4.37% – 35.99% APR4$1,000 to $50,00055803 to 5 years4Fixed APR:
4.37% – 35.99% APR4Min. credit score:
580Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,0005Loan terms (years):
3 to 5 years4Time to fund:
As fast as 1 business day6Fees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
$12,000Loan Uses:
Payoff credit cards, consolidate debt, take a course or bootcamp, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposesCompare rates from these lenders without affecting your credit score. 100% free!

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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | LightStream disclosure | 10SoFi Disclosures | Read more about Rates and Terms

Christmas loans for bad credit

You’ll generally need good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan — a good credit score is usually considered to be 700 or higher. There are also several lenders that offer personal loans for bad credit, but these loans usually come with higher interest rates compared to good credit loans.

If you’re struggling to get approved for a Christmas loan, here are a couple of options to consider:

Take out a secured personal loan. While most personal loans are unsecured, some lenders offer secured personal loans that require collateral. Because these loans are less risky for the lender, you might have an easier time qualifying if you have poor or fair credit.Apply with a cosigner. You might also consider applying with a creditworthy cosigner, which could improve your approval odds. Not all lenders allow cosigners on personal loans, but some do. Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify, having one could get you a lower interest rate than you’d get on your own. Tip: It could also be a good idea to work on building your credit so you’ll have an easier time qualifying for loans in the future. There are several potential ways to do this, such as making on-time payments on all of your bills and paying down credit card balances.

Learn More: Getting a Loan with No Credit: 5 Loans for New Borrowers

How to qualify for a holiday loan

While eligibility criteria for a personal loan can vary by lender, there are a few common requirements you’ll likely come across, including:

Good credit: You’ll generally need good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan. If you have poor or fair credit, having a creditworthy cosigner could improve your chances of approval.Verifiable income: Some personal loan lenders have a minimum income requirement while others don’t — but in either case, you’ll likely need to provide proof of income to show that you can repay the loan.Low debt-to-income ratio: Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is the amount you owe in monthly debt payments compared to your income. To get approved for a personal loan, your DTI ratio shouldn’t be higher than 40% — though some lenders might require a lower ratio than this.

Check Out: Credit Card Consolidation Loans

Pros of getting a Christmas loan

Christmas loans offer a few potential benefits, including:

Lower interest rates: Personal loan interest rates tend to be lower than credit card rates.Fixed payments: Personal loans typically come with fixed interest rates, which means your payments will stay the same throughout the life of your loan.Fast funding: The time to fund for a personal loan is usually about one week — though with some lenders, you might get your money as soon as the same or next business day after approval.

Cons of getting a Christmas loan

There are also some possible downsides of Christmas loans to keep in mind, such as:

Fewer options for bad credit: If you have poor or fair credit, it could be harder to get approved for a personal loan.Increased debt: Getting a personal loan means you’ll have another payment to manage on top of any other debts you might already have. If you’re already stretched financially thin, taking on another loan might not be a good idea.No rewards or perks: Unlike many credit cards, personal loans don’t offer any rewards or perks.

If you decide to get a personal loan, remember to consider as many lenders as you can to find the right loan for your situation. This is easy with Credible: You can compare your prequalified rates in two minutes — without affecting your credit.

Ready to find your personal loan?
Credible makes it easy to find the right loan for you.

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Watch out for predatory loans

If you need a small, short-term personal loan for Christmas, it’s critical to make sure you’re working with a vetted lender that provides reasonable rates and terms. This is especially true if you have poor or fair credit since predatory lenders and scammers often target borrowers with bad credit who are desperate for a loan.

Here are a few types of loans to watch out for:

Payday loans: While these short-term loans generally don’t require a credit check, they can come with astronomical rates and fees — sometimes as high as 300% to 500% APR. If you can’t quickly repay a payday loan, you could get stuck in a revolving debt cycle that could be hard to escape.Pawn shop loansThese loans are offered by pawn shops and require you to provide an item of value as collateral. If you don’t pay off the loan, the pawn shop can sell your item. Like payday loans, pawn shop loans can also come with extremely high rates and fees. Car title loans With this type of loan, you’ll give the lender the title of your car (or motorcycle). You’ll typically have to repay a car title loan within a short amount of time — usually 30 days or less. If you fall behind on your payments, the lender could seize your vehicle.

If you’re looking for a personal loan, here are a few personal loan scam warning signs to watch out for:

Using high-pressure sales tacticsNot requiring a credit check Approaching you about the loan out of the blueNot having a physical address

Go with your gut — if something feels off about a lender, it probably is. Also keep in mind that if you compare your options with Credible, you’ll be working with vetted, trustworthy lenders.

Learn More: How to Check If a Personal Loan Company Is Legitimate

Tips for a debt-free holiday season

While taking out a Christmas loan could help you cover last-minute holiday expenses, here are also a few other strategies that could help you avoid holiday stress:

Set a budget. Creating a budget based on your income is a great way to determine what you can actually afford to spend for Christmas.Look for deals. Scour the internet and your local shops for deals on what you’re looking for to lower your overall costs. For example, consider taking advantage of savings offered on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other shopping holidays.Stick to the basics. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and buy what you want (or what someone else wants). But try to be firm whenever you can or compromise when necessary. For example, you might buy a couple of small, practical gifts for those on your list instead of a big expensive gift for each person.

If getting a Christmas loan seems like the right fit for you, remember to consider as many lenders as you can to find the best loan for your needs. Additionally, be sure to think about the overall cost of the loan before you borrow — this way, you can be prepared for any added expenses.

You can estimate how much you’ll pay for a loan using our personal loan calculator below.

Enter your loan information to calculate how much you could pay

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The post Are Christmas Loans Worth It? Pros and Cons of Taking Out a Loan this Holiday Season appeared first on Credible.

VA Streamline Refinance: How It Works and When to Get One

If you’re a veteran with a VA home loan, there’s a simple way to refinance that could save you money.

A VA streamline refinance — or VA interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL) — may be able to lower your interest rate, shorten your mortgage term, or shrink your monthly payment, often with no appraisal or credit underwriting.

Here’s what you need to know about VA streamline refinances:

What is a VA streamline refinance (VA IRRRL)?VA streamline refinance loan benefitsDrawbacks of VA streamline refinance loansVA streamline refinance eligibility guidelinesVA IRRRL costsHow to apply for a VA IRRRLIs a VA streamline refinance loan right for you?

What is a VA streamline refinance (VA IRRRL)?

If you’re an active-duty military service member, veteran, or surviving spouse with a VA mortgage, you might be thinking about refinancing to lower the interest rate on your current home loan.

An IRRRL can help you accomplish this by replacing your existing VA loan with a new one that has a different interest rate and monthly payment, and possibly a different term.

What makes this refinance “streamlined” is that it typically requires fewer steps and less paperwork. For instance, the VA doesn’t require an appraisal or credit underwriting for this loan, which means you’ll usually close faster than someone doing a conventional refinance.

Learn More: How Soon You Can Refinance: Typical Waiting Periods By Home Loan

VA streamline refinance rates

Veterans United, a major originator of VA loans, says that the interest rates on VA loans tend to be 0.5% to 1.0% lower than the interest rates on conventional mortgages. And lending statistics from ICE Mortgage Technology show that from January through August 2021, VA loan rates were about 0.3 percentage points lower than conventional loan rates on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage.

Good to know: While somewhat helpful, general figures like these won’t tell you what type of mortgage you’ll get the best rate on. Your personalized rate depends on your financial situation and what’s happening in the mortgage market when you apply.

Rates also vary by mortgage lender, loan term, and how much home equity you have. For example, if you have at least 20% equity and can pass underwriting and an appraisal, you might find a better interest rate and lower APR by refinancing into a conventional loan, even if you qualify for an IRRRL.

Getting pre-approved with multiple lenders will give you the best idea of what rates you qualify for. It’ll also allow you to compare loan costs and get a taste of the lender’s customer service before committing to the mortgage approval process. While Credible doesn’t offer VA streamline refinances, we can help you find a great rate if you’re refinancing a conventional loan.

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VA streamline refinance loan benefits

A VA streamline refinance has several appealing advantages:

Competitive rates: VA loan rates tend to be similar to or slightly less than conventional loan rates.No private mortgage insurance: Even with less than 20% equity, there’s no PMI or equivalent for VA loans like there is for conventional loans and FHA loans.No appraisal: A no-appraisal refinance will save you a few hundred dollars in upfront costs. It also means you may be able to refinance a home that’s lost value.Less documentation: A VA streamline refinance doesn’t require underwriting, so you may be able to forgo gathering bank statements and tax returns for lenders.Closing cost financing: Avoid out-of-pocket costs by rolling closing costs into your new loan.Quick closing: No underwriting and no appraisal means it likely won’t take as long to refinance your home.No occupancy requirement: You can do a streamline refinance on a home you no longer occupy as your primary residence.Catch up if you’ve fallen behind: If your VA loan is past due, you may be able to use an IRRRL with credit underwriting to catch up on overdue payments, pay off late fees, and get into a more affordable loan that will stabilize your situation.Good to know: The VA’s lending guidelines don’t require credit underwriting or an appraisal for an IRRRL, but they also don’t forbid it. Lenders may still want to check your credit or order an appraisal, and if they do, they’re allowed to charge you for those costs.

Drawbacks of VA streamline refinance loans

Even though a VA streamline refinance is meant to be money-saving and efficient, you should understand how its drawbacks might affect you:

Funding fee: You’ll pay a funding fee each time you get a VA loan. The fee is 0.5% of the loan amount for an IRRRL.Existing VA loan required: If you have a conventional loan or FHA loan, you’re not eligible for an IRRRL. However, you may qualify for a VA cash-out refinance.Closing costs: Expect to pay fees for loan origination, title insurance, and local government requirements.Restarting your loan term: Many borrowers choose the same loan term when they refinance. If you currently have a 30-year loan that you’ve been paying for four years, you’ll be mortgage-free in 26 years. But if you refinance into a new 30-year loan, you’ll have to start over.No cash out: Borrowers are not allowed to cash out any equity with an IRRRL unless the money is a reimbursement for energy-efficient home improvements completed within 90 days of closing and costing no more than $6,000.Waiting period: You’re not eligible for an IRRRL until you’ve had your existing VA loan for 210 days and made six consecutive monthly payments.Tip: You can avoid restarting your loan term by refinancing into a shorter term or prepaying principal on your new mortgage. If you refinance into a shorter term and your new payment is at least 20% higher than your existing payment, you’ll have to go through underwriting.

Compare Your Options: 3 Ways to Refinance a VA Loan

VA streamline refinance eligibility guidelines

Qualifying for a VA streamline refinance can be easier than qualifying for other refinance loans. Here are the key criteria and a brief explanation of each one:

RequirementDescriptionYou’re refinancing a VA loanYou can’t use a VA IRRRL to refinance a conventional, FHA, or USDA loan.You’re no more than 30 days behind on paymentsIf you’re more than 30 days behind, you’ll have to go through underwriting.The home has been your primary residenceIt’s OK if your home is not your primary residence anymore or won’t be after you refinance, as long as it was previously.Your new loan won’t push back your payoff date by more than 10 yearsFor example, if you have 12 years left on your VA loan, your new loan term can’t be longer than 22 years. That means you wouldn’t be able to refinance into a 30-year loan. Your new loan will have a lower interest rateOne exception: You can refinance into a higher rate if you’re refinancing an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).You don’t want to cash out any equityThere’s no cash-out refinance option with an IRRRL. Look into a VA cash-out refinance instead.

VA IRRRL costs

The closing costs for a VA streamline refinance are similar to the closing costs for other VA loans. However, you likely won’t have to pay for an appraisal, which will save you a few hundred dollars. Here are some of the closing costs often associated with a VA IRRRL:

Closing costs typically range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount. Most borrowers pay an origination fee, title insurance fee, and deed recording fee. You may also owe local taxes, which are inexpensive in some areas and quite costly in others. And some borrowers choose to prepay mortgage interest through points in exchange for a lower interest rate.

A closing cost unique to VA loans is the VA funding fee: on an IRRRL, the fee is 0.5%, or $500 for every $100,000 borrowed. You may be exempt if you’re receiving payments for a service-connected disability or you’ve earned a Purple Heart.

Rolling closing costs into your VA IRRRL

An IRRRL allows you to roll your closing costs into the loan. You might benefit from this option if

you stand to save a lot from refinancing but don’t have cash on hand. It can also be a smart move if you’re planning to sell your home the next time you get permanent change of station (PCS) orders. It probably doesn’t make sense to pay a lot up front for a loan you’ll have short term.

On a 30-year mortgage, here’s how much more you would pay over the life of the loan by rolling $12,000 in closing costs (4% of $300,000) into the loan instead of paying them up front.

Interest ratePay closing costs up frontRoll closing costs into loanAdditional cost3%$12,000.00$18,345.30$6,345,304%$12,000.00$20,721.16$8,721.165%$12,000.00$23,388.64$11,388.64

While inflation is normally seen as a bad thing, it can be good for mortgage debtors with fixed interest rates. As years pass, even modest price and income inflation can make your mortgage debt feel less expensive.

In other words, while an extra $6,300 may sound like a lot today, it’ll feel like less and less each year due to inflation. Still, the higher your interest rate, the less you may want to borrow.

How to apply for a VA IRRRL

If you apply for a VA IRRRL, the process will look something like this:

Identify reputable lenders that offer a VA streamline refinance.Submit a pre-approval application online or by phone with at least three lenders.Compare your Loan Estimate from each company, looking for the best terms for your situation.Decide how many points to pay, if any, to lower your rate.When you’re happy with current interest rates, lock your rate.Submit any supporting documents your lender asks for. Your lender will usually be able to obtain your VA loan certificate of eligibility (COE) for you.Sign the paperwork to close on your loan.

Read: How Often Can You Refinance Your Mortgage?

Is a VA streamline refinance loan right for you?

Refinancing an existing home loan into a new loan may be a good idea if you’ll be able to lower your interest rate by at least one percentage point. It also makes sense if you expect to keep your new loan long enough to break even on closing costs.

A VA streamline refinance in particular may be right for you if you’ve lost your job, your credit score has dropped, your income has decreased, or your home’s value has declined. Since lenders aren’t required to order an appraisal or perform credit underwriting for an IRRRL, this type of refinance could help you keep your home if times have gotten tough.

Tip: If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage, contact the Department of Veterans Affairs. They will assign a loan technician to help you.

If you plan to move soon or can’t lower your rate, refinancing may not help you. And if you have at least 20% equity, good credit, and a steady income, it’s worth comparing quotes for both an IRRRL and a conventional refinance.

No matter which type of refinance you decide to pursue, comparing offers from multiple lenders can help you save money. While Credible doesn’t offer VA loans, we can help you see customized, prequalified rates for a conventional refinance — checking rates with us won’t impact your credit score.

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Keep Reading: How to Refinance Your Mortgage With Bad Credit

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14 Home Prep Tasks to Take Care of Before Winter Hits

Winter weather can be hard on your home if you’re not prepared. But by taking care of a few key tasks, you can often avoid expensive damage and prevent premature wear and tear.

Even if you live in a milder climate, you’ll want to review the list below. See which home tune-up tasks you may want to perform now to keep your home clean, safe, and comfortable throughout the coldest, darkest days of the year.

Here are 14 tasks to complete before winter arrives:

Get professional maintenance for your heating systemTest your carbon monoxide detectorsLocate air leaksInsulate your homeUpgrade your windowsPrepare your pipesInstall a programmable or smart thermostatInsulate your hot water tankReverse the direction your ceiling fan spinsHave your fireplace and chimney inspectedUpdate your emergency supplies for winter stormsClean your gutters and downspoutsInspect your roofCheck tree health

1. Get professional maintenance for your heating system

It’s smart to hire a professional to inspect your heating system before the cold weather sets in. They’ll perform routine maintenance that you might not have the time for, like changing air filters, vacuuming registers, and cleaning dirt and debris in and around the unit that could harm its functioning.

They’ll also check for leaks, identify obstructions, lubricate moving parts, look for signs of corrosion, and generally use their expertise to extend your system’s life and minimize the chance of it breaking down on the coldest day of the year.

Transform Your Space: 8 Popular Pandemic Home Renovations

2. Test your carbon monoxide detectors

Carbon monoxide is a dangerous odorless gas that can send you to the emergency room or even kill you. You might think you’re coming down with the flu when you’re actually being poisoned by carbon monoxide. If you’re sleeping, you may not experience any symptoms before it’s too late. Pets are susceptible, too.

Heed these warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home, especially near sleeping areas. They’re important year round, but especially in winter. Oil and gas furnaces, fireplaces, and generators can cause toxic CO to build up in your home.

3. Locate air leaks

If you want to go all out, you can hire a professional to conduct a blower door test. This test can locate leaks you might be unaware of and identify places where your home could use more insulation, according to the US Department of Energy.

It’s also fine to look for leaks yourself. Homes tend to leak air in places you can easily check: around doors and windows, electrical outlets, baseboards, pipes, vents, and anywhere else there’s a hole in a wall or connection between the inside and the outside. Focus on fixing the biggest leaks with caulking and weatherstripping.

Check Out Other Simple Projects: 18 Home Improvement Projects You Can Wrap Up in a Day

4. Insulate your home

Along with sealing leaks, adding insulation to your home can help you maintain a more comfortable temperature while using less energy. Basements, attics, walls, and other areas where your living space meets the outdoors or an unconditioned space (like an attached garage) are all candidates for more insulation, especially in older homes.

Hiring a professional will cost more up front but may pay off through better results. An expert can evaluate where additional insulation will make the biggest difference, how much you need, and the best type to use. They can also install it correctly to make sure it’s effective.

5. Upgrade your windows

If you have old windows, especially single-paned ones, you know they’re not great at keeping your home warm in the winter or reducing noise from outside. Sometimes, they’re unattractive as well.

Replacing every window in your home can be an expensive project (one you might want to finance with a home improvement loan), and it might take you years to recoup your investment. At the same time, though, you’ll save money on heating and cooling costs over the long run, make your home more comfortable, and boost the property’s value.

Tip: If you want to keep costs down, consider replacing the windows in one room where you’ll notice the difference most, like your bedroom. Homeowners can expect to spend $300 to $1,200 for one new window, depending on type and size, plus $150 to $800 for installation, according to HomeAdvisor.

You may be able to claim a federal tax credit of up to $200 for Energy Star-rated windows you purchase before Dec. 31, 2021.

6. Prepare your pipes

Insulating exposed pipes is a simple and inexpensive project most able-bodied homeowners can do themselves. Six feet of foam pipe insulation from a major home improvement retailer will cost you less than $5. Installing it is as easy as slipping the insulation over the pipe and taping the seams.

This project can reduce your water heating costs, but the real savings lie in preventing burst pipes and water damage to your home during freezing weather. You’ll also want to disconnect garden hoses and place insulating covers over outdoor faucets.

7. Install a programmable or smart thermostat

A smart thermostat can also help prevent burst pipes by letting you monitor and control your home’s temperature from your smartphone, even if you’re out of town. You can find a quality smart thermostat for anywhere between $100 to $250.

Energy Star-rated smart thermostats can help you save even more money on heating and cooling costs. They also offer convenient features like voice activation, occupancy sensing, and energy use monitoring.

Spend less: Your electric company or city might have rebates on qualifying smart thermostats, reducing your overall cost. Check online or contact your electric provider to see if there are any offers you can take advantage of.

A programmable thermostat that’s not WiFi-connected can also reduce your energy use. They cost less, at around $30 to $90, but you may spend more time adjusting the settings with schedule and weather changes.

To install a new thermostat, you might want to hire an electrician or HVAC technician, but some units are simple enough to install yourself.

8. Insulate your hot water tank

If you have an older electric water heater, correctly installing an insulation blanket made specifically for this purpose can save you money. The insulation will reduce some of the heat the tank loses to the air around it, especially if your tank is in an unconditioned space like a garage or outside cabinet.

The job isn’t complicated, but you may need a helper. Ask your electric company: they might come out and do it for you. Supplies will cost around $30, but the job can pay off after the first year.

9. Reverse the direction your ceiling fan spins

You can run your ceiling fans on low to make your home more comfortable and save energy during the winter. All it takes is nudging a small switch on the fan (or fan remote control) so the blades spin clockwise.

Changing the blade direction will help pull cool air up from the floor and push warm air down from the ceiling. You can do this task yourself with a stepladder and good balance.

Warning: Don’t attempt this task with fans on high ceilings: not only is it dangerous, but it won’t give you any benefit.

10. Have your fireplace and chimney inspected

Having your fireplace and chimney professionally inspected and possibly cleaned before you use it for the first time each year is a critical safety task. No one wants smoke building up in their living space, carbon monoxide poisoning, or a chimney fire.

That said, you may want to avoid burning wood in your home at all. The chemicals and ultrafine particles in wood smoke have the potential to cause life-threatening health problems. If you love sitting fireside, consider a professional conversion to a cleaner-burning gas fireplace.

11. Update your emergency supplies for winter storms

A winter storm could leave you without power for days and make roads unsafe. The insulation and leak sealing suggested above can really help in such a situation when you’re sheltering in place at home.

Here are a few supplies you’ll want to keep handy in case of a winter emergency:

Extra blankets and warm clothingBottled water and at least a 3-day supply of foodAir-activated hand warmersBackup power supplyHand crank radioBattery-powered LED lantern or flashlightEmergency supply of medicines (including pain relievers, prescription medications, and bandages)

12. Clean your gutters and downspouts

Free-flowing gutters protect your home from water intrusion and moisture damage. When your gutters get clogged with debris, they won’t work correctly: rain and melting snow can’t flow through them and may freeze, and the weight of that ice can cause your gutters to sag and pull away from the roof edge. Clogged gutters can also encourage harmful ice dams on your roof.

If you have a one-story house and a sturdy ladder, you might consider cleaning your gutters yourself. Otherwise, the safety risks of falling off a ladder are too great. Leave the task to a professional. You can expect to pay around $90 to $225 for gutter cleaning on a two-story home, according to HomeAdvisor.

Fun Ideas: 16 Fast Weekend Projects to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

13. Inspect your roof

A roof inspection in advance of winter weather can spare you from the water damage of leaks. And a professional is usually the best choice for this job. Not only do you want to avoid falling off your roof, you most likely don’t have the training to identify potential weak spots like loose or missing flashing and poor seals around vents.

If your roof is in really bad shape, it may be time to replace it. The national average cost for new asphalt shingles, including installation, is around $8,500, according to HomeAdvisor. If you want to use higher-end shingles, need to replace rotted roof decking, or decide to add ventilation, costs can be higher.

Tip: Accessing your home equity through a home equity loan or line of credit can make sense in a situation like this, because protecting your home from damage is essential.

14. Check tree health

Most of us don’t take a close look at our trees on a regular basis. Even if we did, we might not know when they’re sick, weak, or otherwise posing a threat to our home. The worst-case scenario is a toppled tree crashing through your roof during a winter storm, causing expensive damage and leaving your home exposed to the elements.

To avoid harm to your home — and yourself — from unstable trees or large limbs that might break off due to winter weather, hire an arborist. These highly trained tree experts can help prevent problems as well as evaluate possible damage after a storm.

Read More: 10 Ways to Craft an Elegant Outdoor Space

Paying for winter-related home projects

If you’re concerned about paying for some of the pricier items on this list, a cash-out refinance could be a good solution. Mortgage rates are near historic lows, and home values have swung up across the country.

By replacing your existing mortgage with a new, less expensive one and cashing out some of your equity, you may be able to slide some essential home projects into your budget as well.

Credible makes it easy to compare mortgage refinance options. You can see rates from all of our partner lenders without leaving our platform. Check out the table below to get started.

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How to Lower Credit Card Interest Rates: 4 Options

A high-interest credit card can be a major burden on your finances. The average credit card interest rate was 14.75% as of February 2021, according to the Federal Reserve — which could translate into steep interest charges if you only pay the minimum payment each month.

However, there are ways to potentially lower your credit card interest rate, which could help you save money while paying off your balance.

Here’s how to lower credit card your interest rate:

Check your credit scoreCall your card issuer and askApply for a balance transfer cardTake out a personal loan

1. Check your credit score

Your credit score helps determine what kind of interest rates you qualify for. In general, the better your credit score, the lower your rate.

If you’d like to get a lower interest rate, you’ll likely need good to excellent credit — a good credit score is usually considered to be 700 or higher. This is why it’s a good idea to check your credit before making the request so you know where you stand.

Tip: You can use a site like AnnualCreditReport.com to review your credit reports for free. If you find any errors, dispute them with the appropriate credit bureaus to potentially boost your credit score.

Learn More: How Personal Loans Impact Your Credit Score

2. Call your card issuer and ask

One way to possibly get a lower credit card rate is to simply ask your credit card issuer for a reduction. Generally, credit card issuers are friendlier to these types of requests if you have good credit and are a good customer who pays your bills on time.

When you make the call, a few points to mention include:

How long you’ve been with the companyYour history of on-time paymentsWhether your credit score has gone upWhether you’ve received better offers from other credit card companiesTip: When you’re speaking to your customer service representative, respectfully explain the reason for your call (being nice and pleasant goes a long way!). Ask about lowering your interest rate and what steps you need to take in order to get that taken care of.

Also keep in mind that your request might not be approved. If this happens, don’t be discouraged — ask what you need to do to lower your interest rate and when you can request a reduced rate again in the future.

Check Out: How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt

3. Apply for a balance transfer card

A balance transfer card could be a good option if your current credit card company doesn’t approve you for a lower interest rate on your card. With a balance transfer card, you can move your balance from one card to another one with a lower rate.

Tip: Some balance transfer cards come with 0% APR introductory offers. This means you could avoid paying interest if you can repay your balance before this period ends. However, keep in mind that if you can’t pay off the card in time, you could get stuck with hefty interest charges.

Learn More: Personal Loan vs. Credit Card

4. Take out a personal loan

Another option is taking out a personal loan to pay off your credit card debt — a process known as debt consolidation. Personal loans often have lower credit card interest rates than credit cards, which means you could save money on interest charges while repaying your debt.

Tip: You’ll typically need good to excellent credit to get approved for a personal loan as well as to qualify for a low interest rate. While some lenders offer debt consolidation loans for bad credit, these personal loans often come with higher interest rates compared to good credit loans.

If you’re struggling to get approved, consider applying with a cosigner. Not all lenders allow cosigners on personal loans, but some do. Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify, having one could get you a lower interest rate than you’d get on your own.

If you decide to take out a personal loan, it’s important to think about how much that loan will cost you. This way, you can be prepared for any added expenses. You can estimate how much you’ll pay for a loan using our personal loan calculator below.

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Balance transfer card vs. personal loan

Balance transfer cards and personal loans are both options to consolidate credit card debt and hopefully save money on interest along the way. If you’re considering a balance transfer credit card vs. personal loan, here are a few pros and cons of each to keep in mind:

Pros of balance transfer credit cards

0% APR: Some balance transfer credit cards come with a 0% APR introductory offer, which means you can avoid paying interest if you pay off your balance before this period ends.Could help build your credit: If you make all of your payments on time, you might see your credit improve — which could help you qualify for better rates in the future.Rewards or perks: Depending on the card you choose, you might have access to various rewards or perks, such as cash back or points.

Check Out: How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt Fast

Cons of balance transfer credit cards

Balance transfer fees: Most cards charge a balance transfer fee — generally from 3% to 5% — that could increase your balance.Higher interest rates: Credit cards generally have higher interest rates than personal loans. While you might be able to take advantage of a 0% APR introductory offer — depending on the card — carrying a balance beyond this period could lead to steep interest charges if you don’t pay off the card by your due date each month.Might be tempting to rack up a balance: A balance transfer card is still a credit card. Even if you pay your initial balance off, it could be tempting to rack up a balance again.

Learn More: How Debt Consolidation Loans Can Help Your Credit Score

Pros of personal loans

Lower interest rates: Personal loan rates are usually lower compared to credit cards. This could save you money on interest charges and even help you pay off your loan faster.Fixed monthly payments: Personal loans generally have fixed interest rates, which means your monthly payments will stay the same throughout the life of the loan.Options for poor or fair credit: While many personal loan lenders require good to excellent credit, there are others that offer personal loans for bad credit.

Check Out: Small Personal Loans: Compare Top Lenders Today

Cons of personal loans

Might come with fees: Some lenders charge fees on personal loans, such as origination or late fees. This can add to your overall loan cost.Can have larger payments: Depending on your repayment terms, you might end up with higher monthly payments on a personal loan compared to a credit card. Before you sign for a loan, be sure your new payments will fit comfortably in your budget.No rewards: Unlike credit cards, personal loans don’t come with any rewards.

Learn More: How to Check If a Personal Loan Company Is Legitimate

How to take out a personal loan

If you decide to take out a personal loan to help reduce how much you pay in credit card interest, follow these four steps:

Check your credit. Like with credit cards, personal loan lenders will review your credit to determine your creditworthiness as well as what rates you qualify for. To see what shape your credit is in before you apply, use a site like AnnualCreditReport.com to review your credit reports for free. If you find any errors, dispute them with the appropriate credit bureaus to potentially boost your credit score.Compare lenders and pick a loan option. Be sure to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for your needs. Consider not only interest rates but also repayment terms and any fees charged by the lender. After researching lenders, choose the loan option that works best for you.Complete the application. Once you’ve picked a personal loan lender, you’ll need to fill out a full application and submit any required documentation, such as tax returns or pay stubs.Get your funds. If you’re approved, the lender will have you sign for the loan so the money can be released to you. The time to fund for a personal loan is usually about one week — though some lenders will fund loans as soon as the same or next business day after approval. There are also lenders that will pay your creditors directly if you’d prefer.

Before you take out a personal loan, remember to consider as many lenders as you can to find the right loan for you. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders in the table below in two minutes

LenderFixed ratesLoan amountsMin. credit scoreLoan terms (years)

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
9.95% – 35.99% APR$2,000 to $35,0005502, 3, 4, 5*Fixed APR:
9.95% – 35.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
550Loan amount:
$2,000 to $35,000**Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5*Time to fund:
As soon as the next business day (if approved by 4:30 p.m. CT on a weekday)Fees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except CO, IA, HI, VT, NV NY, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
AvantLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, emergency expense, life event, home improvement, and other purposesMin. Income:
$1,200 monthly

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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6.79% – 17.99% APR$5,000 to $35,0007401, 2, 3, 4, 5Fixed APR:
6.79% – 17.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
740Loan amount:
$5,000 to $35,000Loan terms (years):
1, 2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
Next business dayFees:
No prepayment penaltyDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, self-employment, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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4.99% – 35.99% APR$5,000 to $35,0006002, 3, 4, 5Fixed APR:
4.99% – 35.99% APRVariable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
600Loan amount:
$2,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as 1 – 3 business days after successful verificationFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all states except DC, IA, VT, and WVCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
Best Egg and Blue Ridge BankMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
6.99% – 24.99% APR$2,500 to $35,0006603, 4, 5, 6, 7Fixed APR:
6.99% – 24.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$2,500 to $35,000Loan terms (years):
3, 4, 5, 6, 7Time to fund:
As soon as the next business day after acceptanceFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
 Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan Uses:
Auto repair, credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home remodel or repair, major purchase, medical expenses, taxes, vacation, and wedding

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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7.99% – 29.99% APR$10,000 to $50,000Not disclosed by lender2, 3, 4, 5Fixed APR:
7.99% – 29.99% APRMin. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$10,000 to $50,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as 2 business daysFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoEligibility:
Available in all states except CO, CT, HI, KS, NH, NY, ND, OR, VT, WV, WI, and WYCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding, travel, medical expenses, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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7.04% – 35.89% APR$1,000 to $40,0006003, 5Fixed APR:
7.04% – 35.89% APRMin. credit score:
600Loan amount:
$1,000 to $40,000Loan terms (years):
3, 5Time to fund:
Usually takes about 2 daysFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
LendingClub BankMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, paying off credit cards, home improvement, pool loans, vacations, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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15.49% – 35.99% APR$2,000 to $36,5005802, 3, 4Fixed APR:
15.49% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
580Loan amount:
$2,000 to $36,500Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4Time to fund:
As soon as the next business dayFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except NV and WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
$20,000Loan Uses:
Home improvement, consolidate debt, credit card refinancing, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.49% – 19.99% APR$5,000 to $100,0006602, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
(up to 12 years for home improvement loans)Fixed APR:
2.49% – 19.99% APRMin. credit score:
660Loan amount:
$5,000 to $100,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7*Time to fund:
As soon as the same business dayFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except RI and VTCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
NoLoan servicer:
LightStreamMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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6.99% – 19.99% APR1$3,500 to $40,0002660
(TransUnion FICO®️ Score 9)3, 4, 5, 6, 7Fixed APR:
6.99% – 19.99% APR1Min. credit score:
660
(TransUnion FICO®️ Score 9)Loan amount:
$3,500 to $40,0002Loan terms (years):
3, 4, 5, 6Time to fund:
Many Marcus customers receive funds in as little as three daysFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
Goldman SachsMin. Income:
$30,000Loan Uses:
Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, major purchase, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
18.0% – 35.99% APR$1,500 to $20,000None2, 3, 4, 5Fixed APR:
18.0% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
NoneLoan amount:
$1,500 to $20,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
As soon as the same day, but usually requires a visit to a branch officeFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Must have photo I.D. issued by U.S. federal, state or local governmentCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not disclose

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.99% – 17.99% APR$600 to $50,000
(depending on loan term)6701, 2, 3, 4, 5Fixed APR:
5.99% – 17.99% APRMin. credit score:
670Loan amount:
$600 to $50,000*Loan terms (years):
1, 2, 3, 4, 5Time to fund:
2 to 4 business days after verificationFees:
NoneDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Does not discloseCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
NoMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, transportation, medical, dental, life events

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
6.95% – 35.99% APR$2,000 to $40,0006403, 5Fixed APR:
6.95% – 35.99% APRMin. credit score:
640Loan amount:
$2,000 to $40,000Loan terms (years):
3, 5Time to fund:
As soon as one business dayFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all states except IA, ND, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
NoneLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, home improvement, vehicles, small business, new baby expenses, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.99% – 18.83% APR$5,000 to $100,000Does not disclose2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7Fixed APR:
5.99% – 18.83% APRMin. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$5,000 to $100,000Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7Time to fund:
3 business daysFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except MSCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Solely for personal, family, or household uses

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
8.93% – 35.93% APR7$1,000 to $50,0005603 to 5 years 8Fixed APR:
8.93% – 35.93% APR7Min. credit score:
560Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,000Loan terms:
3 to 5 years 8Time to fund:
Within one day, once approved9Loan types:
Debt consolidation, pay off credit cards, home improvements, unexpected expenses, home and auto repairs, weddings, and other major purchasesFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
A U.S. citizen or permanent resident; not available in DC, SC, WVCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
5.94% – 35.97% APR$1,000 to $50,0005602, 3, 5, 6Fixed APR:
5.94% – 35.97% APRMin. credit score:
560Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,000*Loan terms (years):
2, 3, 5, 6Time to fund:
Within a day of clearing necessary verificationsFees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states except West VirginiaCustomer service:
EmailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
Does not discloseLoan Uses:
Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, and other purposes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
6.46% – 35.99% APR4$1,000 to $50,00055803 to 5 years4Fixed APR:
6.46% – 35.99% APR4Min. credit score:
580Loan amount:
$1,000 to $50,0005Loan terms (years):
3 to 5 years4Time to fund:
As fast as 1 business day6Fees:
Origination feeDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Phone, emailSoft credit check:
YesMin. Income:
$12,000Loan Uses:
Payoff credit cards, consolidate debt, take a course or bootcamp, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposesCompare rates from these lenders without affecting your credit score. 100% free!

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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | LightStream disclosure | Read more about Rates and Terms

Should you close your credit card?

After you’ve paid off a credit card, you might consider closing it. However, keep in mind that if you close a credit card account, you might see your credit score drop. This is because a closed account could:

Raise your credit utilization ratio, as you might have less available credit compared to how much you oweLower the average age of your credit accounts, especially if you’ve had the account for an extended period of time

However, if you continue making payments on time on your other credit accounts, your score will likely bounce back within a few months.

Tip: Ultimately, whether to close an account depends on your individual circumstances. For example, if you feel that keeping a credit card account open could lead you into more debt, then it might be better to close the account and deal with the potential credit score changes.

Keep Reading: Pay Off Credit Card Debt ASAP With a Personal Loan
About Rates and Terms: Rates for personal loans provided by lenders on the Credible platform range between 4.99-35.99% APR with terms from 12 to 84 months. Rates presented include lender discounts for enrolling in autopay and loyalty programs, where applicable. Actual rates may be different from the rates advertised and/or shown and will be based on the lender’s eligibility criteria, which include factors such as credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history, and vary based on loan purpose. The lowest rates available typically require excellent credit, and for some lenders, may be reserved for specific loan purposes and/or shorter loan terms. The origination fee charged by the lenders on our platform ranges from 0% to 8%. Each lender has their own qualification criteria with respect to their autopay and loyalty discounts (e.g., some lenders require the borrower to elect autopay prior to loan funding in order to qualify for the autopay discount). All rates are determined by the lender and must be agreed upon between the borrower and the borrower’s chosen lender. For a loan of $10,000 with a three year repayment period, an interest rate of 7.99%, a $350 origination fee and an APR of 11.51%, the borrower will receive $9,650 at the time of loan funding and will make 36 monthly payments of $313.32. Assuming all on-time payments, and full performance of all terms and conditions of the loan contract and any discount programs enrolled in included in the APR/interest rate throughout the life of the loan, the borrower will pay a total of $11,279.43. As of March 12, 2019, none of the lenders on our platform require a down payment nor do they charge any prepayment penalties.

The post How to Lower Credit Card Interest Rates: 4 Options appeared first on Credible.