Consolidating student loans in

» MORE: Nerd Wallet’s best balance transfer credit cards Pros: Back to top You can use an unsecured personal loan from your local bank or credit union or an online lender to consolidate credit card or other types of debt.The loan should give you a lower interest rate on your debt or help you pay it off faster. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. " At Nerd Wallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. Debt consolidation is a strategy to roll multiple old debts into a single new one. We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research.I contacted student loan guru Mark Kantrowitz at Fin Aid.org, who says just three lenders still offer consolidation: Chase, Student Loan Network, and Wells Fargo. You should also know that there are no fixed rates on consolidated private loans; your interest rate will probably be tied to a benchmark like the prime rate, so when that rises, so will the rate on your loan.Finally, if you have a solid job and a solid credit score, think about looking into a personal loan at a bank or credit union.The maximum annual percentage rate at a federal credit union is 18%.Online lenders typically let you pre-qualify for a debt consolidation loan without affecting your credit score.

For online lenders, the lowest rates go to those with the best credit; rates top out at 36%.

Lenders don’t charge fees for paying off your loan early, but they may charge upfront origination fees that range from 1% to 5% of your loan.

Some also send money directly to your creditors, increasing the odds of successful debt consolidation.

Most issuers charge a balance transfer fee of around 3%, and some also charge an annual fee.

Before you choose a card, calculate whether the interest you save over time will wipe out the cost of the fee.

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