Pros and cons of consolidating credit cards
However, a statement may be placed on your file to indicate you are repaying loans through a debt management plan, and that will be visible to lenders who check your credit while you’re on the plan.In some cases, you might be able to keep one credit card open if you need it for work to pay for hotels, car rentals and other expenses reimbursed by your employer, Opperman says. How to shop: Look for a reputable nonprofit credit counseling agency.If you can’t get an offer with no fee, look for the longest term to have as much time as possible to pay off your debt, he says.If you have a mix of unsecured debt, your credit is shaky or you’re late on payments, a debt management plan (DMP) through a nonprofit credit counseling agency might be your best bet.In that case, you might have to apply for another balance transfer deal, he says.“That does add some complexity,” he says.“You’ve got more credit cards to manage and more monthly bills to pay.”Pros: A 0-percent balance transfer deal means that, aside from the initial fee, 100 percent of your payment goes toward the principal.If you make a late payment, you’ll likely lose that promotional 0 percent rate.
Many also have other unsecured debt, such as medical debt, personal loans or installment loans from appliance or furniture retailers, Opperman says.“They’re trying to manage all the different accounts, all the different due dates and potentially creditors calling because they’re late on payments,” she says.
You can pay down debt more quickly since interest fees aren’t ratcheting up the balance.
Plus, transferring a balance to a new card shouldn’t hurt your credit score much, minus the temporary ding of a hard pull of your credit, and may even help your credit score due to lowered credit utilization with the additional credit line.
This will cause a dip in your credit score in the short term, but your score should improve as you pay down debt.
Aside from the closed accounts, a DMP won’t hurt your credit, according to Experian.
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He recommends starting with the Chase Slate card because there’s no balance transfer fee for transfers made within 60 days of account opening.