Best debt consolidation loans in December 2021

As of December 01, 2021
Our list of the top lenders for debt consolidation loans compares lenders based on fees, interest rates, advantages, disadvantages, terms and features. The resources provided can help interested borrowers determine if this type of loan makes sense for their situation and the best lender for their debt consolidation needs.
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4.6

Bankrate Score
APR from

4.98%*

with AutoPay
Term

2-7yr*

Max. loan amount

$100,000

4.8

Bankrate Score
APR from

5.94- 35.97%

with AutoPay
Term

3-5yr

Max. loan amount

$50,000

4.7

Bankrate Score
APR from

5.99%

3 or 5 year term
Term

3-5yr

Max. loan amount

$50,000

4.6

Bankrate Score
APR from

4.99- 19.53%

with AutoPay
Term

2-7yr

Max. loan amount

$100,000

4.5

Bankrate Score
APR from

5.99- 17.99%

Term

1-5yr

Max. loan amount

$50,000

4.6

Bankrate Score
APR from

5.99%

Term

2-5yr

Max. loan amount

$35,000

4.8

Bankrate Score
APR from

6.99- 19.99%

Term

3-6yr

Max. loan amount

$40,000

4.5

Bankrate Score
APR from

7.04- 35.89%

Term

3-5yr

Max. loan amount

$40,000

4.6

Bankrate Score
APR from

7.95- 35.99%

Term

3-5yr

Max. loan amount

$40,000

4.5

Bankrate Score
APR from

9.95- 35.99%

Term

2-5yr

Max. loan amount

$35,000

4.4

Bankrate Score
APR from

15.49- 34.99%

Term

2-5yr

Max. loan amount

$25,000

3.9

Bankrate Score
APR from

18.00- 35.99%

Term

2-5yr

Max. loan amount

$20,000

4.6

Bankrate Score
APR from

5.75- 15.75%

with AutoPay
Term

3-5yr

Max. loan amount

$50,000

APR from

7.99- 35.99%

Term

1-3yr

Max. loan amount

$35,000

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The Bankrate guide to choosing the best debt consolidation loan

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A debt consolidation loan can help you manage your debts more effectively, but only if you find a loan that works for your situation. When shopping for the best debt consolidation loan, look for the lowest interest rate, a loan amount that meets your needs, an affordable and workable repayment term and low to no fees. Loan details presented here are current as Nov. 12, 2021. Check the lenders’ websites for the latest information. The top lenders listed below are selected based on factors such as APR, loan amounts, fees, credit requirements and broad availability.

How do I choose the best debt consolidation loan lender?

It's important to get a debt consolidation loan that fits your budget and helps you reach your goal of eliminating debt. Many lenders will prequalify you without making a hard inquiry into your credit. Prequalification gives you a good idea of the rate, loan amount and loan term that you could qualify for.
 
You can then use those to compare options and decide which is best for you based on the following factors:

  • Annual percentage rates. Your APR is determined by your credit score and other financial factors. This is the amount charged on top of your principal amount every month.
  • Loan cost. When you shop, compare the total cost of each loan, including origination fees and other charges. A large number of fees can outweigh the benefits of a low APR.
  • Lender features. Potentially helpful features to search for are things like the new lender making direct payments to your previous creditors, credit monitoring, hardship programs and other customer service programs.
Best debt consolidation loan rates in December 2021
LENDER EST. APR LOAN TERM LOAN AMOUNT BEST FOR MIN. CREDIT SCORE
Best Egg 5.99%–35.99% 3–5 years $2,000–$50,000 High-income earners with good credit 640
Payoff 5.99%–24.99% 2–5 years $5,000–$40,000 Consolidating credit card debt 600
LightStream 4.98%–19.99% (with autopay) 2–7 years $5,000–$100,000 High-dollar loans and longer repayment terms Not specified
PenFed Starting at 5.99% 1–5 years $600–$50,000 Smaller loans with a credit union Not specified
OneMain Financial 18%–35.99% 2–5 years $1,500–$20,000 Fair to poor credit Not specified
Discover 5.99%–24.99% 3–7 years $2,500–$35,000 Good credit and next-day funding 660
Upstart 5.31%–35.99% 3 years or 5 years $1,000–$50,000 Consumers with little credit history 300
Marcus by Goldman Sachs 6.99%–19.99% (with autopay) 3–6 years $3,500–$40,000 Consolidating large debts 660
 
 

Details: Best debt consolidation loan companies of 2021

Best Egg: Best for high-income earners with good credit

Overview: Best Egg offers unsecured personal loans for a variety of purposes, including debt consolidation. If you have a credit score of at least 640, you may qualify based on other criteria, such as income. Best Egg's debt consolidation loans range from $2,000 to $50,000.
 
Perks: There is no penalty if you pay off your consolidation loan ahead of schedule. Application and approval are done online, and it’s possible to get your money within a single business day.
 
What to watch out for: Origination fees range from 0.99 percent to 5.99 percent, and the fee is taken off the top of the loan. So, if you borrow $10,000 and pay a 1 percent origination fee, $9,900 will be disbursed to you, but you must repay the lender for the full $10,000.
 
Why Best Egg is the best for high-income earners with good credit: The best rates and terms go to borrowers who earn $100,000 or more and have a credit score of at least 700, which is “good” on the FICO scale.
 
Impact on debt consolidation borrowers: Borrowers with good credit who consolidate with Best Egg can qualify for extremely low interest rates; this makes debt consolidation much cheaper than paying off individual debts separately.
 
LENDER:
Best Egg
BANKRATE RATING:
4.6 / 5.0
MIN. CREDIT SCORE:
640
EST. APR:
5.99%–35.99%
LOAN AMOUNT:
$2,000–$50,000
TIME TO RECEIVE FUNDS:
As soon as the next business day
TERM LENGTHS:
3 to 5 years
MIN. ANNUAL INCOME:
Not specified
FEES:
Origination fee: 0.99% to 5.99% of loan amount; Returned payment fee: $15
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:
Borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident currently living in the U.S. Residents of Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Territories are not eligible.

Payoff: Best for consolidating credit card debt

Overview: Payoff is specifically designed for borrowers who want to pay off their credit card debt. The application and approval process are done online.
 
Perks: There are no application fees, prepayment penalties, late fees or annual fees. Borrowers with a credit score of 600 or higher may qualify. As with any debt consolidation loan, there’s a chance that you can raise your credit score if you abide by the terms of your loan, but Payoff goes a step further by providing borrowers with a free FICO Score every month.
 
What to watch out for: Origination fees range from 0 percent to 5 percent. Additionally, Payoff does not issue loans in Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska or Nevada.
 
Why Payoff is the best for consolidating credit card debt: Payoff's personal loans can be used only to consolidate credit card debt, and you can do so without unnecessary fees.
 
Impact on debt consolidation borrowers: Credit card debt is one of the most common types of debt to consolidate, so Payoff's focused approach can make repayment more manageable.
 
LENDER:
Payoff
BANKRATE RATING:
4.5 / 5
MIN. CREDIT SCORE:
600
EST. APR:
5.99%–24.99%
LOAN AMOUNT:
$5,000–$40,000
TIME TO RECEIVE FUNDS:
Within 3 to 6 business days after approval
TERM LENGTHS:
2 to 5 years
MIN. ANNUAL INCOME:
Not specified
FEES:
Origination fee: 0% to 5%
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:
Not available in Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska or Nevada. The borrower must have no delinquencies on their credit.

LightStream: Best for high-dollar loans and longer repayment terms

Overview: LightStream offers personal loans for a variety of purposes, including debt consolidation. It stands out for offering loans up to $100,000 and terms of up to 84 months — larger loans and longer terms than what other lenders offer. You must have excellent credit and sufficient assets and income to qualify for a jumbo-size personal loan.
 
Perks: There are no origination fees or penalties for paying off your debt consolidation loan early. The application and approval process is done online, making it possible to get approved and have the money deposited into your account on the same day.
 
What to watch out for: Loans that aren’t set up with automatic payment have interest rates that are 0.5 percentage points higher, and you must have "good" credit to qualify, though LightStream doesn't name a specific credit score.
 
Why LightStream is the best for high-dollar loans and longer repayment terms: LightStream offers unsecured, fixed-rate debt consolidation loans as big as $100,000, with up to seven years to repay.
 
Impact on debt consolidation borrowers: Borrowers who have accumulated a lot of debt, especially through a variety of sources, have the chance to get lower monthly payments by choosing one of LightStream's longer repayment terms.
 
LENDER:
LightStream
BANKRATE RATING:
4.6 / 5.0
MIN. CREDIT SCORE:
Not specified
EST. APR:
4.98%–19.99% (with autopay)
LOAN AMOUNT:
$5,000–$100,000
TIME TO RECEIVE FUNDS:
As soon as the same day
TERM LENGTHS:
2 to 7 years
MIN. ANNUAL INCOME:
Not specified
FEES:
None
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:
Borrowers must have several years of credit history, a good payment history with few delinquencies, an "ability to save" and stable income.

PenFed: Best for smaller loans with a credit union

Overview: Pentagon Federal Credit Union, known as PenFed, offers unsecured, fixed-rate personal loans for debt consolidation. While you'll need to become a member of the credit union in order to receive loan funds, you can do so by opening a savings account with a $5 initial deposit.
 
Perks: PenFed does not charge origination fees, annual fees or prepayment penalties. The application and approval process can be done online or at one of PenFed’s branches, with approval in as little as one business day.
 
What to watch out for: You must become a member of the credit union to receive a loan, and there is a $29 charge for each late payment. Also, all loans are subject to a minimum monthly payment of $50.
 
Why PenFed is the best for smaller loans with a credit union: You can borrow as little as $600 through PenFed, and credit unions often offer more personalized service than larger banks.
 
Impact on debt consolidation borrowers: Borrowers who don't have much debt to consolidate may struggle to find a suitable loan with other lenders; PenFed's $600 minimum ensures that you don't have to borrow more than you truly need.
 
LENDER:
PenFed
BANKRATE RATING:
4.6 / 5.0
MIN. CREDIT SCORE:
Not specified
EST. APR:
Starting at 5.99%
LOAN AMOUNT:
$600–$50,000
TIME TO RECEIVE FUNDS:
One or two business days after loan approval (or same day at a branch)
TERM LENGTHS:
1 to 5 years
MIN. ANNUAL INCOME:
Not specified
FEES:
Late fee: $29; Returned payment fee: $30
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:
All loans are subject to a minimum monthly payment of $50.

OneMain Financial: Best for fair to poor credit

Overview: OneMain Financial is a bank based out of Indiana. Its loan amounts are smaller and rates are higher than typical debt consolidation personal loans, but the lender is still a good alternative to the high interest rates and hidden fees that can come with payday loans. Your credit history, income and debt load determine whether you qualify.
 
Perks: There is no penalty for paying off your OneMain loan early. If you do not qualify for an unsecured personal loan, OneMain may accept your car, boat, RV or motorcycle as collateral, provided it is insured and appraises at a sufficient value.
 
What to watch out for: OneMain charges origination fees, late fees and insufficient funds fees, which can vary by state. Its rates are also exceptionally high — its lowest possible rate is near the rate cap for many other lenders.
 
Why OneMain Financial is the best for fair to poor credit: OneMain's fixed-rate loans charge high rates, but borrowers with bad credit will find more favorable rates with the company than with risky payday lenders, which can charge as much as 400 percent interest.
 
Impact on debt consolidation borrowers: While OneMain is not the ideal lender for many borrowers seeking debt consolidation, bad-credit borrowers may have the best chance of qualifying with this lender.
 
LENDER:
OneMain Financial
BANKRATE RATING:
3.8 / 5.0
MIN. CREDIT SCORE:
Not specified
EST. APR:
18%–35.99%
LOAN AMOUNT:
$1,500–$20,000
TIME TO RECEIVE FUNDS:
As soon as the next business day after approval
TERM LENGTHS:
2 to 5 years
MIN. ANNUAL INCOME:
Not specified
FEES:
Origination fee: 1% to 10% or $25 to $500; Late fee: $5 to $30 or 1.5% to 15%; Insufficient funds fee: $10 to $50; all fees vary by state
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:
Minimum loan amounts vary by state (Alabama: $2,100; California: $3,000; Georgia: $3,100 unless you are a present customer; North Dakota: $2,000; Ohio: $2,000; Virginia: $2,600). Borrowers in North Carolina are subject to a maximum loan size of $7,500.

Discover: Best for good credit and next-day funding

Overview: Discover offers unsecured personal loans for debt consolidation, with the option to pay creditors directly.
 
Perks: Discover personal loans have no origination fees, closing costs or prepayment penalties. It also has a good range of repayment terms, allowing you to choose the payoff period that works best for your budget.
 
What to watch out for: There is a $39 penalty for late payments, which is higher than the late fee for many other lenders. Also, co-signers are not permitted.
 
Why Discover is the best for good credit and next-day funding: The average Discover borrower has very good credit, and it’s possible to get an approval decision the same day you apply and get your money the next business day, provided your application is accurate and complete.
 
Impact on debt consolidation borrowers: Borrowers who need money quickly will benefit from Discover's fast application and approval process.
 
LENDER:
Discover
BANKRATE RATING:
4.8 / 5.0
MIN. CREDIT SCORE:
660
EST. APR:
5.99%–24.99%
LOAN AMOUNT:
$2,500–$35,000
TIME TO RECEIVE FUNDS:
As soon as the next business day
TERM LENGTHS:
3 to 7 years
MIN. ANNUAL INCOME:
$25,000
FEES:
Late fee: $39
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:
Borrowers must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be at least 18 years old

Upstart: Best for consumers with little credit history

Overview: Upstart offers unsecured personal loans for debt consolidation to consumers who have little credit history but a regular income.
 
Perks: Upstart does not charge prepayment penalties. The initial application generates a soft credit pull that does not hurt your score, and you can get your loan money in one business day after approval.
 
What to watch out for: You must have a U.S. bank account. Upstart also charges origination fees of up to 8 percent, which is steep.
 
Why Upstart is the best for consumers with little credit history: Upstart has flexible credit requirements; while the borrower must have some credit history, it accepts borrowers with scores as low as 300, which is great for borrowers who are just starting out.
 
Impact on debt consolidation borrowers: Borrowers who haven't had time to build up a significant credit history may have trouble getting approved with other lenders, so Upstart could be the best option for funding.
 
LENDER:
Upstart
BANKRATE RATING:
4.5 / 5.0
MIN. CREDIT SCORE:
300
EST. APR:
5.31%–35.99%
LOAN AMOUNT:
$1,000–$50,000
TIME TO RECEIVE FUNDS:
As soon as one business day
TERM LENGTHS:
3 years or 5 years
MIN. ANNUAL INCOME:
Not specified
FEES:
Origination fee: up to 8%; Late fee: the greater of 5% of past due amount or $15; Returned check fee: $15; One-time paper copies fee: $10
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:
Minimum loan amount varies by state (Massachusetts: $7,000; Ohio: $6,000; New Mexico: $5,100; Georgia: $3,100). The borrower's debt-to-income ratio must not exceed 50% (lower in select states). Loans are not available to residents of West Virginia or Iowa.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs: Best for consolidating large debts

Overview: Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers unsecured personal loans for debt consolidation to consumers who don’t have much credit history.
 
Perks: You can change the due date of your monthly bill up to three times during the life of the loan. Additionally, you can defer one payment after you've made 12 consecutive monthly payments in full and on time.
 
What to watch out for: No co-signers are allowed. Borrowers with lackluster credit may not qualify.
 
Why Marcus by Goldman Sachs is the best for consolidating large debts: The $40,000 loan limit can accommodate borrowers with a lot of debt to consolidate, and they can choose to have Marcus pay their creditors directly.
 
Impact on debt consolidation borrowers: The ability to defer one payment after 12 payments is a useful feature if you hit a financial snag and need some breathing room in your budget; deferring a payment instead of missing it will prevent credit score damage.
 
LENDER:
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
BANKRATE RATING:
4.8 / 5.0
MIN. CREDIT SCORE:
660
EST. APR:
6.99%–19.99%
LOAN AMOUNT:
$3,500–$40,000
TIME TO RECEIVE FUNDS:
You could receive funds in as little as 3 days.
TERM LENGTHS:
3 to 6 years
MIN. ANNUAL INCOME:
Not specified
FEES:
None
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:
N/A
 
 

Why consolidate your debt?

Debt consolidation may have advantages, including:
 
  • Potentially lower interest rates: If you have several credit cards with double-digit interest rates and you qualify for a debt consolidation personal loan at a lower rate, you can potentially save a lot of money in interest and fees.
  • Sooner debt payoff: Combining all the debt into one bucket can make it easier to pay the debt off sooner, because you don’t have to balance separate payments.
  • Simplified finances: Credit card rates are variable, so your monthly payments differ depending on your balance, and it can be hard to know when your debts will be paid off. Debt consolidation puts everything into one place so you can keep track of it easier.
  • Set repayment schedule: A debt consolidation loan combines multiple debts into one monthly payment with a fixed rate and a set repayment term, so your monthly payments stay the same. You don’t have to worry about multiple due dates or varying payment amounts.
  • Credit score improvement: Credit scoring models, like FICO and VantageScore, place a lot of weight on your credit utilization ratio. When a new consolidation loan lowers your credit utilization ratio, your credit score might climb as a result.
Generally, a debt consolidation loan is a good idea if you can pay off the new debt, you have a high credit score to get good rates and you like the stability of a fixed monthly payment. 
 
Although debt consolidation can be helpful for many people, it cannot solve all your financial problems on its own. You’ll need to avoid making late payments or running up balances again on your recently paid-off credit card accounts. Otherwise, you could put your credit in a worse position. It's also not a good idea if you get offered higher interest rates through consolidation — otherwise, you'll pay more on your debt overall.
 
 

Alternatives to a debt consolidation loan

Debt consolidation loans can be useful, but they’re not right for everyone. If you’re looking for alternatives to debt consolidation loans, below are some additional options you may want to consider.
 

Home Equity

One popular way people pay off debt is to use the equity in their homes. Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) let borrowers use their homes as collateral in exchange for financing. Just be sure to factor in the risks if you’re considering this option. The lender can seize your home if you can't make the payments.
 
Who this is best for: Borrowers who have built up equity in their homes.
 
Home equity loan vs. debt consolidation loan: Home equity loans and HELOCs may offer lower rates than debt consolidation loans, though they come with more risks, since your home is used as collateral.
 

Debt relief services

Debt relief services, commonly referred to as debt settlement companies, offer another way to deal with your debt if you can’t qualify for a consolidation loan. These companies reach out to creditors and debt collectors on your behalf and try to settle the debt for a lesser amount. If you decide to pursue debt relief services (perhaps as an alternative to bankruptcy), be aware that the fees these companies charge can be steep. Take your time to fully research fees, reviews and other details before applying. It’s also wise to compare multiple debt relief companies before you commit.
 
Who this is best for: Borrowers who are experiencing financial hardship and cannot pay their debt.
 
Debt relief services vs. debt consolidation loan: Unlike debt consolidation loans, debt relief services aim to eliminate some of your debt without your having to pay it. With that said, pursuing debt relief is a risky move, and it can damage your credit score.
 

Credit counseling

Another option that can help you get debt under control is credit counseling. Credit counseling companies are often (though not always) nonprofit organizations. In addition to debt counseling, these companies may offer a service known as a debt management plan, or DMP.
 
With a DMP, you make a single payment to a credit counseling company, which then divides that payment among your creditors. The company negotiates lower interest rates and fees on your behalf to lower your monthly debt obligation and help you pay the debts off faster.
 
DMPs are rarely free, though, even if they’re done by a nonprofit credit counseling service. You may have to pay a setup fee of $30 to $50, plus a monthly fee (often $20 to $75) to the credit counseling company for managing your DMP over a three- to five-year term.
 
Who this is best for: Borrowers who need help structuring their debt payments.
 
Credit counseling vs. debt consolidation loan: With a debt consolidation loan, you're in control of your payoff plan, and you can often apply with few fees. With credit counseling, a third party manages your payments while charging setup fees.
 

Balance transfer credit card

With a balance transfer card, you shift your credit card debt to a new credit card with a 0 percent inroductory rate. The goal with a balance transfer card is to pay off the balance before the introductory rate expires so that you save money on interest. When you calculate potential savings, make sure you factor in balance transfer fees.
 
Keep in mind that paying of existing credit card debt with a balance transfer to another credit card isn't likely to lower your credit utilization ratio like a debt consolidation loan would.
 
A debt consolidation loan also is going to offer higher borrowing limits, enabling you to pay off more debt, as well as fixed monthly payments, which make it easier to budget and stay disciplined with paying off debt.
 
Who this is best for: Borrowers who can pay off existing debt quickly.

Balance transfer credit card vs. debt consolidation loan: Often, balance transfer cards are the best choice for borrowers who have the means to pay off their debt within 18 months, which is a standard 0 percent APR period. If you need longer to pay off your debt, or if you have a lot of debt, a debt consolidation loan is a better choice.

 
 

FAQs about debt consolidation loans

Next steps

If you're interested in consolidating your debts using a debt consolidation loan, take the time to research your options and get prequalified with a few different lenders. Because all lenders offer different terms and evaluate eligibility differently, comparing quotes is the best way to know which loan option is best for you.