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Medical Debt Consolidation: Is It A Mistake?

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Medical Debt Consolidation Reviews
Credit: Ziimytws

Paying off your medical debt is not as straightforward as other types of debt such as credit card or loan. As per the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), out of all the overdue debt recorded on credit reports, 52% relates to medical expenses. Although some efforts have been made to address this issue, the underlying problem is still stressing out a lot of people.

Should You Go for Medical
Debt Consolidation?

It is important to note that medical debt does not accrue
any interest. Although a healthcare facility or hospital will transfer your
bills to a collection agency, you do not have to pay any interest on your bills.

If you try to cut down on your payable amount by consolidating personal loan, a credit card debt, or HELOC (home equity line of credit), the new debt will contain interest. Rather than owing the hospital, you owe to the source of your new credit where each month interest keeps accruing.

Don’t go for medical debt consolidation unless you have to pay money to other credit. However, if you are unable to find any route to enjoy medical debt relief, medical debt consolidation might be your only option.

How to Go About Medical Debt Consolidation?

Medical
debt consolidation requires you to secure a loan, pay all the debt, and
repay what you owe at the earliest to prevent paying any interest. Here is how
what you need to do for medical
debt consolidation.

1.    
Personal Debt Consolidation Loan

Even if you have a low credit score is, a debt consolidation loan is a possibility. The downside is that you can get affordable rates only if your credit score is somewhere between the good to excellent range.

Here are some debt consolidation tips:

  • Beware of companies that offer unrealistically low-interest rates.
  • If you have bad credit, you won’t qualify, despite what a fast-talking salesman tells you. Sometimes they want to give you the “bait and switch.”
  • Beware of companies that receive bad reviews.
  • Make sure to read up on companies that are advertising personal loan offers like Corey Advisors Reviews, Pennon Partners, Jayhawk Advisors, Clay Advisors, Pine Advisors, Credit9 Reviews and Americor Funding.
  • Do your homework. Don’t take the first offer that comes your way. Read reviews on personal loan websites like Best 2020 Reviews.

After the loan approval, you can adopt multiple strategies. If you have more than one medical bill, you can focus on them at the same time, or you can pay off one large bill at once. For convenience, try to find loans with a low-interest rate and make sure that you can pay back without facing any penalties. It is important to learn the truth about debt consolidation.

Medical Debt Collections doesn't always make sense

2.    
Credit Cards

Usually, credit cards come up with high-interest rates—more
than an unsecured or secured loan. Perhaps, this is why many financial experts
discourage the use of credit cards for medical debt.

That being said, some credit card types can offer favorable
conditions. These are the 0% APR introductory offer cards and the medical
credit cards. Both of them boast initial periods that have little to no
interest. To make the most of this option, you must calculate how to repay all
the medical debt during the window of low interest. If you are confident that
you can pay back the loan in the low-interest period, it essentially works the
same as a low-interest loan. Unfortunately, if you cannot pay it within the low-interest
window limit, then you will be forced to pay a significantly high-interest rate,
even more than a conventional credit card.  

3.    
Debt Management Program

If for some reason, you don’t like the idea of taking a personal loan or go with the credit card option, then a debt management program is a worthy alternative.

In a debt management program, you avail the services of a
credit counseling agency. They carry on negotiations with your creditors and
formulate a payoff plan. You pay monthly payments to the agency, which goes on
to pay the creditors. However, your creditors continue to send billing
statements, so you can keep an eye on how much of your debt is reduced.

The good news about this process is that it allows saving
finance charges and other fees. On the flip side, it forces you to close out
your credit accords, which can lower your credit score.

How to Move Forward If Medical Debt Is in Collections?

Your credit score can be affected if your medical debt gets
reported. A doctor or hospital rarely reports an outstanding bill, but if they
hand it over to a collection agency, the odds are stacked against you.

Once your medical debt makes its way to the collections, you
can no longer take it passively. Look for any options to pay off the debt as
soon as possible. To do this, you can hold negotiations with the collection
agency to decrease the owed amount.

You might not be too thrilled to know that medical debt
stays on the credit report for seven years. Meanwhile, make sure that you don’t
get late in payment related to other accounts and boost your debt-to-available
credit ratio.

If medical
debt consolidation does not seem like the best option, you have multiple
other options to choose from.

Medicaid

If your income matches the income criteria and household
size, then Medicaid can offer much-needed respite to pay off your medical
costs. Go to a local social services agency or health department to apply for
Medicaid. You will be required to show bank statements and monthly expenses.
This option can go on to cover your whole debt. But, make sure to remain
transparent during the whole process and report your income changes—both increase
and decrease—regularly.

In-House Medical Financing

One of the least popular methods to reduce medical debt is
to use the in-house financing option offered by the medical provider. In such a
program, a structure repayment plan is made with interest. Going by the owed
amount, you might either reduce your payment or receive a longer payoff time.
This option caters to people with poor credit who are unable to get favorable
rates for a personal loan or credit card. The drawback is that it comes with a
higher interest rate.

Final Thoughts

By following the right track, you can pay off your medical
debt without any hiccups, thanks to a wide range of available options. However,
when it does make sense, medical
debt consolidation can add a lot of value and help you get out of the
debt quickly.

If you have made up your mind to go with medical debt consolidation, avoid subprime lenders who have are notorious for offering high-interest rates to consumers with poor credit.

If you think you have too much debt, read A Review of Enron.

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What is a Credit Builder Loan and Where Do I Get One?

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Your credit score plays an important role in your financial life. If you have good credit you can qualify for loans and borrow money at lower interest rates. If you don’t have a credit score or have poor credit, it can be hard to get loans and you’ll be forced to pay higher rates when you do qualify.

Building credit can be like a chicken and egg problem. If you have no credit or bad credit, you’ll have trouble getting a loan. At the same time, you need to get a loan so you have an opportunity to build credit.

 

What Is a Credit Builder Loan?

A credit builder loan is a special type of loan designed to help people who have poor or no credit improve their credit score.

In many ways, credit builder loans are less like loans and more like forced savings plans. When you get a credit builder loan, the lender places the money in a bank account that you can’t access. You then start receiving a monthly bill for the loan. As you make those payments, the lender reports that information to the credit bureaus, helping you build up a payment history. This improves your credit score.

Once you finish the payment plan, the lender will release the bank account to you and stop sending bills.

In the end, you’ll wind up with slightly less money than you paid overall, due to fees and interest charges. For example, let’s say you get a credit builder loan for $1,000, the lender may make you make a monthly payment of $90 each month for a year. After the year ends, you’ll get the $1,000 from the lender, but may pay $1,080 overall.

Why Get a Credit Builder Loan?

The main reason to get a credit builder loan is right in the name: They help you build your credit. If you don’t have any credit history or if you’ve damaged your credit by missing payments, it’s much easier to qualify for a credit builder loan than a traditional loan from a lender.

The companies offering credit builder loans take on almost no risk because they don’t give you the money until you’ve finished paying the loan, so they’re willing to approve people who have severely damaged credit.

Credit builder loans will help you build your credit history if you make your monthly payments, but you do have to pay fees and interest to do so. There are other ways to build credit that don’t require paying any money. For example, if you get a fee-free credit card and pay your balance in full each month, you’ll build credit without paying any interest or fees.

This makes credit builder loans best for people who have tried and failed to qualify for other loans and credit cards.

There is also some value in the forced savings provided by credit builder loans, but the interest and fees eat away at that savings. If saving is your goal, it’s best to use a different strategy to help you save, but if you want to save and build credit at the same time, a credit builder loan might be worth using.

Where to Find Credit Builder Loans?

There are many companies that offer credit builder loans. Each lender offers different loan terms, fees, and interest rates.

One of the top credit builder loan providers is Self. The company offers credit builder loans with payment plans as low as $25 per month, making it easy for almost anyone to afford a credit builder loan.

With Self, you can also qualify for a Visa credit card after you’ve made at least 3 payments on your credit builder loan and made $100 of progress toward paying off the loan. You can set your own credit limit, up toward the total amount of progress you’ve made on the loan.

The card doesn’t have any additional upfront costs and can help you gain experience with using a credit card. It can also help you build your credit by giving you another account to make payments on, providing you with more opportunities to build a good payment history.

Visit Self or read the full Self Review

What to Look for?

When you’re looking for credit builder loans, there are a few factors to consider.

The first thing to think about is the monthly payment. The point of a credit builder loan is to show the credit bureaus that you can make regular payments on your debts, which will help build your credit score. If a lender’s minimum payment is more than you can afford each month, you won’t be able to build your credit with that lender’s credit builder loan.

It’s also important to think about the cost of the loan. Credit builder loans often come with stiff fees and you also have to pay interest on the money you’ve borrowed, even if you don’t get access to it until you pay the loan off.

The fewer fees and the less interest you have to pay, the better. You should look very carefully at each lender’s fee structure to choose the best deal.

Finally, take some time to see how easy it is to qualify. While credit builder loans are targeted at people with bad credit, some lenders will still check your credit history and might deny your application.

If you have very bad credit, you might want to look for a lender that advertises credit builder loans with no credit check.

Alternatives to a Credit Builder Loan

Credit builder loans can be a good way to build credit for some people, but they come with interest charges and fees. There are other ways you can build credit worth considering. Some of them won’t cost any money, which may make them a better choice than a credit builder loan.

Secured Credit Cards

A secured credit card is a special type of credit card that is much easier to qualify for than a typical card.

With a secured card, you have to provide a security deposit when you open the account. The credit limit of your card will usually be equal to the deposit you provide. For example, if you want a $200 credit limit, you’ll have to give the card issuer $200 as collateral.

Because you give the lender cash to secure the card, it’s much easier to qualify for a secured credit card. The lender assumes almost no risk. Once you get the card, it works like any other credit card. You can use it to spend up to your credit limit and you’ll get a bill each month. If you pay the bill on time, you can build credit.

Many secured cards charge high interest rates and have hefty fees, but there are some fee-free options available. One great secured card is the Discover it Secured Credit Card, which has no annual fee and offers cash back rewards.

Become an Authorized User

Most credit card issuers let cardholders add other people as authorized users on their accounts. Authorized users get their own cards and can use them to spend money just like the main cardholder.

Some issuers will report account information to the credit reports of both the main cardholder and any authorized users. If you know someone that is willing to make you an authorized user on their credit card account, this may help you build your credit so you can qualify for a card of your own.

Not every issuer will report information to authorized users’ credit reports. It’s also worth keeping in mind that if you become an authorized user on a card and the cardholder stops making payments or racks up a huge balance, that will show up on your report as well, damaging your credit further. That can make this strategy risky.

Personal Loans with a Cosigner

Personal loans are highly flexible loans that you can use for almost any reason. If you need to borrow money, you can try to find someone who is willing to cosign on the loan. Having a cosigner can make it easier to qualify, even if you have poor credit, giving you a chance to build your credit score.

When someone cosigns on a loan, they’re promising to take responsibility for your debt if you stop making payments. Lenders will look at both your credit and your cosigner’s credit when you apply, so having a cosigner with strong credit can help you get the loan or reduce the interest rate of the loan.

Keep in mind that your cosigner is putting themselves at risk by cosigning on a loan. It’s even more important that you make your payments every month. If you don’t, your cosigner will have to pick up the slack.

Personal Loans without a Cosigner

Even if you have poor credit, you may be able to qualify for a personal loan designed for people that don’t have strong credit. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to pay higher fees and interest rates to compensate for your poor credit score.

If you’re looking for a personal loan and have poor credit, shopping around for the best deal becomes even more important. You can use a loan comparison site, like Fiona, to get quotes from multiple lenders so you can find the cheapest loan.

Related: Best Emergency Loans for Bad Credit

What Is the Difference Between a Credit-Builder Loan and a Personal Loan?

A personal loan is a type of loan that you can get for almost any reason, such as consolidating debts, starting a home improvement project, paying an unexpected bill, or even going on vacation. They’re offered by many lenders and banks.

A credit builder loan is less a loan and more a forced saving plan. When you get a credit builder loan, the lender doesn’t actually give you any money. Instead, it places the amount you’re borrowing in an account you can’t access. Once you finish paying the loan, the lender releases the money in that account to you.

Credit builder loans tend to be much easier to qualify for than personal loans because the lender doesn’t have to take on much risk. They’re mostly used by people who want to build or rebuild their credit score.

On the other hand, personal loans are less popular for building credit and more useful for providing funding when borrowers need cash to cover an expense.

Related: Best Prepaid Credit Cards That Build Credit

Pros and Cons of a Credit Builder Loan

Before applying for a credit builder loan, consider these pros and cons.

Pros

  • Easy to qualify for
  • Helps you build savings
  • Payments are usually small
  • Helps you build payment history

Cons

  • Not really a loan
  • Fees and interest rates can be high
  • There are cheaper alternatives to build credit

FAQs

These are some of the most frequently asked questions about credit builder loans.

Like most loans, it is possible to repay a credit builder loan ahead of schedule, but there are a few downsides to consider. One is that many lenders add an early repayment fee to their loans, so you’ll have to pay that fee if you want to get out of the credit builder loan. The other is that repaying the loan early somewhat defeats the purpose. Each monthly payment you make toward the loan helps you build your credit. If you pay the loan off early, you’ll make fewer monthly payments, which means less improvement in your credit.

Missing a payment on a credit builder loan is like missing a payment on any loan. You’ll likely owe a late fee and it will damage your credit. This is one of the reasons it’s important to make sure you can afford the monthly payment before signing up for a credit builder loan. If you can’t make your payments, the loan will wind up damaging your credit instead of helping it.

Final Thoughts

Credit builder loans can be a good way to build or rebuild your credit, but they’re not your only option. They often involve paying fees and interest, so you should search around for the best deal or look for cheaper (or free) alternatives, such as secured credit cards.



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How to lower your credit card interest rate and save money

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Why pay high interest on your credit cards when you can simply bargain a lower rate? These tips can help you save big money on your bill.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A lot of people have struggled to pay their bills during the COVID-19 pandemic and many have turned to credit cards so they can kick the can down the road. Now the time has come to pay it down and some of the bills are eye-popping. 

Did you know you can bargain that interest rate down and save quite a bit of money?

You could ask for a lower rate, but according to a new study, you can bargain down 10 percentage points. So, if your interest rate is 24%, it could mean paying 14% instead. That’s still high but it’s a lot better than 24% interest. 

These numbers are staggering and can be a bit overwhelming. Americans have an average credit card balance of $5,300, totaling $807 billion across 506 million credit card accounts. Why are these numbers important? Because they want to keep you spending, which means you have leverage to bargain.

“It is absolutely possible to negotiate your rate down. In fact, your chances of doing so are better than you think they are. Close to 80% surveyed said they did just that,” Matt Schultz, an industry expert with LendingTree, said. “You can save serious money, especially if your balance is bigger.”

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You have to try, and you have to keep trying, even if the lender says no. Take it higher to a manager and keep pushing. Drops of 10% are possible and that could save you hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of dollars. 

RELATED: VERIFY: Can your stimulus check be seized by banks or private debt collectors?

“So, a lot of people have bad credit, some are thankful to have it at all. Is it possible for them too? Yes, absolutely it’s possible,” Schultz said. “Credit card companies are willing to talk with you because they want to keep your business. It benefits them to lower your rate to keep their card in your wallet.”

Paying down debt is liberating. Less debt is more buying power but you must advocate for yourself. If you don’t, the card companies are just as happy to take your money at the higher rate. 


LendingTree offers these suggestions if you plan to ask for a lower rate: 

How to ask for a lower APR

Before you make the call, come armed with ammunition in the form of other offers you’ve seen at a site like LendingTree.com or that you may have received in your snail mail. Take that offer and use it to frame the conversation: 

“I’ve been a good customer of yours for a long time and I like my card. However, the APR is 25% and I’ve just been offered one with a 19% APR. Would you be able to match it?” 

As survey data shows, they’ll likely be willing to work with you, at least to some degree.

RELATED: ‘ I was very grateful’ | WCNC Charlotte breaks through red tape to help woman get money she was owed

How to ask for a waived annual fee

Before you make the call, think about what you will accept. If you ask for a fee to be waived altogether and they only offer to reduce it, is that good enough? What if they offer you extra rewards points or miles or make some other counteroffer instead of a reduced fee? And perhaps most important, what if they say no? 

As with many negotiations, you have more leverage if you’re willing to walk away, so that could be an option. However, you shouldn’t make that threat unless you’re willing to follow through with it, and you shouldn’t follow through with it unless you’ve thought about what that would mean for your credit.

How to ask for a waived late fee

Just pick up the phone and be polite. If you’re a long-time customer with good credit and this is your first offense, the odds are in your favor. In fact, some card issuers will even waive a first late fee as a matter of policy. If you’ve been late multiple times in the recent past, however, your chances probably aren’t as good. Even so, it never hurts to ask.

How to ask for a higher credit limit

Start with a number in mind based on your current limit. The average increase reported in our survey was about $1,500, but your situation will vary. If your current limit is $500, a $1,500 bump might be asking too much. However, if your current limit is $5,000, that request might be just fine. 

Think about why you’re asking for the increase — for some extra spending power or to help your credit score — and then decide what to ask for. Just remember that it’s always better to start a negotiation by asking for a little too much. That way, when you negotiate, you can give a little bit and still get what you want.


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Can A Moving Loan Help Your Relocation? Find Out Here – Forbes Advisor

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Editorial Note: Forbes may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.

Whether you’re relocating to another city or state, moving can be expensive. You might need money to pay for a moving van or movers, new furniture or your security deposit. If you don’t have money on hand to cover those expenses, a moving loan can help you fill in the gap.

Before you take out a relocation loan, learn what they are and how to compare your options to understand if it’s a good choice for your situation.

What Is a Moving Loan?

A moving loan—also referred to as a relocation loan—is an unsecured personal loan you can use to help cover your moving expenses. Unsecured loans don’t require you to use a personal asset to secure the loan. Because the loan is unsecured, lenders base your eligibility on factors like your credit score, income and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Like with other types of personal loans, you’ll have to repay your loan through fixed monthly installments.

When Should You Get a Moving Loan?

Although the answer varies based on your financial circumstances, it may make sense to get a moving loan if you can secure a good interest rate and can afford to repay the loan as promised. However, if you believe it might be hard for you to repay the loan, then it’s probably a good idea to avoid taking one out. Falling behind on payments can damage your credit score, making it harder for you to qualify for future loans.

How to Get a Moving Loan

  1. Search for lenders: To find lenders that offer relocation loans, search for the best personal loans online. A good place to start might be a lender comparison website. While there, carefully review the terms, minimum credit score requirements, fees and annual percentage range (APR) range of each lender. In addition, you can check with your local bank or credit union to see if it offers personal loans for moving.
  2. Prequalify with multiple lenders: Once you narrow down your list of the best lenders, prequalify with each one of them (if available). This allows you to see what terms and APR you might receive if approved. Make sure the lender does a soft credit check to protect your credit score from any pitfalls.
  3. Determine the amount you need to borrow: Estimate your moving or relocation expenses to see how large of a loan you need to take out. Different lenders have different minimum loan amounts. Also, some states have rules about the minimum amount you can borrow, which may affect the size of your loan.
  4. Apply for your moving loan: After you select the lender that matches your needs, complete the application process. Prepare to provide the lender with personal information, such as your income, date of birth and Social Security number (SSN). Some lenders will require you to provide W2’s, pay stubs or bank statements to confirm your income.
  5. Wait for the lender to make a loan decision: After you apply, wait for the lender to review your application. Some lenders might approve you within seconds, while others may take longer. If a lender denies your loan, ask them for an explanation. Applying with a co-borrower or co-signer, improving your credit score, reviewing your credit report for errors or requesting a smaller amount may improve your chances of approval.
  6. Sign the loan agreement and receive funds: Once approved, the lender will send you a loan agreement to sign. After you sign the agreement, the lender will most likely deposit your funds directly into your account. The time of funding varies for different lenders—some lenders can issue the funds the same day while others may take a week or longer.
  7. Repay your loan: Finally, repay your loan as promised. Making late payments or defaulting on the loan can damage your credit score. Setting up autopay is one way to ensure you’ll never miss a payment.

Pros of Moving Loans

  • Quick access to funds: If your loan application is approved, some lenders may deposit your funds into your bank account the same day or within a week.
  • Flexible loan terms: Some lenders allow you to take out personal loans for moving with loan terms as short as 12 months and as long as 84 months. A long-term loan may have a lower minimum monthly payment, which might better suit your budget. However, the downside is that you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan.
  • Lower interest rates than credit cards: The average interest rates for personal loans are usually lower than those for credit cards. If you have a good credit score (at least 670) and a stable income, you may be able to secure a good interest rate—an interest rate that’s lower than the national average.
  • No collateral required: Since loans for moving typically require no collateral—an asset that secures the loan—you won’t have to worry about a lender taking your asset (at least without a court’s permission).

Cons of Moving Loans

  • Fees: Some lenders charge origination fees between 1% and 8%—these fees can be a huge drawback since the lender usually subtracts them from your loan amount. Other common personal loan fees include application fees, returned check fees, late payment fees and prepayment fees.
  • Potentially high interest rates: If you have less-than-stellar credit or minimal credit history, your lender may charge you high interest rates. Some lenders have APRs above 30%.
  • Missed payments can damage your credit score: If you miss a payment or default on the loan, it can damage your credit score. This will make it more difficult for you to qualify for future loans.

Moving Loan Alternatives

If you want to avoid the potential cons of a relocation loan, consider these alternative options to help cover your moving expenses or rent.

0% APR Credit Card

Borrowers with good to excellent credit scores (at least 670) can avoid paying interest and high fees with a 0% APR credit card. These cards come with interest-free promotion periods, which can last for up to 21 months. If you pay off your balance before the promotion period expires, you won’t have to worry about paying interest. However, providers will charge interest on unpaid balances once the introductory period ends.

Family Loan

Family loans are another way to avoid paying interest or to pay minimal interest when it comes to your relocation expenses. With this option, you can also avoid the formal loan application process. The loan agreement between you and the family member should spell out the terms and conditions of the loan. Repay the loan as promised to avoid causing damage to your relationship.

Payday Alternative Loan

If you can’t qualify for a relocation loan or have trouble finding moving loans for bad credit, consider using a payday alternative loan. Some federal credit unions offer these loans, which are designed to help you avoid the high-interest charges of payday loans. You can borrow up to $2,000; loan terms range from one to 12 months and the maximum interest rate is 28%. To use this option, you must be a member of a federal credit union or be eligible for membership.

Savings

Instead of using a personal loan for moving, it might be better to use your savings, if possible. If you know how much it will cost, then create an automatic savings plan to cover most or all of your relocation expenses.

Relocation Package

If you’re moving for a new job, ask your new employer if it will cover some of your relocation expenses. Some employers offer this to employees as an incentive to accept the job offer. Even if the employer doesn’t offer this, you can ask for a relocation bonus or try negotiating a higher salary.

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