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Debt Consolidation Traps and Pitfalls

Aug 23, 2008
If you've already taken out a debit consolidation loan with a financial services company, this article might not be of much help since the mistakes you've made probably cannot be undone. If you're on the verge of a loan or just started working with a consolidation company, read on to save yourself some time, money, and heartache.

First, a good debit consolidation company should be easy to work with. Keep in mind that they will be negotiating with your creditors to pay off your debits at a reduced rate, and in turn loan you the money to reimburse them. For this service, they'll want you to pay them back with interest and will likely try to charge you some sort of service fee. If they're honest, they should pass some of the savings that they negotiate with your creditors on to you. Be sure to make this a point of conversation with them. It's your money, and it's your debit, so don't be afraid to have honest conversations with the consolidation company. They are performing a service for which they make a very good living, so don't fall into the trap where you feel like they are doing you a favor. It's not a favor, it's a service, and you're paying them handsomely for it.

Once you're able to lay out all your debits and have a conversation with the company about terms of the repayment program, thank them, and tell them you'll be back in touch with them after you go through the entire process with one of their competitors. Again, they're not doing you a favor, so don't feel pressured into jumping at the first offer they throw your way.

Next, find another debit consolidation loan company and go through the same steps with them. List out your debit balances, the creditors, the interest rates, and the terms of the loans or cards. Do not reveal the terms of the original company's offer. You want them to objectively evaluate your situation and tell you what they can do to help (while making a tidy profit, of course).

Next, evaluate the offers and determine which one is better. Make sure you take into account interest rate, length of the loan, terms, and any service fees that they charge. If a company wants you to pay them an application or setup fee, count that towards your evaluation. Once you know who has the best offer, call the other company and give them the chance to beat it. You'll be astonished how willing debit consolidation companies are to lower their fees or interest rates in order to get your business. Remember, it's big business and big money.
About the Author
Allen Wright is a freelance writer who covers whatever financial topics hold his interest. Find out the next steps to take for debit consolidation and other debit consolidation loans here.
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