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“If the principal is paid down faster [than it would have been without the loan], the balance is paid off sooner, which helps to boost your credit score,” says Freeman.

For example, say an individual with three credit cards and a total of ,000 owing at a 22.99% annual rate compounded monthly needs to pay

“If the principal is paid down faster [than it would have been without the loan], the balance is paid off sooner, which helps to boost your credit score,” says Freeman.For example, say an individual with three credit cards and a total of $20,000 owing at a 22.99% annual rate compounded monthly needs to pay $1,047.37 a month for 24 months to bring the balances to zero.Home equity loans or home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are another form of consolidation sought by some people.

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“If the principal is paid down faster [than it would have been without the loan], the balance is paid off sooner, which helps to boost your credit score,” says Freeman.

For example, say an individual with three credit cards and a total of $20,000 owing at a 22.99% annual rate compounded monthly needs to pay $1,047.37 a month for 24 months to bring the balances to zero.

Home equity loans or home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are another form of consolidation sought by some people.

Usually, the interest for this type of loan is deductible for taxpayers who itemize their deductions.

“If you can get your bank to approve a loan, that’s great," says Tim Gagnon, assistant academic specialist of accounting at the D' Amore Mc Kim School of Business at Northeastern University.

,047.37 a month for 24 months to bring the balances to zero.

Home equity loans or home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are another form of consolidation sought by some people.

Usually, the interest for this type of loan is deductible for taxpayers who itemize their deductions.

“If you can get your bank to approve a loan, that’s great," says Tim Gagnon, assistant academic specialist of accounting at the D' Amore Mc Kim School of Business at Northeastern University.

If the same individual were to consolidate those credit cards into a lower-interest loan at an 11% annual rate compounded monthly, he or she would need to pay 2.16 a month for 24 months to bring the balance to zero.Although each lender will probably require different documentation depending on your credit history, the most commonly required pieces of information include a letter of employment, two months' worth of statements for each credit card or loan you wish to pay off, and letters from creditors or repayment agencies.If you have a good payment history with a bank, credit union or credit card company, asking that institution about a debt consolidation loan should be your first step.“Typically, the loan has to be paid off in three to five years,” says Harrine Freeman, CEO, and owner of H. Freeman Enterprises, a credit repair and credit-counseling service in Bethesda, Maryland, and author of “How to Get Out of Debt.” These types of loans don’t erase the original debt; they simply transfer all your loans to a different lender or type of loan.If you need actual debt relief or don't qualify for loans, it may be best to look into a debt settlement rather than, or in conjunction with, a debt consolidation loan.

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