Best Loans to Pay Off Credit Cards

Taking out a loan to pay off your credit cards will allow you to streamline repayment efforts by merging all your outstanding balances into a single account. You could also save a bundle on interest. There are a few options to consider.

Paying Off Credit Cards With a Personal Loan

For consolidating credit card debt, according to Student Loan Hero, "personal loans will carry the biggest benefit if you're currently paying high interest rates on scattered accounts." Simply put by paying off your credit cards with a personal loan, you can streamline all your balances into a single product with a lower interest rate and only remit one payment each month (assuming the loan is large enough).

There are three types of personal loans to choose from when paying off credit cards, including:

Secured personal loan: A personal loan that is backed by an asset (such as a car or property) that will be used as collateral if you default on the loan agreement

Unsecured personal loan: A personal loan that is not secured by any type of collateral

Debt consolidation loan: A type of personal loan that behaves in the same manner as a secured or unsecured personal loan, but can be used only to settle outstanding debts (For this type of loan, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends that you read the fine print to ensure that hidden fees or costs do not accompany the loan).

Loan amounts typically range from $1,000 to $35,000, according to Bankrate. You will have to pay interest on the loan. The rate is determined by your creditworthiness, but it may be much lower than what you're paying in APR on your credit card. You may need a cosigner if you have less than perfect credit, or only qualify for a secured personal loan.

Exact figures vary by financial institution, though industry averages can be used to get a general idea of interest rates for personal loans.

  • According to, the average interest rate for an unsecured, fixed-rate 36-month loan is 9.22 for credit unions and 10.12 for banks across the nation (as of October 2016).
  • NerdWallet estimates that personal loan rates range between 10.94 and 28.64 percent, depending on the borrower's creditworthiness and the loan amount.

Personal loans with variable interest rates may be available from some lenders.

Personal loans are offered by most credit unions and banks around the nation. Check with lenders in your local area to inquire about personal loan products that may be available to you. To learn about their specific offerings, call their toll-free number or visit a physical branch.

You can also inquire about personal loan products from online consumer lending companies. A few online options to consider include:

UpStart is an online platform that offers personal loans with an APR starting at 13.75 percent. UpStart loans are ideal for consumers with minimal credit history. The company is mentioned as one the top personal loan providers by NerdWallet.

Lending Club is an online platform that offers personal loans with an APR starting at 14.75, and comes with more lenient credit terms to qualify. The Simple Dollar cites Lending Club as one of the best unsecured loan providers on the market.

Unfortunately, you may not qualify for a personal loan if you have less than perfect credit. If you do qualify, the interest rate may be higher than what you're already paying on your credit cards, which would defeat the purpose.

Borrowing Against Retirement Savings

If you have an IRA or 401(k), you may want to consider borrowing your own retirement funds as a way to get out of credit card debt. Forbes recommends using retirement funds as a good way to pay off credit cards, but only "if it's part of a long-term plan to get and stay out of debt."

Whether you can borrow enough to pay off your credit cards depends on how much you owe and how much money is in your retirement account. According to, the maximum loan that can be taken from a qualified retirement plan is the lesser of 50 percent of the vested account balance or $50,000.

Unfortunately, interest and fees will apply when you borrow funds from your retirement account and you will be taxed on the funds received. Additionally, in the event you're unable to pay back the loan in full, an early withdrawal fee of ten percent will be assessed.

In most instances, it doesn't take much effort to request a loan from your retirement account. All you have to do is reach out to your plan administrator. He or she will generally send or direct you to the applicable forms to get the process going. Once the request is processed, the funds will either be deposited into your account or you'll receive a check in the mail.

It's important to consider the loan-term implications of borrowing against your retirement account, as borrowing these funds prevents you from deriving the maximum benefit of compounding interest. Taking an early withdrawal (instead of a loan) would be even worse, since you would be compromising your nest egg (or future well-being) for the short-term benefit of playing off your credit cards.

Home Equity Loans: Not the Best Option

You may have considered taking out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) to pay off your credit cards, but this is definitely not one of the best options for paying off credit card balances. If you fail to make timely payments on the outstanding balance of this kind of loan, you could lose your home since it's being used as collateral. "If you have equity, you don't want to push yourself too close to 100% loan-to-value [because] you're endangering your home," notes Bankrate.

When deciding on the best loan to pay off credit cards, conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the loan options on the table are actually worthwhile. Otherwise, you could end up spending a bundle in interest to eliminate the outstanding balances.

Is Taking Out a Personal Loan to Pay Off Credit Card Debt Smart?

by Michael Roennevig

Consolidating multiple cards into one loan could make your debt more manageable.

If you and your partner are carrying balances on your credit cards, chances are you'll be paying a bunch of interest to your card issuers each month. You may be able to reduce this by rejiggering your debts. The best way to do this will depend on how much you owe and your personal circumstances. For some, taking out a personal loan will be the answer, while others may be better off doing things differently.

You could save money by taking out a personal loan if your credit card issuers charge you a high level of interest on the debt you've racked up. If you're just making the minimum payment on your cards each month, there'll be a good chance that taking out a personal loan that charges a lower rate of interest than your cards will save you a fair amount of cash. You can use credit card repayment calculators such as those provided by, the Federal Reserve and MSN to help you figure out exactly what you could save. Obviously, taking out an expensive payday loan that charges more interest than your credit cards won't be a good idea.

If you have a lot of credit card debt, you may not be able to get a personal loan that will cover it all. Because personal loans typically are unsecured, lenders only dish out large personal loans to customers who have top-notch credit. If you have a good enough credit score to get a large personal loan, you'll probably be able to get cheaper forms of finance. A secured loan, a cash-out refinance that allows you to release equity from your home or a home equity loan or line of credit will typically work out cheaper than an unsecured personal loan. If you do decide to go for a personal loan, avoid payday lenders at all costs. Stick to traditional banks or credit unions.

Taking out a new 0 percent balance transfer offer could be a better option than going for a personal loan if you have a good credit record and are pretty sure you'll be able to clear what you owe on your cards in a short period of time. You'll have to pay a fee to move a balance but won't pay any interest if you can get rid of your debt during the introductory period. Figure out how much you'll have to pay each month to get your debt paid off before your offer period ends, and set up a direct debit to pay this amount so you know you'll be rid of your debt in time.

You know where you are with a personal loan. The amount of interest you'll be charged will typically remain constant as long as you've taken out a fixed-rate product and stick to your payments. You'll also always know how much you'll have to pay each month. This is in contrast to most credit cards that offer variable rates and can change the amount they ask you to pay. Although taking out a fixed-rate personal loan could cost you a lot more than a 0 percent balance transfer card, it could suit you better if you don't have the discipline to pay down a balance in a short space of time.

Resist the urge to close down your credit card accounts if you do decide to pay them off with a personal loan. Doing so could pull down your credit score by increasing your debt-to-credit ratio and reducing the age of your oldest open credit line. Cut up your cards and forget about them if you're worried about using them to take out more debt. If you have any savings that aren't earning you any interest, consider using them to pay off your card debt. If any money you've got tucked away is earning you less money than your cards are costing you each month, doing so will be an absolute no-brainer.

Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.

6 Best Credit Card Loans to Pay Off Your Debt

Personal loan to payoff credit card debt

By: Brittney Mayer • August 23, 2017

Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

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Credit cards are a sort of amazing concept. Simply by filling out a few applications, you can go from having zero available credit to being able to sink yourself into thousands of dollars of debt — all in the practical blink of an eye.

When used responsibly, the easy availability of credit cards can be a great convenience, especially for those who use (and/or churn) credit cards for the rewards. But this can be as much a curse as a convenience when you end up on the wrong side of your balances.

When you have more debt than you can easily repay, spread across more cards than you can easily keep track of, one of the best solutions may be to consolidate your credit card debt with a personal loan. By obtaining a lower interest rate and putting your debt in one place, you can simplify your debt repayment process and get your finances back on track.

The Best Credit Card Loan Providers

To start the process of finding a loan to pay off your credit card debt, you need to have an exact goal in mind, as the type of loan you seek will depend largely on its purpose. In general, personal loans can be placed into one of two categories based on the length of the loan.

For instance, those loans that are designed to be maintained over a longer period of time, typically 12 to 72 months, are considered to be long-term loans. Long-term loans are also called installment loans, as they are repaid in regular, predetermined installments, often in the form of a monthly payment.

Loans that are intended to be short-term loans, often called cash advances, usually have terms ranging from 7 to 90 days. The majority of cash advances (and other short-term loans) are repaid in a single lump sum at the end of the loan period, consisting of the principal amount and any applicable financing or interest fees.

Consolidate Your Debt Long Term with a Personal Installment Loan

Cardholders in search of a loan to consolidate their debt should look for a long-term personal installment loan. The extended loan terms and installment repayment structure make them ideal for those who wish to make payments over time, as well as providing significantly lower interest rates than those offered for short-term loans.

Of course, as with everything else in consumer finance, the exact interest rate you receive will strongly depend on your personal credit situation, and you’ll see bad credit loans typically have higher rates. Online lending networks, such as those of our favorite providers, can be an easy way to compare multiple offers at once to ensure you get the best possible rate.

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As one of the major goals of consolidation is to decrease your monthly payments, consolidation is only truly effective if you can obtain a loan with a lower interest rate than you are currently being charged. You’ll need to compare your offered rates to your current interest rates to determine whether or not to accept a particular offer. This may be particularly important for those with poor credit, who tend to pay higher rates in general.

Avoid a Missed Payment with a Short-Term Cash Advance Loan

Unlike long-term installment loans, short-term loans are poorly suited for credit card consolidation due to the higher interest rates and typical lump-sum repayment structure. Furthermore, short-term loans have much lower caps on the size of the loan, typically maxing out at $2,500. That said, there may be some circumstances in which it is a preferable way to pay your credit card debt.

For instance, a short-term loan or cash advance may be an effective way of avoiding a missed credit card payment, thus preventing the negative credit score impacts of a delinquent account. As with long-term loans, the exact rate and fees you pay will vary by lender, so compare offers for the best deal. Start with our top-rated lending networks to find offers from multiple lenders at once.

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The biggest thing to watch out for when it comes to short-term or cash advance loans is the fact that they generally must be repaid all at once. Many of those who cannot afford to repay the loan as agreed will extend the initial loan or take out a second short-term loan to pay off the first, initiating a dangerous cycle that often results in an insurmountable pile of fees and debt.

If you think you may be unable to repay a short-term loan in its entirety on the required date, you should avoid taking on the loan. You may be better off contacting your creditors directly to negotiate a later payment date or some type of payment plan. If you cannot afford your current monthly payments, consider a long-term loan to consolidate your debt and lower your interest rate.

Personal Loans vs. Credit Cards: When to Use a Loan Instead

While personal loans and credit cards have some similarities — both are unsecured lines of credit, for example — each has particular uses for which it is best suited. For instance, credit cards can be an excellent way to make large purchases without needing to handle cash, to make online purchases, and to earn cash back or travel rewards.

Where credit cards are less suitable is as a source of cash in an emergency or as financing for large purchases you need to repay over time. On the other hand, this is exactly where loans excel. Short-term loans can provide handy cash when you need it, and installment loans were, quite literally, made for financing major purchases with a long-term repayment structure.

So what makes credit cards so bad at these jobs? Two words: interest rates.

Credit cards are revolving credit lines intended for short-term financing of purchases and are designed to be paid off at the end of each statement cycle. Since the creditor doesn’t expect you to carry a balance for long, the interest rates charged by the average credit card are often 16%-plus for even those with excellent credit and can range beyond 30% for those with poor credit.

Additionally, credit card cash advance APRs are usually even higher than purchase APRs, making it particularly expensive to use your credit card as a source of cash. The amount of cash you can get from your card is also very limited, typically restricted to 10% of your card’s overall credit limit.

Personal loan to payoff credit card debt

Personal installment loans, on the other hand, can be obtained for $35,000 or more, depending on your credit and income. They’re also specifically designed to be repaid over the course of a year, or more, meaning they have a certain amount of guaranteed interest (read: profit) built into the loan. For this reason, installment loans often have lower interest rates than credit cards or other short-term credit lines, with interest rates averaging around 10% for the most qualified applicants.

What to Expect from the Consolidation Process

Debt consolidation is the process of taking out a single, large loan to pay off several smaller debts, thus consolidating (combining) all of your outstanding debts into one debt. Ideally, the new loan will have a much lower interest rate than was charged by all of your previous credit lines, decreasing your overall monthly payment.

The first step for consolidating your credit card debt is to figure out which cards carry balances, the amount, and the current APR. This will enable you to see the size of the loan you will need, as well as what APR for which to aim. For example, if your credit card debt was distributed across four cards, A through D — as shown in the graphic — the ideal consolidation loan would be for $6,100, with an APR below 19%.

Personal loan to payoff credit card debt

Next will be researching your loan options, including determining your potential interest rate. This part is easy, as most providers will offer personalized quotes using a soft credit pull, which won’t impact your credit.

Once you’ve found a provider and been approved for a loan, your money will be distributed to the account you specify on your application. Typical distribution times range from 24 hours up to a couple of weeks, depending on the size and nature of the loan. When the money clears your account, you can pay your credit card balances in the usual manner.

If your credit card bills come due during the process, such as while waiting for the funds to be distributed, be sure to pay at least the minimum payments before the due date. Late and missed payments that are reported to the credit bureaus can have big, negative impacts on your credit score.

Work Smarter — Not Harder — To Pay Off Your Debt

Credit cards can be a great convenience and valuable financial tool — when used responsibly and in moderation. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for your credit card debt to grow out of control, with debt spread across multiple cards and balances reaching multiple digits.

As with credit cards themselves, using loans to pay off your credit card debt can be a valuable financial tool — when it’s done the smart way. Do your research, know the fees and interest rates you’ll be required to pay, and understand what to expect from the process before ever taking on new debt, even to pay off existing debt.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

We are considering a personal loan to pay off our credit card debt. Will this hurt our chances of getting a mortgage in the next 18-24 months?

Personal loan to payoff credit card debt

Personal loan to payoff credit card debt

We have approximately $35K in credit card debt. We are considering taking out a personal loan to consolidate and pay them off in 36-48 months.

Personal loan to payoff credit card debt

Although there are no guarantees, it is actually possible that the loan will be viewed in a much better light then a significant number of outstanding credit cards with balances unpaid. However if you going to do a refinancing and cleanup all your credit cards, you should seriously consider either putting them away or tearing most of them up. I will warn you, it's much too easy to use them all over again and this will in fact make it much more difficult to obtain a mortgage. Although interest rates remain incredibly low, banks are beginning to tighten up the requirements for lending and it would be in your best interest to inquire now as to how much of your gross and/or net income between you and your spouse is available as net cash flow. Each lending institution will have a certain percentage that they will allow for homeownership and its related cost and it might be anywhere from 20% to 30%. If you get this information ahead of time you will be much more ahead of the game in understanding what the requirements will be and in the meantime, you should have made some serious pay downs on the refinance loan. I sincerely hope this helps and good luck.

Personal loan to payoff credit card debt

Though I'd like to be more definitive, it can actually go either way. On the positive side, paying off a bunch of credit card debt should improve your credit score. And though you'll lose points for taking a new loan (the personal loan), that problem should correct itself by the time you apply for the mortgage (18-24 months).

But there's a downside to this too. If you take a personal loan for $35,000 over 36 months, you'll have a monthly payment of at least $1,000 per month. On a 48 month loan, it's likely to be around $800. Either way, a payment of that size may hurt your chances of qualifying for the mortgage that you want.

A better path might be to work to pay down the credit cards. If you can pay $1,000 per month, you will get the credit card balance down substantially by the time you apply for a mortgage. Let's say that in 18 months you apply for the mortgage, and you've paid the credit cards down to $20,000. The mortgage company will assign a minimum payment to that total of around $400 per month. That will be a lot better than the $800 - $1,000 on the personal loan.

Of course, the best of all worlds will be to take the personal loan, payoff the loan completely, then apply for the mortgage. With no debt, you'll be a very strong credit profile to the process.

personal loan to payoff credit card debt

Brace yourself for an intimidating statistic. As of June 2015, credit card debt in the U.S. totaled $906.5 billion, an average of $7841 of debt per U.S. household.

If you're one of these Americans with credit card debt, you may be making repayments with high interest rates - the average credit card interest rate is about 15 percent. But instead of dealing with sky-high interest rates, what if you could pay off your credit card debt with a much lower interest rate?

This has to be a fantasy, you might say. But you may be able to do this by using a personal loan.

Personal loans give borrowers access to funds to use at their discretion -- in other words, they allow consumers to use these funds for personal use.

These types of loans are typically unsecured loans, meaning they don't require you to put down collateral to obtain the loan. This is unlike secured loans like mortgages or a car loans, where you typically use your home or car as security for repayment of your loan - which your lender can take if you don't make your payments.

While personal loans may have higher interest rates than secured loans, they often offer lower interest rates than credit cards -- some as low as six percent, though you typically will only qualify for rates this low if you have excellent credit. The average credit card interest rate is close to 15 percent, although if you have excellent credit, you may qualify for a lower interest rate.

A personal loan may be an enticing option if you have a lot of credit card debt, as it could allow you to pay off your high-interest credit card debt and then pay off the personal loan at a lower rate. Typically, as most lenders have a $1,000 to $3,000 loan minimum, personal loans are a viable option only if you have several thousand dollars of debt.

In other words, using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt could help you save money on interest and potentially get out of debt faster.

Taking out a personal loan to pay off your credit card may make financial sense in the short term. But a personal loan may not be a viable long-term solution unless the root cause of debt is addressed.

Is your debt the result of an overspending issue or a lack-of-income issue? Whatever the cause may be, consider identifying and treating the cause of debt by making lifestyle and financial changes before taking out another loan.

Beverly Harzog, consumer credit expert and author of The Debt Escape Plan, offers another alternative to personal loans. "If you have an excellent credit score, you may be better off getting a balance transfer credit card that offers a zero percent introductory APR. This way, you can pay off the debt without paying interest." Of course, this is only true if you pay off your balance before the zero percent introductory APR period expires.

If your credit score isn't high enough to qualify, though, a personal loan may be a good option. Harzog says, "Your goal is to get an interest rate lower than the one you're currently paying on your credit cards."

What are some potential issues with using a personal loan to pay off credit card debt? Shannon McLay, founder of financial services company The Financial Gym says, "It's important to note that your interest rate with a personal loan may be lower than your credit card rates; however, you're locked into a set monthly payment for a specific period of time and this monthly payment may be higher than the minimum payments on your credit cards."

So you may save money on interest, but your overall payments could be higher and present a cash flow issue. And according to McLay, if you miss payments on your personal loan, it most likely will negatively impact your credit score.

Taking out a personal loan to pay off credit card debt is an unconventional alternative that could save you money over time. If you've treated the root cause of debt and have stable cash flow, a personal loan might be an attractive option.

However, it's important to read the terms and conditions and ask a lot of questions. Harzog advises borrowers to "read the fine print carefully and look for fees, such as loan origination fees and pre-payment penalties." Loan origination fees are charged by the lender and are typically a small percentage (5 percent or less, generally) of the total loan. Pre-payment penalties are additional fees added for borrowers who pay off their loans early.

And if you decide to take out a personal loan, try to work with a reputable lender.

How can you do this? "It's a good idea to check with a local credit union or your own community bank and see if you can get a personal loan that way. There are also loan comparison sites that can help you find the best rates. When you choose a lender, check the BBB (Better Business Bureau) to see if there have been any complaints before you sign a contract," Harzog says.

In short, a personal loan can be a viable option to pay off credit card debt, but it's important to do your research and to ensure it makes financial sense for you in the long run.

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2 People Helped

A personal loan is a good idea to improve your credit card debt ratio especially if it is very high. However, if you are really committed to paying down your debt quickly if you take the personal loan too quickly while your debt ratio is very high (your FICO score is low at this time) you will have to pay a higher interest rate. Therefore it helps if you could first cut down all your fixed and variable expenses for a few months and pay down the debt as fast as you can using any and as much of your savings as you think is not too risky. While doing this I noted that although my FICO scores and reports (the free ones) did not immediately show that I had paid down $15,000 in debt bringing down my credit card debt ratio from about 70% to about 46%, I noted that my personal loan offers started increasing much more quickly in terms of the number of loan offers and their lower interest rates. I started paying down my debt around the end of March 2016 at which time the interest rates for personal loans were about 20% and higher. Now about 2 weeks later even though the "free9quot; bank FICO scores and reports don't reflect my improved credit card ratio, the financial institutions making the personal loan offers have noticed that I have paid off about 10 credit cards and had a $3000 credit increase. Today I have had 11 personal loan offers from Lending Tree right here at CK for loans between 8,000 and 32,000 with interest rates mostly at the 10% rate thru 13% range with no hidden fees and no loan origination fees. However, I have decided to hold off on this and do it a bit later when my FICO score is clearly seen to be higher by the credit card institutions. You see I have about $29,000 in debt remaining on 3 credit cards. I am using bank A's credit card to do a balance transfer to bank B's credit card at a very low interest rate for about $3,000. A bit later I plan to use bank B's credit card to do a balance transfer on Bank A's credit card for $5,000. These 2 banks charge me a regular interest rate of 16% normally but on balance transfers its 0 thru 6% and with one of them with zero transfer fee. The 3rd credit card charges me 8% so I pay that balance of 9,000 a bit slower. This plan is already set so I have to be patient for another month or so for my FICO score to reflect my debt ratio drop consistently as I am doubling up on paying my big balance (about 15,000) to about $600 plus a month using the savings cash flow I have already reaped by eliminating 10 accounts with interest rates in the 21 to 27% range. As my debt ratio continues to go down aggressively I plan to apply for another big credit card that is like pre-approved with a soft credit check to be approved which at worst case I will be denied and lose about 2 FICO points for a little while. However, the odds are I will be approved as the FICO score is increasing with my aggressiveness. When the personal loan offers start dropping into the 6 to 12% range I will dip into them and wipe out the credit card debt that remains in the 16% range. The lesson learned here is that it is very easy for anyone to spend beyond their means but it takes aggressive single mindedness to get yourself out of the hole. Of course I will now ensure that I only carry one or two credit cards for emergencies, always use my debit/cash cards first and keep my credit cards minimally active at about 1 to 5 % debt usage once or twice a year to ensure that my creditors don't close those accounts. I will not need to apply for more credit cards unless I see one that is very prestiguous with a very low interest rate but I will at most do that only once a year. I am already beginning to feel a sense of "credit power" and although I am not yet into the "excellent9quot; FICO category, this issue already seems resolved. I now think that 12 to 16% is "high9quot; interest and a little while ago I would have jumped at those 11 offers. You can win this credit game if you really have a desire to do so.