BEST OF

Best Debt Consolidation Loans of July 2021

Debt consolidation loans help borrowers combine multiple high-interest debts into a single payment. Compare our picks for the best loan options for all credit scores.

Steve NicastroJul 1, 2021
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If you’re like many Americans with high credit card balances, you may be looking for ways to get your debt under control. Debt consolidation loans are one option that can reduce your debt and help you pay it off sooner.

Debt consolidation is the process of combining multiple debts — such as credit cards, medical bills and payday loans — into one debt with a fixed monthly payment. Consolidating debt with a personal loan works best if the rate on the loan is lower than the combined interest rate on your existing debt.

When comparing debt consolidation loans, look for low rates, flexible terms and consumer-friendly features such as direct payment to creditors.

Summary of Best Debt Consolidation Loans of July 2021

Our pick for

Fair credit and paying off credit card debt

Payoff
Check rate

on Payoff's website

Payoff

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Payoff

Est. APR

5.99 - 24.99%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $40,000

Min. Credit Score

640
Check rate

on Payoff's website


Min. Credit Score

640

Key facts

Payoff, which lends only to people consolidating credit card debt, requires a minimum credit score of 640 and two years of credit history. It offers financial guidance to help you stay on top of loan payments.

Pros

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors.

  • Reports payments to all three major credit bureaus.

  • No prepayment or late fees.


Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

  • Requires several years of credit history.


Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 640.

  • Minimum credit history: Three years.

  • At least two open accounts on credit report.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 50% (excluding mortgage).

  • Free cash flow: At least $1,000.

  • Zero credit delinquencies.

  • Must be able to provide income verification.

  • No bankruptcies filed within the past two years.

  • Must provide Social Security number.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 5%.

Disclaimer

This does not constitute an actual commitment to lend or an offer to extend credit. Upon submitting a loan application, you may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income, assets, and financial condition. Your interest rate and terms for which you are approved will be shown to you as part of the online application process. Most applicants will receive a variety of loan offerings to choose from, with varying loan amounts and interest rates. Borrower subject to a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Refer to full borrower agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.

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Our pick for

Good credit and low rates

Lightstream
Check rate

on LightStream's website

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lightstream

Est. APR

4.49 - 20.49%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

Min. Credit Score

660
Check rate

on LightStream's website


Min. Credit Score

660

Key facts

LightStream offers no fees and low rates for borrowers with good credit. The lender also allows joint applications, which can increase your chances of qualifying for a debt consolidation loan or get you a lower rate.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Special features including rate beat program and satisfaction guarantee.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Several years of credit history; excellent-credit borrowers have at least five, according to LightStream.

  • Multiple account types within your credit history, like credit cards, a car loan or other installment loan and a mortgage.

  • Strong payment history with few or no delinquencies.

  • Investments, retirement savings or other evidence of an ability to save money.

  • Enough income to pay existing debts and a new LightStream loan.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. AutoPay discount of .50% points is only available when selected prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay will be .50% points higher. To obtain a loan, you must complete an application on LightStream.com which may affect your credit score. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 6.14% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $304.85. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. ©2021 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust, Truist, LightStream, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

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Our pick for

Fair credit and direct payment to creditors

Upgrade
Check rate

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Est. APR

5.94 - 35.97%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $50,000

Min. Credit Score

580
Check rate

on Upgrade's website


Min. Credit Score

580

Key facts

Upgrade requires a minimum credit score of 620, and some borrowers with high debt-to-income ratios may qualify. It also offers direct payment to creditors, which means it sends your loan proceeds directly to creditors, saving you the effort of paying off each debt.

Pros

  • Allows secured, co-signed and joint loans.

  • Offers rate discount with direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • Charges late fee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 580.

  • Minimum annual income: $35,000; average borrower income is $87,000.

  • Minimum credit history: 3 years.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 2.

  • Minimum monthly free cash flow: $800.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Varies between 55% and 65% including the loan you’re applying for and mortgage payments. To see your post-loan DTI, calculate your monthly payments on a personal loan, and then add them to your debt-to-income calculation.

  • Average loan amount is $10,000.

  • Average repayment term is 40 months.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 2.9% to 8%.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.94%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. Funds sent directly to pay off your creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear, depending on the creditor.

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Our pick for

Good credit and no fees

Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Check rate

on Goldman Sachs's website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Est. APR

6.99 - 19.99%

Loan Amount

$3,500 - $40,000

Min. Credit Score

660
Check rate

on Goldman Sachs's website


Min. Credit Score

660

Key facts

Online lender Marcus is an option for borrowers with good to excellent credit (a FICO score of at least 690). Its starting rates are lower than the average rate on credit cards, and it offers direct payment to creditors and flexible repayment options.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • Wide variety of repayment term options.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation loans.


Cons

  • No co-sign, joint or secured loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Must be 18 or over, 19 in Alabama and 21 in Mississippi and Puerto Rico.

  • Must have a valid U.S. bank account and Social Security or Individual Tax I.D. Number.

  • May need to provide proof of income, including recent pay stubs or bank statements.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 6 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. The availability of a loan offer and the terms of your actual offer will vary due to a number of factors, including your loan purpose and our evaluation of your creditworthiness. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans). Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions.

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Our pick for

Bad credit and fast funding

Upstart
Check rate

on Upstart's website

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

6.95 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $50,000

Min. Credit Score

580
Check rate

on Upstart's website


Min. Credit Score

580

Key facts

Upstart is a good option for those who have short credit histories and promising financial futures.

Pros

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Able to fund loans within one business day.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with some debt consolidation loans.

Cons

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

  • Charges origination fee.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 580.

  • Minimum credit history: None, this lending platform accepts borrowers with credit history too limited to produce a FICO score.

  • Minimum gross income: $12,000.

  • Employment: Full-time job, full-time job offer starting in 6 months, a regular part-time job, or another source of regular income.

  • Must have U.S. residential street address where borrower resides (unless military personnel on active duty).

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Valid email account required.

  • Personal bank account with U.S. routing number required.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 8%.

  • Late fee: 5% of past due amount or $15, whichever is greater.

Disclaimer

The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 24.4% and 36 monthly payments of $36 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.

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Our pick for

Good credit and joint loan option

Prosper
Check rate

on Prosper's website

Prosper

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Prosper

Est. APR

7.95 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$2,000 - $40,000

Min. Credit Score

640
Check rate

on Prosper's website


Min. Credit Score

640

Key facts

Peer-to-peer lender Prosper has rates and fees that compare to other lenders for good-credit borrowers.

Pros

  • Option to change your payment date.

  • Offers joint loan.

  • Offers wide range of loan amounts. 


Cons

  • No rate discount for autopay.

  • Charges origination and late fees.

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 640; borrower average is 726.

  • Minimum credit history: 2 years.

  • Minimum income: No minimum income requirement; borrower average is $113,000.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 50% (excluding mortgage); borrower average is 18% with housing payment.

  • No bankruptcies filed within the past year.

  • At least three open accounts on credit report.

  • Fewer than five credit bureau inquiries in the last six months.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Must provide Social Security number and a U.S. bank account.


Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 2.41 to 5%.

  • Late fee: $15 or 5% of unpaid amount (whichever is greater).

  • Insufficient funds fee: $15.

Disclaimer

For example, a three-year $10,000 personal loan would have an interest rate of 11.74% and a 5.00% origination fee for an annual percentage rate (APR) of 15.34% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 36 scheduled monthly payments of $330.90. A five-year $10,000 personal loan would have an interest rate of 11.99% and a 5.00% origination fee with a 14.27% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 60 scheduled monthly payments of $222.39. Origination fees vary between 2.41%-5%. Personal loan APRs through Prosper range from 7.95% to 35.99%, with the lowest rates for the most creditworthy borrowers. Eligibility for personal loans up to $40,000 depends on the information provided by the applicant in the application form. Eligibility for personal loans is not guaranteed, and requires that a sufficient number of investors commit funds to your account and that you meet credit and other conditions. Refer to Borrower Registration Agreement for details and all terms and conditions. All personal loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC.

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Our pick for

Excellent credit and flexible payment options

Discover
Check rate

on Discover's website

Discover® Personal Loans

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover

Est. APR

6.99 - 24.99%

Loan Amount

$2,500 - $35,000

Min. Credit Score

720
Check rate

on Discover's website


Min. Credit Score

720

Key facts

Discover offers direct payment to creditors and flexible payment options; borrowers can change payment due dates or defer payments. Discover also offers a free credit scorecard with your FICO score, number of recent inquiries and more.

Pros

  • No origination fee.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors.

  • Offers mobile app to manage loan.

  • Able to fund loans within one business day.

  • Wide variety of repayment term options.

Cons

  • Charges late fee.

  • No co-signed, joint or secured loan options.

  • No rate discount for autopay.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 720; borrower average is 750.


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Must have a minimum household income of $40,000.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: $39.

Disclaimer

This is not a commitment to lend from Discover Personal Loans. Your approval for a loan is determined once you apply and is based on your application information and credit history. Your APR will be between 6.99%-24.99% based upon creditworthiness at time of application for loan terms of 36-84 months. For example, if you get approved for a $15,000 loan at 6.99% APR for a term of 72 months, you’ll pay just $256 per month. Our lowest rates are available to consumers with the best credit. Many factors are used to determine your rate, such as your credit history, application information and the term you select. Not all applications will be approved.

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Best debt consolidation loans: Factors to compare

Annual percentage rates: The loan's APR represents its true annual cost, as it includes all fees and interest charges. Rates vary based on your credit scores, income and debt-to-income ratio. Use APRs to compare multiple loans. Choose a low rate with monthly payments that fit your budget.

Origination fees: Some lenders charge origination fees to cover the cost of processing your loan. The one-time fee typically ranges from 1% to 10% of the loan amount and is either deducted from your loan proceeds or added to the loan balance. Avoid loans that include this fee to keep costs down, unless the APR is lower than other no-fee loans.

Lender features: Some lenders offer consumer-friendly features like direct payment to creditors, which means the lender pays off your old debts once your loan closes, saving you that task.

Other features to shop for include free credit score monitoring and hardship programs that temporarily reduce or suspend monthly payments if you face a financial setback, such as a job loss.

Get the most with a debt consolidation loan

Build your credit: Loan approval is based mainly on your credit score and ability to repay. It may be possible to get a debt consolidation loan with bad credit, but borrowers with excellent credit (720 to 850 FICO) have more loan options and may qualify for lower rates. In either case, it can pay to build your credit before seeking a consolidation loan.

Add a co-signer: While co-signing carries some risks, it can help you qualify for a debt consolidation loan that you wouldn’t be able to on your own due to poor credit or low income.

Estimate your savings: Use a debt consolidation calculator to estimate your interest savings and new monthly payment, and to compare various loan options.

Shop around: Compare rates and terms at multiple lenders before applying for a debt consolidation loan. Most online lenders let you pre-qualify with a soft credit inquiry, which has no impact on your credit scores.

Plan ahead: Before your loan is funded, create a budget that allocates a percentage of your income toward debt repayment and track your repayment progress with a budgeting and saving app.

Curb spending: Avoid big expenditures on your credit cards as you pay off debt, but don’t close any of the cards. Canceling credit accounts can hurt your credit score.

Will debt consolidation hurt my credit score?

Consolidating your debt with a personal loan can help — and hurt — your credit score. When you use the loan to pay off your credit cards, you lower your credit utilization, which measures how much of your credit limit is tied up. Lowering your credit utilization can bump your credit.

On the other hand, applying for a loan requires a hard credit check, which can temporarily ding your credit score. And if you turn around and rack up new credit card debt, your credit score will suffer.

How to pre-qualify for a debt consolidation loan

Pre-qualifying for an online loan can get you access to potential loan terms, including the loan’s interest rate. You can pre-qualify with multiple lenders on NerdWallet to compare offers and find the lowest rate.

Last updated on July 1, 2021

Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for personal loans award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including soft credit checks, no fees, transparency of loan rates and terms, flexible payment options, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider the number of complaints filed with agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation of any sort for our reviews.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Debt Consolidation Loans of July 2021

Frequently asked questions