Take back control with debt consolidation
What is debt consolidation?
This is the process of rolling all of your debts into one easy-to-manage personal loan. Debt consolidation can make budgeting easier because you’ll only have to worry about repayments on one debt, as opposed to multiple.
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Why would you consolidate your debts?
By combining different debts into one personal loan, you only need to manage one debt and one interest rate. If you have credit card debt, the interest rate of a personal loan is typically lower. This means you may pay less interest overall.
Another benefit of consolidating your debts is you’ll have a clearer picture of your financial future. Because a personal loan provides a clear timeline to becoming debt-free, which may also help to reduce stress.
How long does it take to become debt-free?
This depends on your household budget and what you can afford. Choosing a longer loan term can mean paying less each month, which can reduce financial pressure. However, you may pay more in interest over the long term.
On the other hand, choosing a shorter term loan means paying more each month, but you’ll pay off your debt faster. Also, you’ll pay less in total interest compared to a loan over a longer period of time.
What are the steps to debt consolidation?
STEP 1: Work out how much you owe in total.
STEP 2: Apply for a personal loan for this amount.
STEP 3: If approved, the money is paid directly to each credit provider to clear your outstanding debts.
STEP 4: Consider cancelling your old accounts to avoid running up further debt. For instance, credit cards, store cards etc.
STEP 5: Pay off your personal loan over the agreed term.
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Comparing Plenti Personal Loans to major banks
Plenti has personal loans for debt consolidation that are very competitive when compared to the big banks.**
**Products shown do not represent all rates available from all lenders, or all rates available from the lenders presented. Plenti interest rate is based on a borrower with an excellent credit history using rates and fees applicable as at 15 February 2021. All other interest rates and fees displayed are as advertised by the respective lender on their website as at 15 February 2021 and may include short-term promotional offers. Comparison rates are calculated by Plenti. The actual product, rate, fees and charges you might be eligible for may be different based on your loan term, loan amount and credit characteristics.
Other fees and charges not shown here may apply. Rates shown are subject to change without notice. Information on this page does not constitute an offer of credit. Plenti Australia RE Limited does not provide credit assistance in relation to all products compared on this page. The displayed order of products shows the lowest monthly repayment as default or is based on your sorting options and does not represent a suggestion that a particular credit product is appropriate for you.
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Learn more about personal loans
What is a personal loan?
A personal loan sits somewhere between a home loan and a credit card loan. Unlike with a credit card, you need to sign a formal contract to access a personal loan. However, the process is easier and faster than taking out a mortgage.
Loan sizes typically range from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, while loan terms usually run from one to five years. Personal loans are generally used to consolidate debts, pay emergency bills or fund one-off expenses like holidays.
How long do personal loans take?
Depending on the lender, some personal loan applications can be approved in as little as one hour, or you may need to wait until the next business day. If approved, you may receive your money on the same day, the next business day, or within the week.
Can I get a personal loan if I receive Centrelink payments?
It is hard, but not impossible, to qualify for a personal loan if you receive Centrelink payments.
Some lenders won’t lend money to people who are on welfare. However, other lenders will simply consider Centrelink payments as another factor to weigh up when they assess a person’s capacity to repay a loan. You should check with any prospective lender about their criteria before making a personal loan application.
Where can I get a personal loan?
The Australian personal loans market contains dozens of lenders offering several hundred different products. Personal loans are available through a range of institutions, including:
- The big four banks (ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac)
- Smaller banks (such as Bank of Queensland, Bendigo Bank and MyState)
- Mutual banks (such as Heritage Bank, Greater Bank and Newcastle Permanent)
- Credit unions (such as People’s Choice Credit Union, BCU and Community First Credit Union)
- Non-bank lenders (such as Pepper Money, Liberty and RACV)
- Peer-to-peer marketplaces (such as Harmoney, SocietyOne and RateSetter)
There are three main ways to access personal loans. You can go through a comparison website, such as RateCity. You can use a finance broker. Or you can directly contact the lender.
How are personal loans regulated?
Personal lenders in Australia are regulated by ASIC (the Australian Securities & Investments Commission) and must follow responsible lending rules. That means they can’t lend money without making “reasonable inquiries” about a borrower’s financial situation and ensuring the loan is “not unsuitable” for them.
What are the pros and cons of personal loans?
The advantages of personal loans are that they’re easier to obtain than mortgages and usually have lower interest rates than credit cards.
One disadvantage with personal loans is that you have to go through a formal application process, unlike when you borrow money on your credit card. Another disadvantage is that you’ll be charged a higher interest rate than if you borrowed the money as part of a mortgage.
Does refinancing a personal loan hurt your credit score?
Personal loan refinancing means taking out a new loan with more desirable terms in order to access a more competitive interest rate, longer loan term, better features, or even to consolidate debts.
In some situations, refinancing a personal loan can improve your credit score, while in others, it may have a negative impact. If you refinance multiple loans by consolidating these into one loan, it could improve your credit score as you’ll have only one outstanding debt liability. Your credit may also improve if you consistently pay the instalments on time.
However, applying to refinance with multiple lenders could negatively affect your credit if your applications are rejected. Also, if you delay or default the repayment, your credit score reduces.
What do credit scores have to do with personal loan interest rates?
There is a strong link between credit scores and personal loan interest rates because many lenders use credit scores to help decide what interest rates to offer to potential borrowers.
If you have a higher credit score, lenders will probably classify you as a lower-risk borrower. That means they’ll be keen to win your business, so they may offer you a lower interest rate if you apply for a personal loan.
If you have a lower credit score, lenders will probably classify you as a higher-risk borrower. That means they might be concerned about you defaulting on the loan and costing them money. As a result, they might protect themselves by charging you a higher interest rate.
Can I merge my personal loan with my home loan?
Yes, you can refinance your home loan and, in the process, merge or consolidate your personal loan and home loan. By doing so, you can lower the number of debts you have, and you may also reduce the total interest you have to pay.
However, you should consult a financial advisor or a mortgage broker to confirm that you are decreasing your total outstanding debt, including interest payments. The repayment term for a home loan can be much longer than that for a personal loan, and by merging the two, you could be repaying a higher amount over the full term.
What is a bad credit personal loan?
A bad credit personal loan is a personal loan designed for somebody with a bad credit history. This type of personal loan has higher interest rates than regular personal loans as well as higher fees.
Is a personal loan a variable or fixed-rate loan?
Depending on the personal loan lender, you may be able to choose between a fixed and a variable interest rate. But, there are a few distinct differences between the two, so it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before deciding on what’s right for you.
A fixed interest rate loan gets you the convenience of knowing exactly how much you need to repay each fortnight or month. On the other hand, you generally won’t be able to make lump sum or advanced payments to close your personal loan early - or at least not without a penalty.
With a variable interest rate personal loan, you may be able to get a longer loan repayment term, with the option of paying off the loan early. You typically won’t need to pay any additional charges for an early full repayment either. The potential disadvantage with an interest rate that can change is that your repayment is not entirely predictable, as it can fluctuate with the market. However, you’ll likely have more options as more lenders offer a variable interest rate personal loan.
How do I consolidate my debt if I have bad credit?
The worse your credit history, the harder you will find it to consolidate your debts, because lenders will be less willing to lend you money and will charge you higher interest rates.
However, people with bad credit histories can make debt consolidation work by following this three-step process:
- First, find a lender willing to give you a bad credit personal loan. This process will be simplified if you go through a finance broker or use a comparison website like RateCity.
- Second, make sure the interest repayments on your new loan are less than the repayments on the loans being replaced.
- Third, instead of spending those savings, use them to pay off the new loan.
Can I repay a $3000 personal loan early?
If you receive a financial windfall (e.g. tax refund, inheritance, bonus), using some of this money to make extra repayments onto your personal loan or medium amount loan could help reduce the total interest you’re charged on your loan, or help clear your debt ahead of schedule.
Check your loan’s terms and conditions before paying extra onto your loan, as some lenders charge fees for making extra repayments, or early exit fees for clearing your debt ahead of the agreed term.
Should I get a fixed or variable personal loan?
Fixed personal loans keep your interest rate the same for the full loan term, while interest rates on variable personal loans may be raised or lowered during your loan term.
A fixed rate personal loan keeps your repayments consistent, which can help keep your budgeting consistent. You won't have to worry about higher repayments if your rates were to rise. However, on a fixed loan you’ll also potentially miss out on more affordable repayments if variable rates were to fall.