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 mortgage 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 repay the new loan.
In some instances, bad credit personal loans can help people with bad credit history to consolidate their debts in such a way that it makes it easier for them to repay those debts. This is because the borrower might be able to consolidate several debts with higher interest rates (such as credit card loans) into one single debt with a lower interest rate.
However, this strategy can backfire if the borrower spends the extra money instead of using it to repay the new loan. Another disadvantage of bad credit personal loans is that they have higher interest rates than regular personal loans.
Generally, bad credit personal loans can be used for one or more of the following purposes:
- Debt consolidation
- Paying bills
- Buying vehicles
- Moving expenses
Some lenders restrict how their bad credit personal loans can be used as part of their commitment to responsible lending – be sure to check before applying.
Few, if any, lenders would be willing to give guaranteed approval for a bad credit personal loan. Borrowers with bad credit histories can have more complicated financial circumstances than other borrowers, so lenders will want time to study your application.
It’s all about risk. When someone applies for a personal loan, the lender evaluates how likely that borrower would be to repay the money. Lenders are more willing to give personal loans to borrowers with good credit than bad credit, because there’s a higher likelihood that the personal loan will be repaid.
So a borrower with good credit is more likely to have a loan approved and to get that approval faster, while a borrower with bad credit is less likely to have a loan approved and to get that approval slower.
Your credit score will improve if you demonstrate that you’ve become more credit-worthy. You can do that by minimising credit applications, clearing up defaults and paying bills on time.
Another tip is to get the one free credit report you’re entitled to each year – that way, you’ll be able to identify and fix any errors.
If you want to fix an error, the first thing you should do is speak with the credit reporting body, which make take of the problem or contact credit providers on your behalf.
The next step would be to contact your credit provider. If that doesn’t work, you can refer the matter to the credit provider’s independent dispute resolution scheme, which would be the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
AFCA provides consumers and small businesses with fair, free and independent dispute resolution for financial complaints.
If that doesn’t work, your final options are to contact the Privacy Commissioner and then the Office of the Information Commissioner.
It may be much more difficult for a self-employed borrower to successfully apply for a personal loan if they also have bad credit. Many lenders already consider self-employed borrowers to be riskier than those in full time employment, so several self-employed personal loans require borrowers to have excellent credit.
If you’re a self-employed borrower with a bad credit history, there may still be personal loan options available to you, such as securing your personal loan against a vehicle of equity in a property, though your interest rates may be higher than those of other borrowers. Consider contacting a lender before applying to discuss your options.