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Consolidating debt with a credit card

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Are you considering credit card debt consolidation to simplify your bills? Before you sign up, you need to understand what it is and if it can really be beneficial to your specific situation.

Credit card debt consolidation basically means merging or combining your multiple credit card bills into one new “bundled” credit card debt, with much lower / more manageable monthly payment. So instead of having to pay multiple issuing banks or creditors, you just need to pay a single bill and single bank each month. Some creditors waive off penalties (late payment charges, overlimit charges, etc.)

Consolidating all your debt using your credit card may seem like a good idea, and it probably is. However, it also has some downsides. Here are the pro’s and con’s of consolidation.

PRO’s:

  1. Lower interest rate and monthly payment – You can enjoy significantly lower interest rates when you consolidate, allowing you to gain back control of your monthly cash flow. Paying a lower amount to only one creditor gives you some breathing room to build up a savings account.
  2. Simpler bills management – You no longer have to worry about multiple bills. When you consolidate debt, you only have to make a single payment. There’s almost no chance you’ll ever forget to pay again.
  3. Improved credit score – If you pay your new consolidated debt regularly and on time, you slowly clean up your credit history and thus improve your score.

CON’s:

  1. Longer payment period – The consequence of paying less interest is paying longer. For instance, it may only take you two years to wipe off your debt without consolidation if you are disciplined. With consolidation, it may take you three years.
  2. Higher overall cost – In some instances, the total amount of interest paid over a longer period is actually higher.

Debt consolidation using a credit card may be a good short term solution for people who really need some financial order and breathing room as soon as possible. If you don’t trust yourself to pay off your current credit card debt without consolidating, then perhaps this solution is for you. However, if you can stick to a routine of paying as much as you can on your current debt, you may end up saving more money if you do not consolidate.



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