Is consolidating your bills a good idea

Promotional interest rates expire — like 12 months of a 0% APR on a balance transfer card — so make sure you can repay your debt within that time frame. Failing to pay a personal loan as agreed will hurt your credit, so stay on top of your loan payments and work to build up a solid payment history.

No matter what credit card consolidation options you’re considering, be sure to ask about any fees you may have to pay and factor those numbers into your decision.

Credit card consolidation can affect your credit in many ways, depending on which strategy you choose.

For example, if you’re consolidating multiple balances onto one credit card, you’ll want to avoid maxing out that card’s credit limit because that will hurt your credit utilization rate (how much debt you’re carrying compared to your total credit limit).

Whichever option you choose, you will use it to pay off your multiple balances.

The best way to consolidate credit card debt — and whether consolidation will work for you at all — depends on your situation, so you might want to consult a non-profit credit counselor about your best options.

An error on any of your credit reports could prevent you from qualifying for the debt consolidation help you need, so You can get your free annual credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies — Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian.

And, Credit.com’s free credit report summary can help you understand what’s inside your credit report. There are several safe and smart ways to consolidate credit card debt, so you’ll want to research them before deciding what’s best for you.

You also may not want to close your old credit cards, as this can potentially ding your credit scores as well.

By keeping your old credit cards open, you will not lower your credit utilization.

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