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What Happens if I Can’t Pay the Debt Consolidation Loan?

This is a very good question to be asking your self before taking out any type of loan or making any financial commitments. Debt consolidation loans are becoming increasingly popular with consumers in today’s over indebted market place. They are often available to those with poor credit histories and other borrowers who are considered high risk for various reasons.

To get an understanding of the consequences that may arise from being unable to repay a consolidation loan, it is important to look at how the loans work and what they do. Debt consolidation loans are used by people who already have a fairly high amount of outstanding debt. This debt will be predominantly be composed of short term, high interest borrowing such as credit cards, store cards, overdrafts and other similar types of borrowing. These types of debts are among the most expensive on the market, with interest rates currently exceeding 25-30 per cent. This is an incredibly high price to pay for any kind of debt. However, they also have advantages. They are incredibly flexible, which means you can borrow as much or as little as you like, so long as you remain within your credit limit. You can also repay this debt as and when you like. Finally, these debts are generally unsecured which means they are not attached to any of your assets such as your home.

Debt consolidation loans will be far cheaper forms of borrowing, with interest rates often as low as 5 or 6 percent. So if you have a couple of thousand in outstanding loans, a debt consolidation loan can save you hundreds every month in interest charges, and may be the only feasible way of ever repaying the debt and clearing your balance. They will also be attractive because you can reduce all your outgoings into one, convenient monthly repayment which makes managing your finances and making repayments on time a far easier job. However, debt consolidation loans do lack the flexibility of these other forms of debt such as credit card balances. You cannot vary the amount you borrow as and when you like. The loan will be a fixed loan, for example, you can borrow £5,000, over 5 years at 7%. You cannot increase this to £6000 or pay it off earlier without calling the lender and specifically arranging to do this. And then, it may not be possible, or you may have to pay extra fees to do so. Therefore, debt consolidation loans do lack some of the advantages of the more expensive, more flexible forms of debt consolidation.

There is another major disadvantage of debt consolidation loans. You may have noticed in advertisements from debt consolidation lenders that they are only available to home owners. This is because the loan will be secured over your home. What this means is that if you fail to make the repayments, the lender can directly get the amount the lent you back by calling up your home, selling it, and taking what they are owed from the proceeds. This is a very serious consequence of failing to meet your repayments and the reason why you should consider very carefully whenever you are taking out any kind of secured loan.

Generally speaking, you will only have your mortgage secured over your home, which means if you fall behind on your repayments, the mortgage lender can sell your house to get the money they are owed. However, if you secure another loan, such as a debt consolidation loan over your home, then the same procedure can be used if you fall behind on these repayments.

If you think there is any chance that you will be unable to keep up with the repayments of the debt consolidation loan, then the best advice is not to take it out. It is putting a high risk on your home, and especially if you have children or other family obligations, this is a risk that you probably cannot afford to take.

However, there is another issue to consider in this regard. While credit cards and other short term debts may not be secured over your home, this does not mean that your home is entirely safe if you fail to keep up with all your repayments. While the process is slower and less convenient for the lender, it is the case that your home will be at risk with any debts that you cannot keep up with. This is because at the end of the day, if you cannot repay them, the lenders can go through the process of taking you to court and having you declared bankrupt, which will clear you of the debts, but you will lose your home and all other assets in the meantime.

Therefore, if you think you can meet the terms of a debt consolidation loan, and it will enable you to keep up with all your payments and commitments, then, after careful consideration, you may well decide that it is still the best way to go in your circumstances.

More Information:

  • Managing your debts - It is easy for debt to get out of control. Student loans, losing your job, becoming ill or any number of other unforeseen events can easily cause debts to mount up.
  • Consolidating Debts with a Loan - If it seems advertisements for debt consolidation loans are everywhere, it is because consolidated loans are big business. The primary reason for people taking out personal loans over the next year will be for debt consolidation.
  • Debt consolidation under OFT spotlight
  • Knee Deep In Debt - US government advice on debt consolidation


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