UFCU SPONSORED CONTENT — Every few years, it’s a good idea to check out current interest rates for borrowing money to see how yours compare. If your financial circumstances have improved since you borrowed money — whether a credit card, mortgage, or other debt — consolidating or refinancing might be right for you. Even if your circumstances haven’t improved, interest rates are at historic lows, and you may be able to get better rates and reduce your monthly payment. Read on for three actions that could help make your debt more manageable.
1. Refinance Your Debt
Refinancing means you replace a current loan with a new one. The new loan pays off the old loan, and you start over with new payment terms. Refinancing is a good option when the new interest rate is at least one full point below your current rate. This difference can affect both your monthly payment and the total interest that you’ll pay over the life of the loan. Often there are fees associated with refinancing. Make sure to ask about your options for paying the fees upfront or rolling them into the new loan total.
2. Consolidate Your Debt
Consolidating debt means combining multiple loans into one. Often the new consolidated loan has a lower interest rate. The benefit of a consolidated loan is that you only have one payment to make, versus multiple payments across many loans. This allows you to better manage your budget and make sure you’re getting the best rate and payment terms to pay off your debt. This is a good option if you have several high-interest loans or credit cards that you can restructure with a lower interest rate.
3. Transfer Your Debt
This is called a balance transfer, and it’s used for credit-card debt. With a balance transfer, you move the total balance of what you owe from one card to a new one with a low or 0% APR. This is a strategic way to pay down high-interest debt and save serious money on interest charges. There are fees associated with balance transfers, typically 3% to 5% of the total transferred. The lower interest rate often has a time limit, such as 21 months of 0% APR. This is a good option if you can commit to not using the new credit card and paying off the total within the given time frame.
Although interest rates are just one factor in debt reduction, they can be a powerful tool that is within your control. Stay on top of interest rates — getting yours as low as you can will contribute to your peace of mind.
If you’re looking for additional financial tips and tools to better plan, spend, save, and borrow, check out PlanU by UFCU. You’ll find options that range from talking with a financial health expert to creating a personalized resource center to meet your needs.