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Finding the Consolidation Loans that You Need
By John Mussi
Consolidation loans can be very useful in a number of circumstances… they can be used to consolidate multiple loans at a single institution, to eliminate debts and combine them into a single monthly payment, and even refinance old loans into a single loan with a lower interest rate.
Different types of consolidation loans exist for people with a variety of different credit ratings, and are exceedingly useful in credit repair and avoiding bankruptcy. If you're shopping for consolidation loans then the process can seem confusing at times… there are several terms associated with these loans that can leave you scratching your head if you're not familiar with them.
Secured, or unsecured?
In the world of consolidation loans, security has nothing to do with making sure that the money isn't stolen. In this instance, “security” refers to whether or not some property of value (known as “collateral”) has been used to guarantee repayment of the loan.
If the loan is secured, then the value of the collateral (which is most often a vehicle such as an automobile or truck, or a piece of real estate such as a house) is used as a basis for the loan.
Consolidation loans that are secured enable the lender to legally take possession of the collateral and sell it off to get their money back if the borrower doesn't repay the loan.
Lenders don't like to possess property in this manner, as it costs them both time and money, but they'll do it if all other attempts to collect on the loan fail.
Unsecured loans, on the other hand, don't require any sort of collateral as a guarantee. There aren't many consolidation loans that are unsecured, and the ones that are usually either combine loans held at a single bank or are for relatively small amounts.
These loans have higher interest rates than their secured counterparts, but don't carry the possibility of having the collateral repossessed and sold (since there isn't any collateral to repossess or sell.)
So what are interest rates, anyway?
The way that banks and other lenders make money off of consolidation loans is by charging interest, or an additional amount that's added onto the borrowed amount at regular intervals.
Interest rates are expressed as a percentage, and that percentage of the remaining amount of the loan is added to the loan every month (or however often the interest is compounded, or calculated.)
The interest rates of consolidation loans can vary depending upon rates set by the government, bank or finance company promotions, the value of the collateral offered (for secured loans), and the credit history of the borrower. Ideally, you want the interest rate to be as low as possible… this means that you'll have less to pay back than you would with a higher interest rate.
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