Are you familiar with debt consolidation? This is a program that can help you to combine your debt into one monthly payment, often making it easier for you to manage your bills. While the program sounds great in principle, there are some things to watch out for. Continue reading to learn more about the ins and outs of debt consolidation.

Following debt consolidation, budgeting your money wisely will help you keep future debt to a minimum. Most people get in over their heads by over spending with credit cards, so learn to work with money you have rather than borrowing. Doing this will also make it easier to pay off your debt consolidation loans and improve your credit score.

Before choosing a debt consolidation company, ask how the counselors of the company are paid. If the answer is “on a commission basis”, then you may be best to look elsewhere. Someone working for commission will say or do many things that are less of a help for you and more of a help to their overall income.

Think about bankruptcy instead. Although bankruptcy might be the answer, it can really do a lot of damage to your credit. Although you’ll receive a bad mark, bankruptcy may benefit you if you cannot pay your debt off. If you cannot make payments, your credit is probably not the greatest and a bankruptcy won’t make it much worse. When you file for bankruptcy, you may be able to reduce your debt and start your financial recovery.

If you’ve got a very spotty credit history, understand that the loan rates you’ll get from any bank will be relatively poor. You may be denied a loan, or the interest rate that’s offered may be extremely high, 20% or more. You may need to look for professional help if this is the case.

Remember that debt consolidation isn’t for everyone. You’re a good candidate if you have multiple debts like medical bills, credit card bills, personal loans, unsecured debts, collection accounts, etc. Consider your interest rates because if they’re over 15%, you’re paying too much with financial charges every month, which is money that you could save or use for your retirement account. Finally, consider if you have a hard time making minimum payments, have gotten behind recently, or are close to your limits. If these apply to you, debt consolidation may be a solution.

Make sure the debt consolidation agency is certified. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is a great place to check first. This ensures you know you’re making a good decision and using a good company.

Don’t assume a credit transfer offer will save you money when consolidating debt. Look at the fine print. Often there’s an initial fee that you need to pay (it can be multiple hundreds of dollars), and there’s usually a 12-month or 18-month limit to the offer. At that point the interest rate may increase to higher than it was before. Do the math before you say yes to make sure that the deal works in your favor.

If you’re looking to consolidate your bills, you have to start with an understanding of the basics first. This article has provided you with some sound advice that can familiarize you with the ins and outs of debt consolidation, helping you to make smart financial decisions. Read it again, and make sure to use these principles when making your debt consolidation decisions.