Multiple debts and expenses can be difficult to manage. Payments can be easily missed, free cash flow can disappear and you may be paying a lot in interest fees and charges. If you’re looking for a way to take control of your debts, then a debt consolidation solution may be for you.
Having one debt repayment may allow you to get back to what’s important to you.
What is debt consolidation?
Debt consolidation is just that- the consolidation or rolling of all your debts, such as credit and store cards, personal loans or other bills into one simple debt solution. Debt consolidation serves as a method to gain control of your financial situation and pay down outstanding debts that may be hindering your aspirations in life.
Why should I consolidate my debt?
Consolidating debt has many benefits, the most beneficial being a single repayment rather than many. In some circumstances, consolidation can also save you money on fees and interest charges and can reduce the stress associated with juggling multiple debts. It will also get you into the habit of making regular payments.
What are my consolidation options?
Debt can be consolidated in many ways – here at Westpac we offer two main solutions.
Credit card balance transfer
If you are carrying credit card debt that is attracting a high interest rate, you may benefit from transferring this outstanding debt to a new credit card that offers a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for a certain amount of time. You can combine multiple card debts into one credit card up to 80% of the approved limit, allowing you to get ahead of your debt without paying interest for the promotional period.
The 0% p.a. interest free rate will only apply for a set period, such as 24 months. This sets a clear timeframe for when you should have the debt repaid. After this time the standard annual purchase rate usually applies to the remaining debt. Of course, the terms, conditions and fees associated with each balance transfer offer are different so you should make sure you check out the details for the particular offer you want to take up.
Unsecured Personal Loan
An unsecured personal loan allows you to borrow a lump sum of money without securing it against an asset, such as a car or house.
The interest rate of a personal loan is generally lower than the rate of a credit card and repayments are set to include the principal (original debt) and the interest, so you are always paying your debt down. A personal loan also allows you to choose the term of the loan, which can be 1 to 7 years. The length of the loan will adjust your monthly repayments so there is some flexibility to align the term of the loan to a repayment amount you are most comfortable with.
What happens to my original debt?
Once your debt has been paid off by the bank (if you have applied for a promotional balance transfer offer) you are responsible for cancelling your cleared credit cards . You will also need to pay any outstanding fees associated with these accounts.
If you have applied for a personal loan, you will need to draw on the loan and pay your outstanding debts. You will also need to arrange the cancellation of any accounts and pay any outstanding fees.
Does consolidating debt affect my credit rating?
There is a common misconception that obtaining a debt consolidation loan affects your credit rating in a negative way. An application for a credit card balance transfer offer or a new personal loan to consolidate debt does not create a different category of credit entry on your report if you specify debt consolidation as a reason for the application.
What do I need to get started?
The first step to regaining control of your debt is to work out exactly how much you have. The best way to do this is to sit down with a copy of all your statements and record the following information:
- What types of debt do you have? (Credit cards or loans)
- How much is owed on each debt?
- What are the associated interest rates?
- What are the monthly fees (if any)?
- How much will it cost to break or cancel the accounts and or loan/s?
Think about what consolidation solution fits your needs best. If you decide that a credit card balance transfer is a good option then you can apply through Westpac Live if you are an existing customer, or if you are new to Westpac you can apply online, over the phone on 1300 651 089 or in person at your local branch.
If you decide that an unsecured personal loan is your best choice, and you know exactly how much you need to consolidate, you can enter your details into the borrowing power calculator to see how much you could borrow.
If you are confident that you meet the income requirements and you are comfortable with the repayments you can go ahead and apply for the loan. The application process can be done online, over the phone or in person at your local branch
Outstanding debts do not need to control you. You could choose the path to financial freedom and a better lifestyle by regaining control with a Westpac debt consolidation solution.
Things you should know
Be credit savvy: Before applying, consider a realistic credit limit and check all conditions, interest rates, fees and charges on your selected card.
More about choosing your loan term
^ Our unsecured Personal Loans have a standard term of 1 to 7 years. If you choose a term greater than 2 years, and pay it out in less than 2 years, there is a prepayment fee of $175. This fee is waived if you pay out your personal loan by re-financing to another Westpac personal loan.