Debt Consolidation Loans Australia

A debt consolidation loan combines all of your debts into one personal loan, typically saving you on interest costs. Start comparing now!

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Debt consolidation personal loan comparisons on Mozo - last updated 18 August 2022

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    Unsecured Personal Loan

    Fixed

    interest rate
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    Monthly repayment
    6.75% p.a.to 19.95% p.a.
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  • Home Improvement Loan

    Fixed, Unsecured

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  • Unsecured Personal Loan

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    Monthly repayment
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  • Personal Loan

    Variable, Unsecured

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    Monthly repayment
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What is a debt consolidation loan?

A debt consolidation loan is a type of personal loan that allows you to roll several different debts, like credit card balances, store cards or even other personal loans, into one place, so you only have to deal with a single repayment.

That means you only have to remember one due date. Plus, debt consolidation loans can have other benefits like getting you a lower interest rate than on some other products or meaning you only have to pay one annual fee - or no annual fee.

Show transcript

DEBT CONSOLIDATION LOANS

Debt consolidation loans: the DON’Ts

A debt consolidation loan can be super helpful if you’re trying to pay off multiple debts, but there are a few traps to avoid when consolidating debt so that your debt doesn’t stick around for longer than you’d like.

Let’s take a look at the no-nos!

  1. Rolling your debt into your home loan

    Thinking of merging other debt into your home loan? Well, think again!

    You could end up paying more in interest, since home loans have a far longer timeframe than other debt like credit cards or car loans. This means you would be taking longer to pay off a higher amount of debt.

  2. Forgetting to check for hidden fees

    If you’re not careful, any fees that come with your debt consolidation could blow a dent in your bank account, so make sure you can afford the fees before signing up.

    Look out for:

    • application fees
    • ongoing fees
    • break cost fees if you choose a fixed rate loan

  3. Continuing to use your credit cards

    Still itching to spend with your credit card? It’s time to break that habit, as otherwise, you’ll push yourself deeper into debt!

    Stick to your budget and if you have extra cash, put it towards additional repayments on your loan - so you can pay it off as quickly as possible and reduce interest costs!

Are debt consolidation loans risky? How to decide if debt consolidation is a good option for you. 

Debt consolidation loans can help you to better manage loan repayments. Here are some reasons for opting for a debt consolidation loan.

  • If you’re struggling with multiple payment due dates: If you have to juggle multiple due dates across car loans, credit cards and even buy now pay later purchases, you’re far more likely to let one slip and wind up with a missed repayment on your record. A debt consolidation loan rolls all of these into one loan, which means you’ll only have one repayment and one due date to keep track of.
  • If you have multiple debts with high interest rates: Generally, a credit card will charge interest at a much higher rate than a debt consolidation loan, so it’s usually more expensive to have a large credit card balance than to have that balance on a debt consolidation loan.
  • If you don’t know which debt to prioritise first: It can be stressful trying to deal with multiple debts at once. Do you pay down your credit card first? Or your personal loan? Or do you try to tackle both at once? A debt consolidation loan can help simplify things.
  • If the benefits of consolidating outweigh the downsides: When you choose a debt consolidation loan, it will likely have a longer loan term (think 3-5 years). By stretching debt out over this length of time, you could potentially wind up paying more interest than you would if you could pay off the original debts in a shorter time frame. So make sure you do the maths, and be sure switching to a debt consolidation loan is actually worth it.

Can debt consolidation loans hurt your credit score?

Like any other kind of lending, a debt consolidation loan could hurt your credit score if you aren’t responsible with meeting your repayments. However, if you’re responsible, it doesn’t have to affect your credit negatively.

If you apply for a debt consolidation loan, it will appear on your credit history as an inquiry and, if you’re successful, as a new source of credit available to you. This can be good or bad - it lowers your credit utilisation, which is usually a good thing, but it also raises the amount of total credit available to you, which isn’t always as positive.

Paying off lingering debts (and closing old credit accounts if you no longer use them) is a good thing and will usually a positive move not only for your credit history but for your finances in general.

How do debt consolidation loans work?

As the name suggests, a debt consolidation loan works by rolling debts from multiple sources, for instance car loan and credit card, into a single personal loan.

Apart from the benefit of saying goodbye to multiple payments as you'll only have one monthly repayment, you'll also get the chance to reduce the interest rates you're paying, particularly if you're consolidating high rate credit or store cards into the new loan.

Scenario: Say you have the following debt:

  • $20,000 car loan with a 9% interest rate
  • $5,000 credit card balance with a 22% interest rate
  • $2,000 on your store card with an 18% interest rate

In this scenario, your monthly repayments would be $899 and over 3 years, you'd pay $5,373 in interest. Whereas if you rolled that $27,000 worth of debt into one single loan with an 8% interest rate, your monthly repayments would go down to $846, and you would pay just $3,459 in interest over 3 years - that's a total saving of $1,914 in interest.

How to compare a debt consolidation loan

Steps to consolidating debt

  1. Step 1: Work out how much you will need to borrow to pay off your combined debts.
  2. Step 2: Compare personal loans from banks and online lenders.
  3. Step 3: Apply for the debt consolidation loan.
  4. Step 4: Use the new funds to pay out the balance remaining on loans, credit cards and other debts. Close these accounts.
  5. Step 5: Stick to the new repayment schedule for the consolidation loan until the balance is paid in full.   

Top tips for debt consolidation loan comparison:

While one low rate debt consolidation loan could definitely help you kick your debt to the curb, it's important to know how to use the product to your advantage whilst avoiding the traps that could see your debt stick around for longer than you'd like.

Here are the absolute must DOs when consolidating debt:

1. DO work out what type of debt consolidation loan you'll need

There are plenty of choices when choosing a debt consolidation loan, but the wrong choice could end up costing you big time. So make sure you take the time to consider your different options when it comes to finding the right loan for you. Start by deciding whether you will sign up with a secured or unsecured loan:

  • Secured loan: As the name suggests, this personal loan option requires you to put up an asset, such as a car or house, as security for the loan. In return, the lender will often reward you with a lower interest rate and fees. But keep in mind, if you're unable to keep on top of your loan repayments, the lender has the right to repossess your assets as restitution for any loss they incur.
  • Unsecured loan: Many debt consolidation loans in Australia are unsecured, meaning no security is needed, which is perfect if you're a borrower who doesn't have any assets or is unwilling to put your car or home at risk. But you'll generally pay a higher interest rate and fees compared to a secured loan.

2. DO compare interest rates 

You'll also have the option of choosing between a fixed and variable personal loan interest rates. Here's the difference between the two:

  • Fixed interest rate: With your rate locked in for the life of the loan, you will be able to make a clear budget, as you will know what your ongoing repayments will be. Keep in mind that some fixed rate loans may not come with the flexibility of making extra repayments or if you want to pay out the loan early you might have to pay a break fee.
  • Variable interest rate: An alternative option is a variable rate loan that usually comes with flexible features and a generally lower interest rate and fees, but be mindful the rate could change at any time depending on the market or the lender.

2. DO look for flexible debt-busting loan features

You're making the smart move of rolling your debt over to a consolidation loan, but you could make an even smarter move by choosing a loan with features that will help you pay off your debt sooner. 'How' you ask? With these two flexible options:

Extra repayments: Okay your finances may not be looking their best now. But you never know when you'll land that work promotion or end of year bonus. So if you find yourself with extra money in your pocket down the track, you'll want to make sure the debt consolidation loan you sign up with gives you the ability to pump it straight into paying off your loan.

Flexible repayment frequency: Did you know that if you choose to repay your loan on a fortnightly schedule rather than monthly, you'll pay off an extra month at the end of the year? It's true. Let's give you a scenario. Say you repay $500 a month - over one year, you'll have paid off $6,000 of your loan. Whereas, if you choose the 26-fortnight option, you will pay off $6,500 - bringing you that much closer to blasting your debt for good.

3. DO set up automatic loan repayments

And last but definitely not least, make sure you never miss a fortnightly or monthly loan repayment by setting up a direct deposit from your bank account to your debt consolidation loan lender.

What are the DON'Ts for consolidating debt?

1. Don't roll your debt into your home loan

Home loan interest rates are competitive right now, with many sitting under the 3% mark. However, be mindful that merging your different debt into your home loan could mean you'll pay more in interest in the long run because home loans have a far longer time frame.

Using the example of a $300,000 home loan with a 5% interest rate, by rolling $20,000 into your mortgage, you will end up paying $15,075 in interest on that debt over 25 years. Whereas, if you merge that debt into a consolidation loan over 3 years with a 10% interest rate, you will only pay $3,232 in interest. Rolling debt into your home loan will only make financial sense if you keep repayments high so that you crush the debt in the shortest time possible.

Don'ts for consolidating debt

2. Don't forget to check for hidden debt consolidation fees

The interest rate isn't the only thing you should consider when comparing debt consolidation loans. You should also make sure you can afford any fees, including:

  • Application fees: The provider may charge you an upfront fee to cover administration fees and to run a credit check to see the level of risk they are taking on by approving you for the debt consolidation loan.
  • Ongoing fees: You could also be charged a small monthly fee of around $10 but before you think that's less than a tuna sandwich these days, over 5 years, that $10 will add up to $600 - think about how many lunches that could buy you.
  • Break cost fees: The Australian Government kicked variable rate exit fees to the curb back in 2011, but if you sign up with a fixed-rate consolidation loan, you could still feel the bite of a break cost fee if you decide to pay the loan early. So this is something to watch out for when you begin your debt consolidation loan comparison if you think you might be able to pay off your loan early.

3. Don't keep on using your credit cards

Once you've found the right debt consolidation loan for you, it's time to close your old credit card accounts. Not only will this stop you from accruing more debt but if there were annual fees on the card you will no longer have to pay these.

How to get help if you're struggling to pay off debts

Covid:19 has resulted in a lot of financial difficulty for many Australians. If you’re struggling with paying off your debts and managing repayments, there are resources available to help you. From debt advisors to online help, here are a few places you can turn for help with debt.

  • Your credit provider. First things first, get in touch with your credit card provider or lender early on. They can offer hardship assistance, like putting you on a payment plan or maybe even changing the conditions of your repayments to make them easier to keep up with. When you contact your provider, ask to speak to the hardship department. You’ll likely need to explain why you’re having trouble making repayments and how long the trouble will last, but you can request that they change your loan repayments (if they refuse, you can refer them to section 72 of the National Consumer Credit Code)
  • National debt helpline: The National Debt Helpline is a not-for-profit organisation that offers free, independent financial counselling to help you get back on track. If you’re already struggling with your budget, this free service could be an invaluable resource for professional help on fixing your debt problems.
  • Community Legal Centres: If your debt has already gotten to the point where your lender is threatening legal action - or you think they might soon - you might require legal help. Your local Community Legal Centre is a free resource to help you navigate the legal side of dealing with debt.
  • Lifeline: Aside from your finances, debt can take a toll on other parts of your life, including your mental health. You can reach out to Lifeline over the phone or online if you need help making it through this tough time in your life.

Debt is no fun, but you shouldn’t be embarrassed to seek help. Taking steps to fix the problem is much more admirable than sticking your head in the sand!

Picture of JP Pelosi
JP Pelosi
Managing editor

Jean-Paul (JP) Pelosi is an experienced journalist and editor who has contributed to many of Australia's leading media outlets including The Guardian, News.com.au, Domain.com.au, Investment Magazine and ANZ's Bluenotes. He has also edited news and communications for large financial services companies such as CommBank, Suncorp, Allianz and Amex. He loves a well told story and applying his editorial experience to content that readers both care about and enjoy. JP heads up our writing team.

More debt consolidation loan FAQs

Which banks offer debt consolidation loans?

There are a few options for taking out a debt consolidation loan. While banks may seem like the most obvious choice, credit unions and peer to peer lenders are also perfectly good options for consolidating debt. Each have advantages and disadvantages whether it’s fees, customer service or borrowing limits. Simply check out our debt consolidation table above, to weigh up different providers and find what suits you.

Should I take out a debt consolidation loan with my current bank or can I switch providers? 

It all depends on your current banking situation, but there are both pros and cons for staying with the same lender when you take out a debt consolidation loan. 

ProsCons
ConvenientPotentially missing out on better deal from alternate lender (less fees, lower interest)
Increased chances of being approved because on long standing relationshipCurrent lender may not offer you a good deal since you’re already a loyal customer (they don’t feel they need to impress you, so to speak

 Make sure you shop around, compare providers and then talk to your current bank and see who can offer you what you want. Or try Mozo’s Switch & Save Calculator to find out how much you can save if you were to jump ship.  

How much can I borrow for a debt consolidation loan?

Every lender will have their own borrowing limits for debt consolidation loans. In addition to the bank or lenders loan products, the amount of money that you will be able to borrow will depend on a number of factors such as your credit history, how much money you earn, how long you've been at a job for and how well you’re set up to handle repayments comfortably. While it’s important to borrow enough to consolidate your existing debts, resist borrowing more than you need to - you don’t want to be making bigger repayments than you are already making. 

How do I work out my debt consolidation loan repayment? 

A debt consolidation loan rolls all your debt, like credit card and card loan debt, into one loan where you make one easy-to-manage monthly repayment. Your provider will indicate what the minimum repayment requirements on your new loan will be. This is the amount you need to pay each month in order to pay off your loan within the loan term. Jump over to our personal loan repayments calculator to see how much your repayments could be at different interest rates and different loan amounts.

While that’s all you need to pay each month, it’s a good idea to look for a loan that allows you to make extra repayments so that you can use any extra cash, like a bonus at work or a cash present, to rid yourself of debt sooner. 

What happens if my application for a debt consolidation loan gets rejected?

If your debt consolidation loan application gets rejected it doesn’t mean you can’t apply again, it’s just best if you wait a little while before you do. Instead of banging down the door of your bank or loan provider and demanding they accept your request, give yourself 3 or 6 months to get everything in order and ultimately lessen your chances of being rejected again. Also be sure to get a copy of your credit report prior to apply so that you can make sure there are no issues.

What interest rates will I have to pay on debt consolidation loans?

The interest rate on debt consolidation loans will depend on a number of factors including whether you are taking out a secured or unsecured debt consolidation loan. A secured loan will usually have a lower rate because you are putting up an asset as security.

These days, many providers offer Australian borrowers personalised interest rates depending on their credit history. Usually, the better your credit score, the lower the interest rate will be.  This is why many lenders have 'from' rates advertised.

Do debt consolidation personal loans have fees?

Yes. Standard fees on debt consolidation loans include an application fee, loan service fee and default fees if you miss a repayment or don’t make the full repayment amount. You may also have to pay an early termination fee if you pay out your loan early.

Is it easy to qualify for a debt consolidation loan?

Each Australian banking provider has its own criteria for consolidation loan qualification so it will depend on the amount of debt you’re in and your credit history. It is unlikely you will qualify for an unsecured loan if you have bad credit history, have been bankrupt in the last 10 years, or you are currently unemployed.

How can I improve my credit score?

In Australia, bank and other lenders take into account good and 'bad' behaviour when assessing someone's credit worthiness. This means that if you demonstrate good financial management your credit score will improve over time. If you're looking for ways to improve your credit score read our guide.  

How long does it take to get approved for a debt consolidation loan?

Most personal loan lenders will have online application and approval processes and in many instances you could get approval for a loan within hours of submitting your enquiry. The length of time that it will take to organise and consolidate the debt into a single repayment will depend on the banks and lenders you are dealing with.  Some personal loan providers will help you with this process, others will leave it up to you to coordinate the closing of accounts and making final payments. 

Personal Loan Reviews

Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan
Overall 10/10
Fast and efficient

I applied for a personal loan through Harmoney, could not believe how quick and easy it was. Very competitive interest rate was offered to me, quick approval, I had the money in the bank within a couple of days. The customer service team are brilliant, I had to change my account details for direct debit, no dramas whatsoever. I highly recommend these guys, they’re brilliant.

Read full review

I applied for a personal loan through Harmoney, could not believe how quick and easy it was. Very competitive interest rate was offered to me, quick approval, I had the money in the bank within a couple of days. The customer service team are brilliant, I had to change my account details for direct debit, no dramas whatsoever. I highly recommend these guys, they’re brilliant.

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Overall 1/10
Not happy with service

Poor customer service. Make promises but don't deliver. Very inflexible. Difficult to contact.

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Poor customer service. Make promises but don't deliver. Very inflexible. Difficult to contact.

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Overall 10/10
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They always sort problems on spot and always friendly, they are great bank to deal with high recommend them to all friends.

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They always sort problems on spot and always friendly, they are great bank to deal with high recommend them to all friends.

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