bad credit debt consolidation loans

Have a low or bad credit score alongside additional debts? The solution may be to take out a debt consolidation loan. However, a consolidation loan may be challenging to acquire with low or bad credit, as you may need a respectable credit score to apply. We look for alternative means to attain a loan despite bad credit regarding consolidation loans.

Key Takeaways

  • Interest Savings: A debt consolidation loan primarily aims to reduce the amount you pay in interest. By securing a loan with a lower Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and a shorter repayment period, you can save significantly on interest costs.
  • Impact of Poor Credit: For those with poor credit, debt consolidation loans may not be as beneficial due to higher interest rates, which could offset the savings on interest.
  • Improving Loan Terms: To enhance your chances of securing a favorable deal, it’s advisable to regularly check your credit report for any inaccuracies and rectify them, work on improving your credit score, compare offers from various lenders, and consider secured loan options that typically have lower interest rates.
How much do you need?
*Representative example: Estimated repayments of a loan of R30,000 over 36 months at a maximum interest rate including fees of 27,5% APR would be R1,232.82 per month.

Loan amount R100 - R250,000. Repayment terms can range from 3 - 72 months. Minimum APR is 5% and maximum APR is 60%.

What is a Consolidation Loan?

A Consolidation Loan is a financial tool that combines multiple credit accounts into a single, manageable payment each month, secured at a fixed interest rate. This strategy not only simplifies the management of your finances but also potentially frees up additional cash. By consolidating your debts, you reduce the complexity of handling several lending and credit accounts to just one straightforward payment process.

What Constitutes a Poor Credit Score?

A poor credit score is generally considered to be below 670, as categorized by FICO® Score☉, which is the benchmark used by 90% of top lenders. The FICO® Score scale runs from 300 to 850, segmented into the following categories:

Credit Score RangeCategoryDescription
300 to 579PoorTypically challenging to secure a consolidation loan or other credit products. High interest rates if approved.
580 to 669FairConsidered subprime borrowers, likely to be approved for loans at significantly higher interest rates compared to those with better credit.
670 to 739GoodThe average credit score in South Africa is generally around the “Good” category, with many individuals falling between 670 and 699, which is considered a decent and responsible credit score. Having a good or excellent credit score can significantly improve one’s chances of loan approval and result in better interest rates and terms.
740 to 799Very GoodAbout a quarter of consumers fall here, often qualifying for better-than-average interest rates due to strong credit scores.
800 to 850ExceptionalEasier loan approvals and access to the most favorable rates, reflecting a top-tier credit standing.    
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Pros and Cons of Consolidation Loans with Bad Credit

When to Opt for Debt Consolidation

If you’re juggling multiple loans—say, five—and struggling with the repayments or aiming to cut down your overall credit costs, a consolidation loan could be right for you. This approach means you’ll swap several varying interest rates across your loans for one consistent rate with your consolidation loan.

However, the approval of your consolidation loan is largely dependent on your credit history, maintained by various credit bureaus. Before applying, consider these essential criteria:

  • Ensure that the total monthly repayment of all your debts does not surpass 50% of your income.
  • Maintain a solid credit record with up-to-date loan repayments.
  • Assess your affordability for the consolidation loan repayment—can you realistically manage it?

Facing overwhelming debt? Learn the steps on how to write off debt and achieve a fresh financial start.

improve credit rating debt consolidation loans

How a Debt Consolidation Loan Can Improve Your Credit Score

A debt consolidation loan covers and settles any existing loans on different accounts. Once these loans are settled you will only have one, which will need to be settled. You may have had to pay additional fees and different rates on multiple loans. 

With a low credit score, using a debt consolidation loan will simplify the management of your finances and potentially reduce costs, which will save you money. If you qualify for a debt consolidation loan with a low-interest rate, this will consequentially lower the monthly instalments of your loan. With lower and more affordable monthly instalments each month, you free up funds to potentially save and free yourself of debt sooner. Notably, with only one loan to repay, it will be easier to review your finances and make payments timely; this subsequentially will boost your credit score.

About Arcadia Finance

Arcadia Finance streamlines the process of acquiring a loan, enabling you to submit a no-cost application and receive proposals from as many as ten lenders. We confirm the integrity and regulatory compliance of all our associated lenders according to the National Credit Regulator of South Africa.

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Approved

Work on Improving Your Credit Score: South Africans can access a free credit report annually. If you haven’t done so yet, obtain your credit report and scrutinize it for any inaccuracies. Common errors include listings for debts that have been paid off. Rectifying these mistakes can boost your credit score.

Improving your credit score further involves reducing your debt and ensuring timely payments. Remember, enhancing your credit profile is a gradual process, and you might need to wait a bit to benefit from lower interest rates.

Reduce Your Debt-to-Income Ratio: Enhancing your debt-to-income ratio can be achieved by decreasing your overall debt, thereby increasing your disposable income to accommodate new loan payments. Alternatively, boosting your income through a side hustle can also be effective.

Minimize Loan Applications: Each loan application triggers a hard credit check, which can slightly reduce your credit score. To avoid compromising your rating, limit the number of loan applications you make in a short period.

Shop Around: Don’t settle for the first loan offer you receive. It’s wise to compare various offers, looking at loan amounts, repayment terms, and associated fees. A good strategy is to start by completing an application form with Arcadia to receive multiple proposals from partner lenders, allowing you to choose the most favorable one.

Need to escape debt quickly? Discover proven strategies on how to get out of debt fast and regain control over your finances. These practical tips can accelerate your journey to financial freedom.

Debt Consolidation Loans From Alternative Credit Providers

With a low credit score, certain alternative lenders offer loans despite the bad credit. Credit providers, as such, are alternative options as opposed to traditional credit providers such as banks. In contrast, conventional credit providers tend only to qualify lenders with a respectable credit score. These alternative credit providers will usually be more lenient toward your loan application. To verify your loan, they will evaluate your income and financial situation before approving your loan.

The benefit of applying through alternative credit providers is that you don’t have to offer collateral for such a loan. However, you may be subjected to higher interest rates and fees with an unsecured loan. This is especially the case regarding smaller loans. Namely, credit providers need to balance the potential lender’s ability to repay the loan. Ideally, your best choice for a loan is through a registered credit provider. Several lenders may not follow or are not regulated through the (NCR) National Credit Regulator. These lenders may very well be loan sharks. It is wise to exercise caution when attaining a loan from predatory lenders due to the high-interest rates.

Unsure about your credit status? Learn how to check if you are blacklisted for a loan and take the necessary steps to improve your creditworthiness.

personal loans and bad credit

Alternatives to a Debt Consolidation Loan

If you find that a debt consolidation loan isn’t feasible due to high interest rates, consider exploring these alternatives:


Poor credit consolidation loans present a viable solution for individuals with lower credit scores aiming to manage multiple debt obligations effectively. While securing these loans can be challenging due to the perceived risk by lenders, they offer a pathway to potentially improve one’s credit standing by consolidating high-interest debts into a single, more manageable loan with possibly lower interest rates. However, it is crucial for borrowers to carefully assess their financial situations and consider all available options, ensuring that the consolidation loan leads to a more sustainable financial future without exacerbating their debt.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should I Consider Consolidating Debts?

Consider debt consolidation if you find yourself with minimal cash left each month after covering all your existing loans and credit accounts. This financial strategy is widely used by businesses and financially astute individuals to simplify financial management, reduce administrative costs, and free up cash. It proves particularly beneficial during challenging economic times.

Does Debt Consolidation Affect My Credit Score?

Debt consolidation can positively impact your credit score as it reduces the likelihood of missing repayments on multiple accounts by consolidating them into a single loan. However, remember that consolidating your debts is just the initial step towards financial recovery. Improving your credit score is crucial as a low score could hinder your ability to obtain future financial aid, affecting your chances of renting or buying property, securing loans, or obtaining vehicle finance.

Can Individuals with Poor Credit Consolidate Their Loans?

Yes, individuals with poor credit can still consolidate their loans. However, the options might be limited, and the terms less favorable. They may face higher interest rates and additional fees due to the perceived increased risk to lenders. It’s crucial to shop around for the best possible terms and consider working with lenders who specialize in poor credit loans.

What Should I Look Out for When Considering Consolidation with Poor Credit?

Be wary of potential scams and lenders offering unrealistically favorable terms. Always verify the lender’s credentials and read the terms and conditions thoroughly. Pay special attention to the interest rates, fees, and penalties associated with late payments. It might also be beneficial to seek advice from a financial advisor.

How Can Consolidating Debt Help If I Have Poor Credit?

Consolidating debt can help manage your finances by combining multiple debts into a single, more manageable payment. This can help prevent missed or late payments, which are detrimental to your credit score. Over time, consistent on-time payments can help improve your credit score, eventually opening up more favorable lending options and terms.