Consolidation works best when your ultimate goal is to pay off debt.

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You’ll need a good to excellent credit score — above 690 — to qualify for most cards.

Make a budget to pay off your debt by the end of the introductory period, because any remaining balance after that time will be subject to a regular credit card interest rate.

» MORE: Nerd Wallet’s best balance transfer credit cards Pros: Back to top You can use an unsecured personal loan from your local bank or credit union or an online lender to consolidate credit card or other types of debt.

The loan may give you a lower interest rate on your debt or help you pay it off faster.

Most issuers charge a balance transfer fee of around 3%, and some also charge an annual fee.

Before you choose a card, calculate whether the interest you save over time will wipe out the cost of the fee.

You can use that money to pay off your credit cards or other debts.

A HELOC typically requires interest-only payments during what’s known as the draw period, which can range from five to 20 years but is typically 10 years.

The maximum annual percentage rate at a federal credit union is 18%.