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No. of Recommendations: 6
I have paid off one and rolled those payments over into the highest balance/rate card

If your goal is to pay the least amount in interest, be sure you are paying the extra payment toward the highest rate card, even it's a lower balance than other cards. At this point, you should be throwing as much money as possible at the 21.24% card, and only making minimum payments on the other cards.

If I were able to secure a loan at 15% (as I was quoted today, inclusive of fees) I would be saving money in the end.

Would you be saving money in the end? Have you run the numbers to see how much the fees add and what the lower interest rate would save you, as compared to the interest you already pay? Don't use the APR that's quoted by the lender to make your comparison - you need to actually run what your proposed paydown numbers would be, showing the fees as an addition to your debt, and then compare the total cost of paydown with the loan, compared to your current paydown costs.

As was pointed out, the average interest rate that you are paying is currently 17.4% And every time you make a snowball payment on that 21.24% rate, and minimum payments on the other cards, the average rate you are paying goes down a little.

What is the actual interest rate on the consolidation loan? How much do you have to pay in fees? What are your current minimum payments on each card? What is the total you are paying toward your debt each month? What will the payment terms (amount and number of payments) on the new loan be? How does that compare to the amount you are paying on the credit cards you will be paying off with this loan?

My guess is that it may save you money to get a loan for the 2 or 3 highest interest rate balances, IF (1) you have stopped using your credit cards completely, so you won't charge these back up again, (2) the payment on the loan, plus the minimum payment(s) on the card(s) you have left is less than the total amount you currently pay towards your debt each month, so you still have a snowball to apply and (3) the lender will allow you to make additional principal payments on the fixed rate loan. But an analysis needs to be done to confirm that this will actually save you money, based on your actual paydown plans.

A note on being allowed to make additional principal payments - be sure you read the fine print about this one in the contract before you sign - I have heard of lenders not allowing borrowers to make additional principal payments, but just advancing their payment dates and requiring them to pay the total amount of the payments in the original contract. This practice results in the borrower paying a higher effective rate the more quickly they pay off the loan. If you are looking at 'debt consolidation' or 'finance' companies for a loan, I would be much more concerned about this type of policy, vs. if you are looking at a credit union or a bank.

Also, next time you call and ask for a reduction in your interest rates, don't ask for a rate change due to hardship - since you say you can pay, you probably can't show a hardship, and asking for a hardship reduction is actually a red flag. Instead, ask what you need to do for the lender to reduce the rate on your card. If they say something like - make payments of more than the minimum for at least 6 months - then do that, waiting for the 6 payments to be posted to your account before you call and ask again. I would also suggest not calling EVERY month to ask for a rate reduction - if the lender includes costs of customer service calls in their profitability calculations for your account, each call is going to drive the costs on your account higher, making them less likely to decrease your rate.

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