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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.

Department of Education, a federal Direct Consolidation Loan can help you streamline your federal loan payments.

After consolidating his or her loans, a borrower will have just one monthly payment and just one loan balance to maintain.

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Parent borrowers of the federal PLUS loan may consolidate, or refinance, their loans into a federal consolidation loan. There are two main reasons borrowers decide to consolidate their federal loans: a fixed interest rate and lower monthly payments.

Other reasons include the convenience of having just one loan with one monthly payment and prevention of defaulting on one's loans.

Federal consolidation is available after borrowers enter repayment, either because they graduated or ceased to be enrolled at least half-time.

A federal Direct Consolidation Loan has a fixed interest rate based on the average interest of your federal loans rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of 1 percent.

Most will give you an estimated rate without a “hard inquiry” on your credit, unlike many banks and credit unions.

For online lenders, the lowest rates go to those with the best credit; rates top out at 36%.

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

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