Dealing with debt is an unpleasant experience. But it’s something that only gets worse the longer it’s put off. If you want to get out of debt, but don’t know how, debt consolidation might be your answer.

Here are some things to know about how debt consolidation with bad credit.

Consider If You Can Raise Your Score First

Getting any kind of loan is going to be harder when you have bad credit. Lenders generally want to work with people who have a higher likelihood of paying them back. While not impossible, it can be difficult to find a consolidation loan when you have bad credit. Before jumping into a loan like this, it’s wise to first try raising your credit score a bit.

Your FICO score is one of the most commonly referenced credit score metrics. Rating agencies are transparent about how this score is calculated.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 35 percent payment history
  • 30 percent debt level
  • 15 percent length of credit history
  • 10 percent new credit lines
  • 10 percent credit mix

The first two items on the list add up to 65 percent of your FICO score, and are also the two areas in which your actions can make a big impact. Your debt-to-income ratio is another important metric some lenders look at when determining creditworthiness. This is simply the amount of debt you have against your income.

Here are two things you can consider to improve your credit score a bit before getting a consolidation loan:

  • Pay down some of your smaller debts to reduce your overall debt load. Doing this will be good for your payment history, as well as reducing your debt level.
  • Try to boost your income a little bit. This will make the previous step much more attainable, while also improving your debt-to-income ratio.

Everything is easier when you have good credit. Getting a loan is probably the thing your credit score affects more than anything else. Boosting your credit score before applying to get a consolidation loan is going to improve your chances of success. You’ll qualify for better terms and have less to pay back.

Look for Bad Credit Consolidation Loans

There are debt consolidation loans for bad credit in America with no credit score requirements. While this is great in theory, there are some things you should consider before signing anything.

First, you’ll want to do some research about the organization offering the consolidation loan. There are lots of lenders out there, and not all of them have the consumer’s best interests at heart. Check online reviews of potential consolidation loan providers to see if there are lots of negative complaints about the company.

You should also spend some time running numbers through an interest payment calculator to ensure you’re actually going to be able to pay back the loan. You don’t want to end up with a consolidation loan only to have to settle or file for bankruptcy later.

Think About Finding a Co-Signer

Co-signers can be a way for individuals to work around credit score rules for consolidation loans. You can get a much better rate from a more respectable lender. It’s important to note, however, there are drawbacks to doing this.

One of the biggest risks of having someone co-sign a loan is something happens to make it impossible for you to pay it back. In this situation, the co-signer is on the hook for making payments, or else it’ll start affecting their credit. It can be damaging to ask someone who’s also in a tough financial spot to co-sign, since they might not be able to pay if you can’t do it. This will lead to them suffering financial hardship too, and negatively impact your relationship.

Debt consolidation can be a great way to finally put your financial burdens behind you. Make sure you understand what it takes to get a consolidation loan with bad credit. Doing these things can increase your chances of finally beating debt.