As many individuals have become financially overextended with credit card or other debt, they have considered debt consolidation as a possible solution. The process of debt consolidation involves taking out a new personal loan that combines, or consolidates, a number of outstanding debts. The new loan is used to pay off the consolidated debts, leaving the individual consumer with only a single payment on the new loan.

The appeal of debt consolidation is that the single monthly payment on the new debt consolidation loan is usually substantially lower than the combined monthly payments that were required to service the previously outstanding debts. The new loan is also typically made at a lower interest rate than the average interest rate of the previous debts. However, consumers need to exercise caution and due diligence when considering a debt consolidation company. Some debt consolidation services lower monthly payments and interest rates but, in fact, end up costing an individual more money, due to the fact that the loan term is extended for a longer time period.

The best debt consolidation companies negotiate with creditors to lower the total amount of debt owed before putting together a debt consolidation loan, rather than simply providing a new loan to cover the existing debt, thus providing genuine, substantial savings for the indebted individual.

Based on reviews from a number of consumer websites, these are three of the best debt consolidation loan companies in 2016.

National Debt Relief

National Debt Relief is ranked right at the top on a number of sites and articles that review debt consolidation companies. The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and is accredited by the BBB, the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) and the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA). National Debt Relief is recommended in part because of the high level of transparency in regard to exactly what consumers can expect to pay for its services — 18 to 25% — and the average debt reduction savings realized — a net 30% after deducting National Debt Relief's fees. Unlike many debt settlement or debt consolidation companies, National Debt Relief can also help with business debt as well as personal debt. National Debt Relief debt settlement plans are designed to retire debt within a time frame of 24 to 48 months. The minimum level of debt required to qualify for the program is $7,500. National Debt Relief operates in 41 states.

CuraDebt

CuraDebt offers debt-burdened consumers an impressive level of average net debt savings at 40%. CuraDebt's average fee is 20%. Like National Debt Relief, CuraDebt offers to consolidate both personal and business loans and has a minimum debt requirement of $7,500. CuraDebt sometimes works with individuals with as little as $5,000 of debt, so it's a good option to explore for individuals with lower debt levels. CuraDebt is accredited by the AFCC and the IAPDA, but not by the BBB, though it does have an A+ BBB rating. Its website is recognized for being consumer-friendly, with an online customer service chat feature for consumers who may wish to ask some questions online before making further inquiries with the company. CuraDebt's debt retirement plans are designed to be completed in a 24- to 48-month time period and are available in 38 of the 50 states.

New Era Debt Solutions

New Era Debt Solutions stands out because of the fact that it has no minimum debt level requirement and because its average fee range of 14 to 20% is approximately 5% lower than the average fee of most other high-rated debt relief services companies. The company, offering services in 42 states, offers personal and business debt consolidation plans with a time frame of 36 to 48 months. New Era is accredited by the BBB, with an A+ rating, and also accredited by the IAPDA. Its website gets a high rating for transparency and ease of use.

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