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Borrowers with excellent credit and low debt-to-income ratios may qualify for interest rates at the low end of lenders’ ranges.Someone with poor or average credit may be able to get an unsecured personal loan on the strength of a steady income and low debt levels, but should expect rates toward the higher end of the range — up to 36%.Although signs show an upturn in the economy, many Americans are deep in debt, and not everyone can work overtime or a second job to pay down that debt.That's where debt consolidation and other financial options come in.Creating a budget and starting a savings habit are small steps that could build a stronger financial future.

This helps eliminate mistakes that result in penalties like incorrect amount or late payments.A higher score will qualify you for more loan opportunities, lower interest rates and better loan terms in the future. Several personal finance websites, including Nerd Wallet, offer a free credit score.Look for a site the offers educational tools such as a credit score simulator plus access to your credit report.Look for a site that offers educational tools such as a credit score simulator or guidance on how to build credit.If you can’t qualify for a loan through a reputable lender, don’t head for a payday lender. For borrowers with good credit, a balance transfer credit card is an alternative to a debt consolidation loan.

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