“The danger is if you eat up a significant part of your home equity,” says Gerri Detweiler, education director of business credit website

“Make sure you have plenty of cushion in there so if something happens and you had to sell your home, or you had to move ...

Keep an eye on how the total money you will pay back over the loan term (your total cost of borrowing).

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Interest paid on a home equity loan is usually tax deductible, while credit card interest is not.

However, home equity loans for debt consolidation can be risky, as your home may be foreclosed on if you can’t pay your loan.

Look for an account with a low APR - the lower the APR, the lower your monthly payment will be.

When you’re choosing the term — or length of the repayment period — consider what that term will do on the total amount of interest you’ll pay on your loan over time.

Unsecured debt consolidation loans can have income requirements as low as $24,000 annually, debt-to-income ratios of up to 50 percent and minimum FICO credit scores as low as 600.

Unsecured debt consolidation loans are offered online through banks and marketplace lenders.

you don’t end up losing your home.” Repayment terms can be 10 years or longer, and if the value of your home drops during that period, you may owe more than your home is worth.

If you’re facing bankruptcy, credit card debt is unsecured and typically discharged more easily than a home equity loan. Unsecured debt consolidation loans don’t require collateral, and they usually have easier approval requirements than secured debt consolidation loans.

Getting a debt consolidation loan is a major financial decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.