Design Your Own Clean Sweep
Debt consolidation is not a new concept and did not originate with Bank of America. It just happened to be the bank with the most visible marketing campaign. The idea behind debt consolidation is to take one big loan and use it to pay off multiple smaller loans. Consolidating debt is attractive on two fronts. It typically offers (1) a lower monthly payment and (2) a lower interest rate.
Go to the bank where you currently have your checking or savings account, or any bank of your choosing, and ask to speak with a loan officer.
Lay your cards on the table, literally. Explain the amount of debt you have, spread across multiple accounts, and ask for the loan officer's recommendations for how to consolidate your debt into one manageable account. Loan officers are frequently overlooked as resources, and many of them have great solutions to offer.
Remember that loan officers are also salespeople. They earn commissions when you open accounts. You can use that to your advantage, however, as they will compete for your business. If the offer you receive is not all you hoped for, it is also perfectly acceptable to walk away from the table. Just tell the officer that you need to sleep on it, but be sure to take his business card and notes outlining his offer.
Visit two to three more banks, and then weigh your options. Be aware that if your credit rating is less than stellar, banks may require collateral, such as a car or house, to grant a large loan.