Most issuers charge a balance transfer fee of around 3%, and some also charge an annual fee.Before you choose a card, calculate whether the interest you save over time will wipe out the cost of the fee.

If you are struggling to pay off multiple credit cards, consolidating your debt may allow you to reduce your interest rates and lower your monthly payment.

However, a lower monthly payment can mean a longer repayment term and more interest paid over the life of the loan.

The answer depends on how you consolidate — and what you do afterwards.

Getting a new loan to pay off other debts is the most popular way to consolidate.

You’ll need a good to excellent credit score — above 690 — to qualify for most cards.

Make a budget to pay off your debt by the end of the introductory period, because any remaining balance after that time will be subject to a regular credit card interest rate.

Scams abound.) Consolidating credit cards with high balances using an installment loan — a loan with fixed monthly payments — may actually benefit your credit rating, especially if you use the loan to pay off credit cards that are near their limits.

At the same time, any new loan can cause a short-term dip to your credit scores — so don’t be surprised if that happens.

When you are trying to get out of debt, consolidating credit cards or other loans can save you time and money.