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If you’re carrying balances on multiple credit cards with high interest rates and struggling to keep up with the bills, you may be thinking about consolidating your debts to lower your monthly payments. Refinancing your mortgage can help you access cash and save money, but it’s important to understand the risks involved.

How Can Refinancing Your Mortgage Help You Manage Credit Card Bills?
If you decide on a cash-out refinance, you will be able to access a portion of your home equity (generally no more than 80-90%) and use that cash to pay off your credit card balances. You will take out a new loan that will include your outstanding mortgage principal, plus the amount of home equity you used, and will make one monthly payment that will be applied to the entire debt.

Credit cards typically have interest rates that are much higher than the interest rates on home loans. Refinancing your mortgage can allow you to lower the interest rate on your credit card debt and potentially save thousands of dollars in interest.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Refinancing? 
Refinancing your mortgage and rolling your credit card balances into the loan can significantly reduce your interest rates on credit card debt. That means you’ll pay less money toward interest each month and more toward principal, which can help you pay off the debt faster. 

You will have to pay closing costs, which may be several thousand dollars, if you refinance. Weigh that against the amount you would save in interest to figure out if refinancing would be worth it.

If you have a conventional mortgage, your lender will require you to carry private mortgage insurance if you have less than 20 percent equity. If you don’t currently pay for PMI but you borrow a large chunk of money from home equity, you may fall below the 20% threshold and have to purchase PMI, which may cost hundreds of dollars per month. That additional expense can negate some of the benefits of refinancing and consolidating credit card debt.

Think about why you got into trouble with credit cards in the first place. If you have a habit of overspending, you may continue to do so even after refinancing. You may wipe out your credit card balances, only to find yourself swimming in debt again in a matter of months. 

If that happens, you may struggle to keep up with your higher mortgage payments and new credit card bills. If you don’t pay your mortgage on time, you may lose your house in foreclosure.

Should You Refinance?
Make sure that you could afford higher mortgage payments and that you wouldn’t rack up new debt and put yourself in an even worse situation.

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