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You have finally finished your degree, got that perfect job, now what about all these student loans? Almost every college student graduates with loans to pay. It is wise to attack your student debt like a pro. Paying on each loan is lengthy and expensive by anyone’s standards, consolidation is the answer.

All consolidation company’s are not created equal. Don’t just sign up for the first one you find on a web search. Some companies have fees, all offer flexible rates and terms. Every option could potentially save you time and money.

Look for lenders who are upfront about any fees they might have. All information should be readily and easily available. If a lender is pushy on their time frame for you to sign their agreement, a red flag should go up in your mind. Take your time, a few extra clicks may save you thousands. Reputable lenders do not try to rush you.

Full disclosure of every detail may be boring to read through but shows that a company is forthright about its loans. Good lenders will be found on the BBB (Better Business Bureau) website, you can obtain valuable information about companies; if they have any complaints, and their current BBB rating.

All this may seem like your investigating them or going behind their backs, but guess what? You are investigating them! It is the smartest way to plan your future and your money’s future. You are the customer in this search, don’t be afraid to let them know how savvy you are and that you are weighing your options.

Most consolidation companies require you to be at least 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen, and having had attended an accredited school. Let’s consider other qualifiers. Tax documents, recent loan statements, proof of residency, and proof of employment are pretty standard documents requested of you.

With those checked off the list, now you can be sure to search only lenders who offer no origination fee, no prepayment penalties, and no application fee. You are the customer, why should you pay them extra money? There are plenty of lenders in the sea, along with sharks to steer away from.

Now for the fun part, the stuff you get to control, well, sort of. First of all, be aware that some lenders have a ceiling, a limit to how much money you can borrow towards your consolidation. Others have no limit, but most have a minimum of around $5000.00. Interest rate comparison is important as is the type of interest rate you choose. Fixed rates will always be a little bit more than variable, but they do not change, whereas variables do.

The length of the loan play a heavy role in the overall cost of your loan. Options often include 5, 10, 15, and 20 years for repayment. The shorter the loan time, the more the payment will be, but the less in interest you will pay. It all depends on your individual situation and circumstances.

Another factor that is often looked over is customer service. Being able to contact your lender via chat, email, text, or by phone can be very important. Some companies offer instant quotes online, and some require more time or even a personal phone conversation.

The important thing to remember is to take your time and be thorough in your research. Fast and flashy is not the way to approach a lender. There are tons of them out there wanting your business. Be sure to make them earn it and do your math before signing anything. That one signature or click could lock you in for 20 or more years!