What is the difference between a balance transfer and debt consolidation?

A balance transfer and debt consolidation are similar in that existing debt is transitioned into a different, typically lower rate loan/credit card product. Balance transfers differ from a debt consolidation loan in that they are moved from one credit card to another. Often there are fees associated with a balance transfer, but the credit line can be reused as the loan is paid back. Debt consolidation can include existing credit card balances, as well as other types of debt, but in this case, all debt is moved to a closed-end, fixed-rate loan.

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