Debt consolidation and debt settlement are two solutions for runaway debt. Having too many credit cards means wasting a lot of money on interest, and running the risk of losing track of payments. That hurts your credit score, and will bring higher interest rates on loans. By consolidating, you bring all those debts under one roof with far better terms, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.
Debt settlement, on the other hand, is for when you simply can't make those payments anymore. The settlement representative (a lawyer, or a dedicated company service) will reduce the amount of debt you owe. Credit companies prefer to get something through settlement rather than lose the whole amount if you declare bankruptcy.
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Debt Consolidation: Loans and Information About Managing Debt