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You can also reach out to your individual creditors to see if they will agree to lower your payments.

Some creditors might be willing to accept lower minimum monthly payments or change your monthly due date because they would rather get paid less on a regular basis – than not get paid at all.

Here’s what you need to know if you are considering these options for consolidation: Transferring different debt balances to one credit card account Many credit card companies offer zero-percent or low-interest balance transfers to allow you to consolidate your debt on one account.

Plug the numbers into a good debt repayment calculator to know how long it will take to become debt free.

Pay more to the accounts with the highest interest rate, and when one is paid off, add the payment the next most expensive debt.

On the other hand, most people who go into a DMP do so because they're already stumbling and missing payments, so making timely and consistent payments through the service can help their reports.

Clearly, consolidating debts through a debt management plan with credit counseling agency can be helpful, but you may also be able to achieve the same results on your own. Suspend charging and request rate reductions from each of your creditors.

With a DMP, you're paying 100 percent of your obligations, which is quite different from discharging them in a bankruptcy or settling the debt.

Still, your credit report can take a hit if your monthly payments are less than what you would normally pay.Also, while a DMP is not factored into a credit score, some creditors note that you're paying through a third party, which can be a red flag to a lender or anyone else looking at the report. It shows that they need help paying their bills," says Stuart Davis, a senior loan consultant for Princeton Capital out of Los Gatos, California.According to their underwriters, the plan needs to be complete before they will make a loan. With a debt management plan, you make one payment to the credit counseling agency, which distributes the money to your creditors until they are paid in full.However, if you just happen to have accounts with creditors that don't offer any concessions, that benefit is reduced. Look for a nonprofit credit counseling organization that belongs to either the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) or the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA).If they turn you down, make a few larger than average payments and try again.