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Bankruptcy vs Debt Consolidation

Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates unsecured debt when you give up your assets and stays on your credit report for 10 years.  Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a repayment plan and stays on your credit report for seven years.

Personal debt consolidation loans can be taken out from banks, online lenders, or credit unions.  You take out a loan at an interest rate that is lower than the interest rate on your credit card payments, and when the debt payments are gone, you repay the loan.

A debt management program through a credit counseling agency involves a counselor who reviews all of your debt-relief options and may be able to reduce your debt by 30-50%.