The first thing you should do when you find yourself unable to pay the payments on your loans or credit cards is to contact the creditor directly and see if a payment plan can be developed. In the case of credit cards, this involves the creditor reducing the interest rate for a certain period, anywhere from three months to one year, which in turn reduces the amount of your minimum payment. A settlement not only goes on your credit report as a bankruptcy, it also leaves you with a tax liability for the amount of the loan that you did not have to pay back. On the other hand, a good debt consolidation program can help you get your debt to a manageable level and help save your credit rating as well. Of course, if your debts are in serious condition, this may not work for you, but it’s certainly something that should be considered before bankruptcy. If you have been unable to work anything out with the creditor, or if the plan that you worked out failed, you can consider a consolidation loan with one a Debt Consolidation Loan. Be careful with these, though, that you don’t sign with one of the ones who will hold onto your money, and therefore force your creditor to accept a settlement without your permission. Bankruptcy seems to be the first thing some people consider when they find they are unable to pay the payments that are due on loans and credit cards, but this should be the last thing that is considered. Not only is it a permanent solution to a temporary problem, it will ruin your chances of buying anything else for ten years instead of the customary seven.