I'm pretty sure I know the answer, but just need to hear it again! Is there a debt consolidation program besides home equity that doesn't affect your score? I don't care if they close my accounts, I just want to start paying getting rid of the debt but keep my 721 score.
If you are rereferring to a Credit Counseling type "consolidation" then yes, your credit is going to take a major hit. It might not be as bad as BK, but it isn't much better, credit wise.
There are credit repair services, and they don't do anything that you cannot do for yourself. And just like credit repair, you can also do the same thing for yourself that these "credit counsel" consolidators can.
If you want to keep your score then do this:
1. Put your credit cards in your home safe or sock drawer (or cut them up if you can't resist temptation) 2. Use the Dave Ramsey "snowball" payoff. Pay your minimums, but pay extra (as much as you can) on your lowest balance card. 3. Once the low balance card is paid off, begin paying everything you were paying to that card to your next lowest balance on top of the minimum you were all ready paying. 4. Repeat this process. 5. Sacrifice the luxuries so that you can pay as much toward debt as you can. I suggest getting a hobby that you enjoy, that doesn't cost as your R&R. Postpone going out to eat and other non-essentials (amazing how much they add up to) 6. Contact your CCC's and ask about waiving any Annual Fees. Also request an APR reduction. You never know till you ask. 7. Get a part time job, if possible, to add to your ability to pay toward your debt. 8. Have a garage sale and/or use Ebay to sell off any old junk and unused or unneeded items to raise cash to pay toward CC's. You would be amazed, many people have hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars raised this way. 9. Make this a mission (include your significant other so that there isn't dispute). Visualize the joy and qualify of life once you are debt free. Also imagine what your FICO improvement will be! 10. Get on a good exercise program and healthy eating. WHAT? Yep, people report that when they begin improving themselves and their finances that it provides high levels of satisfaction and increased success. Success begets success, plus this is one of those free stress relievers.
The main thing: you have to be committed. BK and credit counseling consolidation are not the answer much of the time. They are sometimes used to give up. Now this is not saying BK is not necessary sometimes (don't anyone take it wrong). I'm just saying, BK will punish your score and your ability to enjoy credit for some time and so will credit counseling consolidation.