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One late or missed payment to a credit counselor can appear as multiple accounts with late or missed payments on your credit report.

Another option — and one that many people consider as their first step — is to contact your creditors directly.

This approach can work if you know you’ll be able to pay off the entire debt before the promotional period expires.

The majority of the time, a debt is reported as settled even if it’s reduced interest because the consumer didn’t pay as agreed, but they could agree to report it as paid in full.

If the full interest amount agreed to in the contract is not paid, they have settled the debt, not paid it in full, so that is what is generally reported.

But debt consolidation is not always the best way to deal with debt issues, and it has drawbacks you should be aware of before you move forward with it.

What’s more, there are several ways to go about consolidating debt, and depending on your circumstances, one method might make more sense for you than another.

Credit counseling through a reputable non-profit agency is almost always a better alternative.