The quick answer is: it depends! Debt Settlement will hurt your credit score, since you are not making current payments on your debts. Credit counseling does not impact your FICO score, but many lenders look at enrollment into a credit counseling sponsored debt management plan like enrollment into bankruptcy. A debt consolidation loan generally has a minimal effect on your credit. In most cases, you apply for a home refinance or debt consolidation loan and use the proceeds to pay your other debts. Although you will now have a single larger debt on your credit report, several small debts will be eliminated if you get a debt consolidation loan.