I have about a total of $18,000 in credit card debt with three major credit card carriers. I own a home. I'm trying to determine if bankruptcy or debt consolidation is best. My understanding is with chapter 13 bankruptcy I still would have to make payment arrangements and such similar to debt consolidation. So instead of damaging my credit even more with a bankruptcy, is it best to try one of these debt consolidation firms? Try to contact and settle with creditors myself? Or file bankruptcy?