Here's how it works: P2is an online provider of personal loans.

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Also, while a DMP is not factored into a credit score, some creditors note that you're paying through a third party, which can be a red flag to a lender or anyone else looking at the report. It shows that they need help paying their bills," says Stuart Davis, a senior loan consultant for Princeton Capital out of Los Gatos, California.

According to their underwriters, the plan needs to be complete before they will make a loan.

The agency should be organized, send payments and statements on time and offer strong consumer education and support. The payment is usually around 2.5 percent of the total debt, though in hardship situations, there is some wiggle room. Why consolidate bills if you can't pay for basic expenses or if there are better alternatives?

You can stop the plan at any time, and you can also pay more -- and get out of debt faster -- when you have extra funds. You wouldn't, which is the reason consolidation begins with a counseling appointment where your entire financial situation is assessed.

(That way, you can get away from the high interest rates and reduce your monthly payments to just a single payment on just the one personal loan.) P2offers loans of all types - so, you can even avoid the credit card trap altogether and finance just about anything you'd normally put on a credit card.

But the really fun part about P2P Credit is that it's not a credit card company - the money for all of the loans comes from individual investors (real people! Here's what you need to know about consolidating accounts through a debt management plan with an agency. Instead, they have preset arrangements with most financial institutions, many of which lower interest rates and fees, so more of your payment goes toward the balance rather than finance charges. With something as precious as your finances, be exceedingly careful about who you work with. Their debt management plans can help you get back on track -- but they can also be unnecessary and even detrimental when done through a poorly run organization or for the wrong reasons. These agencies do not make loans, nor do they settle debts.If you have enough cash left over after subtracting expenses from income, consolidation will be presented along with other options. How do you know if a debt management plan will work in your favor?When a counselor is knowledgeable and compassionate, these sessions can be enlightening and motivating. If he or she acts bored, judgmental or pushy, request a different counselor. First, the bulk of your balances should be in unsecured debts, such as credit and charge cards, personal loans and, sometimes, collection accounts.Many clients get a rude awakening when they think they're all paid off, only to find they still are in the hole for thousands. This can be a mighty difficult adjustment if you're used to whipping out the plastic on a daily basis. After all, if you are still charging while repaying, you're spinning your wheels.