Credit card consolidation and debt settlement programs are two of the most popular credit card debt relief options. Both of these options can make financial sense for the right individual but how do you know which one is better for you? This article should help you make that decision.Debt settlement programs is one option for financial relief. Debt settlement is intended for people that are going through a financial hardship and struggling to pay their bills. Those you qualify can have 40-60% of their unsecured credit debt completely removed while paying back the rest in monthly installments or one lump sum payment. The biggest thing about settlement programs is that now you don’t have to pay upfront fees. New laws were passed that ban these companies from collecting fees upfront so you only have to pay when they eliminate your debt by at least 35%.Credit card consolidation programs are another option. This is intended for those people with several high interest credit cards. When you sign up for a consolidation program your credit cards are completely paid off and you will now be paying back the consolidation company under a secured loan. So you’re basically trading your high interest unsecured debt for a low interest secured debt. This means you will have to use a secured asset to back up your new loan typically a house or other large asset.Credit card consolidation loans can be a great way to pay back debt more efficiently. Just a few points in lower interest rates can results in thousands of dollars in savings over the course of the payback period. You must be very careful however. If you default on the consolidation loan you could end up losing you house so you should be confident that you can comfortably meet the monthly payments throughout the course of the loan.Both of these option can make financial sense. Typically, if you can comfortably meet your minimum monthly payments and see no financial hardship occurring in your near future a consolidation loan is probably better. If however you are struggling monthly to make your payments or see a financial hardship occurring down the road, a debt settlement might be the better option. Also, new federal laws were recently passed which makes debt settlement a much better option. Now you don’t have to pay your fees upfront. You only pay fees when your settlement service eliminates at least 35% of your balance. They don’t perform, you don’t pay.