Is debt consolidation the same as debt settlement?
No. Debt consolidation is taking out a new loan which encompasses all your other debts within it. You still have the same amount of debt as before, but it's all in one place now. Debt settlement is reducing the amount of debt that you have.
Can I get better repayment terms if I consolidate my debt?
It is possible to get better terms when you consolidate. You will only be making one payment on the new loan and the interest rate for that loan may be lower than the combined interest rates of your former debts. You might have a better time period within which to pay back the debt.
Do I end up paying more if I consolidate my debt than if I don't?
No. You will more than likely pay less when you consolidate your debt because you can get a lower interest rate on the lump sum of the debt and potentially a lower monthly payment too.
Can I use a HELOC, Home Equity Line of Credit, to consolidate debt?