As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities across the world, countless individuals are facing a reduction in income or complete job loss. As a result, many people are struggling to keep up with their student loans, mortgage payments, credit card bills, and other debts. In fact, almost two-thirds of Americans with credit card debt are worried about being able to make minimum payments in the next few months if the crisis continues, according to a CreditCards.com poll.
If you find yourself in this type of stressful situation, negotiating credit card debt with your issuer may be a good option to keep you from falling further into debt. We’ve outlined a few tips that will help you negotiate with creditors and collection agencies.
Why Do Credit Card Companies Negotiate Debt?
When finances are tight, it’s fairly common for an individual’s credit card bill to be at the bottom of their list of priorities in favor of bills like auto loans and mortgages. That’s because if you fail to pay those bills, your car or house could be immediately at risk. On the other hand, failing to pay your credit card doesn’t have the same high stakes.
Nevertheless, while your credit card company won’t show up at your door after you miss a payment, falling behind on your credit card bill can still be dangerous. You may face a late payment, a drop in your credit score, a loss of rewards, and sometimes even a lawsuit from the bank.
In some cases, the credit issuers may shift their priorities with the understanding that your credit card bill may be at the bottom of your priority list. Instead of risking you ignoring your entire debt, a card issuer may be willing to consider negotiating so they can get back at least some of their money rather than nothing. Likewise, the credit issuer may be willing to negotiate because they have an incentive to retain you as a customer.
How to Negotiate Credit Card Debt
Hiring a lawyer is the first step to a successful credit card negotiation. A skilled attorney—rather than a debt settlement company—will best serve to provide you with practical legal advice after fully analyzing your situation. Talk to us before trying to tackle the problem on your own – we’ll be able to answer your questions and put you in the best position to know your options. But if it turns out our firm is not a good fit for you and you need to deal with the credit card companies yourself, here are a few negotiation tips:
- Stick to your story: Your story is important. While the credit card company doesn’t need every detail of your life, it is often helpful for you to explain what happened to cause you to fall behind in the first place, why you’re in a difficult position, and what you’re trying to do to get back on track. Providing compelling hardship information may be key to unlocking a better deal and separating yourself from others.
- Avoid drama: It’s important to be firm but polite. Try to stay calm. If you find yourself losing your temper, consider simply ending the call and calling back at another time, or ask if you can speak with someone else.
- Know what you can afford: Understanding the amount of money you can realistically pay will be important when negotiating. Taking stock of your budget beforehand will help you be prepared for what you can and cannot agree to.
- Get everything in writing: If you are able to reach a deal with someone over the phone, make sure you get the terms of the deal in writing. A verbal agreement could get lost in the shuffle, or the creditor may have a different understanding of the terms you thought were just agreed upon. So it’s important to protect yourself and avoid any misunderstandings by putting it all on paper.
- Ask questions: This process can be very confusing. Always ask, if you have any questions along the way. The more information you have, the better.
If you’ve taken on more debt or are having trouble dealing with your existing debt because of the coronavirus pandemic or any other reason, you’re not alone, and help is out there. Even with these tips, it can be difficult to find success on your own. Having a law firm experienced in debt settlement on your side will put you in the best position to successfully eliminate your outstanding liabilities and return to the debt-free life you once enjoyed.
Consult a Skilled Credit Card Debt Settlement Lawyer
At McCarthy Law, we understand the overwhelming burden of credit card debt and are committed to helping our clients end the cycle of expensive interest payments. When you contact our experienced team, we’ll help you explore the best options for getting on top of your finances. A skilled attorney can provide you with practical legal advice after fully analyzing your situation and determining the best way to go about the negotiation process.
The lawyers at McCarthy Law intimately understand the stress of credit card debt—especially for those struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis—and are dedicated to fighting for your financial freedom. To schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced debt settlement professional, call our office at (855) 976-5777 or fill out our contact form today.