Credit Card Debt Assistance

Seeking Help from an Unlikely Source

One of the first places to turn for credit card debt assistance just may be your creditors. Sound illogical? It's not. While many people would rather have their dentist perform a root canal than call a company where they owe money, direct contact can be extremely beneficial – and in your best interest.

Conventional thinking suggests that you need to seek external help to get meaningful debt assistance. Yet, in many cases, all you need to do is pick up the phone and make the call to your credit card company to get some relief.

It costs you nothing to try and may prove to be one of the best things you can do when you realize you are headed for financial trouble.

Your Approach

Contact the creditor's customer service department (not the collections department) and speak with a phone representative. Be polite and forthcoming throughout the call.

Introduce yourself, briefly explain your financial challenges and emphasize your strong desire to pay off your balance. Keep in mind, this is not a negotiation or settlement call. It is simply a request for some debt assistance.

Here are the types of debt help you can request when you call.

  • If you have late fees, ask the representative to waive the charges just this once. Promise that you will do everything possible to ensure the payment lapse will not reoccur.

  • If your interest rate is high, request the possibility of getting a lower rate moving forward. Explain that this will help ensure you can make your payments to the company and take care of the debt you owe.

  • Related to the above, if you have balances on other credit cards, see if your creditor will give you a lower rate if you transfer over all your balances.

  • Ask for a special payment plan where the monthly amount you are required to remit is reduced. This will help make your payments more manageable and ensure more payment consistency for your creditor.

Of course, your credit card company may not agree to some or any of your requests. Though, often a creditor will try to help someone who has come forward with a sincere desire to make things right.

Direct contact with your creditor is most effective if this is your first time having trouble paying your credit card bills. If you have a long history of debt and delinquency, these tactics probably won't work.

After the Call

If your creditor agrees to some of your requested concessions, get the terms in writing. Watch for any "fine print" that comes with the offer. For instance, there may be fees associated with balance transfers. Or, a lower interest rates may expire in six months or a year and you may be left with a higher overall rate to pay.

You just need to decide if you want to proceed with the terms, based on whether they are financially justifiable.

The important thing to remember is... It never hurts to seek credit card debt assistance from your creditors. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

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