Credit Card Hardship programs
So you’re sitting there looking at your life and wondering “how did I get here?” Everything was going along fine and then the economy took a hit, you got laid off or your mortgage payment adjusted and the last safety net that held you up was your credit cards but now even they are raising interest rates, minimum payments and getting maxed out. What do you do? This is a tough spot to be in. However, here is some advice that may get the credit card companies to help.
If you are current on your credit cards and need some breathing room simply call your credit card company and ask for help. With defaults and bankruptcies at an all time high they are more willing to find an amicable solution.
How do I get help?
Call your credit card company and ask if they have a Hardship Program? If you don’t get an attractive solution to your problem then ask for a supervisor and if you have to hang - up, call again and try a new supervisor. It doesn’t help you to get angry at the customer service reps. We are all people and are looking out for our best interests. Be kind, courteous and firm and you’ll have the best chance for success in negotiating with your credit card company.
How can my credit card company help me?
Here are some of the top ways credit card companies can help you. They can give you:
Up to 12 months of 0% interest free payments
Up to 12 months of smaller minimum payments
Up to 12 months of no payments
Does it hurt my credit score?
It may. Any time you are not paying the “agreed” terms a creditor may report that to the credit bureaus and that may have a negative effect on your credit score.
Can they lower my available balance or close my card?
Yes, they can. The credit card companies have a lot of freedom around your access to credit. They can choose at any time to reduce your available balance and even close your card if they want to. By showing weakness in your ability to pay back your credit card may make the credit card lower your balance or even close your card.
Is it worth it?
If your intention is to honor your debt as much as possible then call your credit card company, try to work something out. It may not work, but then again it may offer you the space to get your financial affairs in a better position to get back on track.