Depending on how much you know and understand about credit cards and what to ask will determine whether you should get help before contacting your credit card company about negotiating your debt. Often you can negotiate on your own behalf, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, you may be better off seeking help from someone like a credit counselor.
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Using a credit card can make life a lot easier and more convenient. It can also get you into financial trouble if you do not treat it responsibly. In cases where you have trouble paying your bill or if you are only able to pay the minimum due each month, there are many companies that are willing to work with you and set up alternate terms for your account.
Call Your Company Immediately
The best time to call your credit card company is as soon as possible. Once you are in a position in which you are having trouble paying your credit card bill, you should call immediately. The longer you wait the more difficult it will probably be to negotiate.
Most credit card companies are more willing to work with you when you are in good standing with your account.
You may be embarrassed to contact the company right away. Some even wait until their account is in the collections phase before trying to work out a deal. This is not the time to try to negotiate. The sooner you contact them with your intention to pay off your balance, the better your chances will be.
Be Firm and Honest
Although it may seem like the right way to go, most credit card companies don’t care about your personal situation financially. It often doesn’t work to call and cry looking for sympathy. Most companies will be more willing to work with you if you are honest and explain that you have every intention to pay off your debt but with the rates where they are, it is difficult to do so.
When you position it so the company understands that it is in their best interest to help you out, there is a better chance that you can negotiate your rates. Oftentimes when you initially ask for an interest rate reduction, you will be denied.
Be firm and unwavering and ask for the supervisor. He or she is often in a better position to make a decision about your interest rates or about waiving late and other fees.
Visit Forbes Magazine’s website for more information about tips on negotiating.
Have Alternate Options
When you call your credit company, it is always better if you are able to threaten with the option of transferring your balance to a company that is offering lower interest rates. Do some research online and find some companies that are offering a promotion for transferring a balance over, preferably a 0% rate.
If you do decide to transfer your balance over to a credit card with an introductory 0% APR, keep in mind that once the promotional period is over the rate jumps up considerably. Make it your priority to pay off your balance before this happens so you don’t get into trouble again. Go to Consumer Reports to get tips on paying off credit card debt.
Even if you can’t find a promotional rate, search for a card that has an interest rate that is quite a bit lower than the one you currently have. When you call your credit card company, let them know that you are ready to transfer your current balance over to a new company if your rates are not lowered. Most companies will be willing to lower your interest rate rather than lose your business.
Get Help from a Credit Counselor
If you have attempted to call your credit card company and have not been able to strike a deal, your next step may be to contact a credit counselor, such as through Consolidated Credit Counseling. A counselor can often work out a negotiation with the company and get a lower interest rate for you.
Keep in mind that a counseling service will usually be unable to negotiate a lower balance on your card and you will still need to pay off the whole balance of your card.
Choose a nonprofit company to work with, as there are a number of so-called debt reduction companies that are considered to be scams.
Use the FREE card finder tool to locate credit card deals for you!
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