There may come a time when you need to negotiate a payment solution with a credit card company. You might find yourself with an increased minimum payment, an increased interest rate, or perhaps your income has changed and you can no longer afford the minimum payment. Remember that no matter how much the bill collector insists that you pay them immediately, your credit card bill might not be the most important bill you have that month. Most people would agree that buying groceries or paying your health insurance premium would certainly be more important than paying a credit card bill, when money is tight.
However, the bill collector you are dealing with certainly won’t understand this. Hold the collector to the rules and regulations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) , which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you. Remember that this is your money, and you have a right to decide what to do with it.
Do not let the collector intimidate you into anything tricky, like post-dated checks or automatic payment dates. Once you give a collector your bank information or a post dated check, there is little you can do to prevent them from processing your payment early and causing you more problems. You also do not know what may happen with your finances a few weeks from now. What if something changes with your budget? Your payment will still be processed.
Always keep things simple when negotiating a payment. You do not need to provide all the details of why you can’t pay on time – it’s likely the collector will have no sympathy for your situation, anyway. A simple explanation, with a straight forward offer of what you can afford should be enough. If the debt collector does not accept your offer, then tell him good day, and try again the next time they call. There is simply no reason to become stressed because of an aggressive bill collector, and always remember that your family’s livelihood is more important than a perfect credit score.
If you and the collector come to an agreement, always ask for written confirmation of the agreed terms. If the the collection agent says that paying 50% of the balance due will settle the bill, then he/she needs to send this to you in writing. Also, follow up on the company’s honesty by checking your credit report after you make your payment – make sure all information is accurate.
Even once you have negotiated your payment down to an amount that is more affordable, it is very possible to still be swimming in debt. In the majority of cases, your money is mainly going towards interest and fees. The credit card industry is not very interested in helping you pay off your bill – they know the longer you carry a balance, the more money they make. Remember, bankruptcy is the only solution that will allow you to get a true fresh start. Bankruptcy also will stop all collection efforts, immediately! Contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney today, if you would like to discuss your personal financial situation.