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Five Proactive Strategies for Dealing with Your Credit Card Company

Apr 13, 2008
Okay, so you've gotten carried away in years past, and now your credit card debt is more than you can handle. It happens. Or maybe you've been hurt on your job, or have been in the hospital. These situations could also cause you to fall behind on your credit card bills. What do you do? Do you ignore the bills, hoping they will go away (and ruining your credit in the process)? Do you make whatever payments you can, even if they are less than the minimum? The best approach is to be proactive. Don't wait until calls from creditors become the bane of your existence. Here are five proactive strategies that can make the situation better.

1. Call your credit card company and offer to settle for less than the full amount. If you have some cash, then this might be a good approach. One problem is that if you do not have a recent history of missed payments, your credit card company may be unwilling to settle. But it's worth a try.

2. Call your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate. Credit card companies generally give better interest rates to their customers who have a strong record of on-time payments. However, if you are in a position where a lower monthly payment would make a big difference to the quality of your life or your ability to meet your debt obligations, then you should ask.

3. Get a debt consolidation loan and pay the credit card off. This strategy is a good one because it can result in lower interest and a lower consolidated payment than you currently make on various debts. If this strategy is pursued, it is absolutely critical that you not run up additional debt after paying off your old debts - not until the consolidation loan is paid off. Otherwise, you'll end up with more debt than you started with.

4. Stop making payments, accumulate cash, and then call with a settlement offer. The problem with this strategy is that it causes great harm to your credit rating. However, if you are already in a situation where your credit is damaged and you are most concerned with just getting out of debt, then this might be a good solution. This is actually a technique used by some debt management companies.

5. Hire a debt management company. Every credit card company has different policies. One advantage to having a debt management company represent you in your dealings with credit card companies is that they will have a much better feel for how far they can push it with each of your creditors. For instance, if credit card company X has a policy of only settling for a minimum of 75% of the outstanding balance, a debt management company would be much more likely to know this than you.

The best course of action is to keep making credit card payments, but to increase your payment so that more of your payment gets applied to your principal. However, if you are having difficulty making your minimum payments, then this may not be an option. You may have to be willing to take a hit on your credit report. You have to weigh the importance of maintaining good credit versus getting your finances under control. If your family is suffering and creditors are calling non-stop, then you may be better off dealing with your credit card companies however you can, credit rating be damned.
About the Author
ClearOne Debt Relief is a full-service debt management company providing debt settlement services such as credit card debt relief to hundreds of thousands of customers. We help people cut their debt in half, lower their monthly payment, and get out of debt in as little as 24 months.
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