You can receive a discount on your credit card account through a process known as debt settlement. This common tactic for debt management allows you to pay off your account for less than the full amount owed. The savings can be significant. The SmartMoney website reports that some credit card companies and debt collectors will settle for between 20 and 75 percent of the balance. That means you could receive a discount of up to 80 percent. However, debt settlement is usually possible only when your account is delinquent and in danger of being sold or assigned to a debt collector.
Make a list of the credit card accounts that you would like to pay off at a discount.
Review the most recent billing statements to determine if any of the accounts are past due. SmartMoney reports that, generally, credit card accounts must be at least 90 days past due to qualify for debt settlement.
Contact the credit card companies by calling the customer service number on your billing statement. Call customer service for every card you want to pay off at a discount -- even if it isn't 90 days past due. It won't hurt to ask. Tell the customer service representative that you are no longer interested in paying the account as agreed and that you wish to settle for less than the balance. Keep in mind that you likely will have success only on those accounts that are seriously past due.
Offer to settle your account for 20 percent of the balance. That's clearly a low offer, but offers room for negotiation. Continue the discussion until you have a deal -- even if you have to keep calling back over several weeks or months. Get all of the details in writing before you make the payment.
Robert Lee has been an entrepreneur and writer with a background in starting small businesses since 1974. He has written for various websites and for several daily and community newspapers on a wide variety of topics, including business, the Internet economy and more. He studied English in college and earned a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Governor's State University.