How to Negotiate Credit Card Debt Down by Half

by J. Johnson ; Updated July 27, 2017

Credit card debt is a serious problem for many Americans. Sometimes credit card companies charge high rates and fees that add up. If you can't afford your payments, there are ways you can negotiate with creditors to cut your debt in half.

Step 1

Consider your reason for not being able to pay back your debt, because credit card companies will ask you why you need debt relief. Examples of possible reasons that credit card companies will consider legitimate include a recent divorce, health problems or unemployment.

Step 2

Get assistance from a debt settlement agency, which can help you negotiate with creditors to get your debt cut in half, not just reduced by a small amount. To find a reputable debt settlement agency, contact the Association of Settlement Companies, or TASC. If a company is a member of TASC, they have to follow the TASC bylaws.

Step 3

Tell the creditor that you plan to file for bankruptcy if your credit card debt isn't cut in half. If you do file for bankruptcy, the creditor won't receive any money, so once this is on the table, they may be more open to negotiating.

Step 4

Keep proof of all your correspondence with the creditor. This includes letters you receive in the mail and letters you send out. It's best not to communicate with creditors over the phone. Negotiating through the mail gives you documented proof of all agreements.

Tips

  • Consider forbearance instead of debt settlement. This is when a creditor agrees to accept smaller payments or no payments at all for your debt for a certain period of time. This is usually a better option if you lost your job because you will most likely have a stable income in the near future. Understand that you will continue to be charged interest.

Warnings

  • Only resort to debt settlement if you absolutely have to. In many cases, having your debt reduced by a creditor will hurt your credit score as much as filing for bankruptcy.

About the Author

J. Johnson has been completing freelance writing work since September 2009. Her work includes writing website content and small client projects. Johnson holds a degree in English from North Carolina State University.

Photo Credits

  • scissors and credit card cut in two image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com