Tips For Haggling With Credit Card Companies Over Debt Mountains

If you’ve buried yourself in credit card debt and are strangled by your payments, you can try to work out a better deal by negotiating with the companies you owe. Some smooth talking might net you lower rates, more manageable payments and more time to pay up.

Bible Money Matters coaches you through the process. To bargain for better terms, do a little research to find competitors willing to accept balance transfers at attractive introductory offers. Then call the company and give them a chance to give you a better deal in order to keep you from moving your debt. If the bank you’re working offers lower introductory rates, you can mention those in an effort to get them to match their own deals.

If you’re struggling due to medical issues or a job loss, ask if the bank has any programs that you’re eligible for. Stay courteous and don’t get pushy. If you’re denied, you can always call back and hope that someone willing to help you out will answer next time.

How To Negotiate With Your Credit Card Company: What Options Do You Have When It Comes To Credit Card Debt? [Bible Money Matters]


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  1. Hoss says:

    It says to use a competitor’s offer of zero interest as a bargaining point. Why? If you qualify for the new account it’s a no brainer to use it instead of admitting financial problems

    • Cat says:

      It’s called a lie… don’t say to them that someone actually *offered* you 0%. Find a card that’s offering 0% intro, and lie “X bank offered me 0% for 12 months, yada yada yada…”.

      Ethical? No. But it works.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        The danger with making a threat is that the bank might take you up on your offer.

        At the myfico forums, there are people who called in to ask for lower rates, which only caused the bank to review their account and then close it. Instead of having a credit card with somewhat flexible payments, they were then stuck with a closed account that showed up as a revolving line of credit with 100% utilization on their credit reports.

        • Cat says:

          True, but you’re pretty much taking a chance this will happen… even if you do nothing. And chances are your credit rating already is in the crapper if you’re considering bargaining with your CC company.

          • webweazel says:

            Even if you have stellar credit, it doesn’t hurt to bargain with credit card companies.

            We just got a new card- 0% for 21 months intro, 12% interest, and they gave us a $9,000 credit line right off the bat. Pretty decent. We already transferred over one small balance, (all the other balances are pretty small-less than $1,000 each) and will be calling up the other cards to see what they will do on interest. (The highest interest rate we have on any others is 16%.) If nothing, we carry through on our threat and transfer the balance. If they decide to close the card, we’ll still transfer the balance and close the card. Good riddance. There’s another 10 pre-approved offers in our mailbox each week to replace that one.

            This is our bargaining chip in order to see if they will lower interest rates permanently, not to do us a favor on a balance.

    • Unclaoshi says:

      You also usually have to pay a balance transfer fee.

      • Foil says:

        Depending on the interest rate of the card, the balance transfer fee will likely be less than what you’d pay in interest within the year.

  2. framitz says:

    My last and possibly most rewarding assignment before retiring from the Air Force was Air Force Aid Officer.

    This is a charitable organization that helps service members that have financial emergencies or similar problem. It is the same type of organization as the Soldier’ and Sailor’s relief organization.

    Many times young Airmen would come to me because of unmanageable debt. I would help them make a financial plan to help them reduce their debt.

    This help often included contacting credit card companies on their behalf. I would speak with a representative and explain who I am and why I’m calling on behalf of the member. 9 times out of ten I would get the interest reduced significantly for them with just one phone call!

    I had set rules as to how and when I could help. Basically it was that, if helping would solve the problem, then I could help, but if the help wouldn’t solve the problem I could not help them.

    On several occasions I got their interest reduced by granting or loaning (0% interest!) the money to catch up with their payments and getting the credit card company to agree to the lower interest in order to get paid.

    I never had a company question my credentials and I was able to help a lot of young people get back on track.

    Having a third party call might be helpful, if the person calling has confidence and remains calm. It’s worth a shot!

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I served in the Army for a number of years and fair or not, being in the military has the fringe benefit of companies bending over backwards to help because they want to avoid any bad PR.

      In terms of dealing with debt, leases, and contracts they also know it’s easier to deal with the soldier calling in than having him go to his First Sergeant, who will then get Jag involved. When I was deployed, Jag aggressively pursued SSCRA violations, something most banks would want to avoid.

    • Hoss says:

      You must have quite a talent. The bank is not playing by the law when they enter a discussion about financial matters with a third party.

      • George4478 says:

        What? It’s illegal for me to hire someone to negotiate on my behalf with a bank? Or is it illegal for the bank to negotiate with someone I’ve hired?

        How do private accountants work if they cannot talk to financial institutions on behalf of their clients?

      • humphrmi says:

        I don’t think that law is as strict as you believe it is. I have a financial advisor, and based on a single document I signed giving him the power to do so, he has contacted insurance companies and saught bids for life insurance on my behalf.

  3. jenolen2161 says:

    So what would I do when I have a card that’s got an insanely high interest, carries a balance, the card issuer refuses to lower the rates…but then sends me AT LEAST 4 offers a month for a 0% or lower-rate card. Do I take their own offer to them and say “Why don’t you just lower the rate on my existing card?”