When using a credit card, you do so with the intention of paying back the balance in full. Even if it takes you a few years, you realize the importance of making good on your decision to borrow money.
Unfortunately, things have a way of changing without notice, so you may find yourself in a position in which you can’t afford to continue paying on your credit card balance. You may not even be able to afford the minimum payment.
If you run into financial trouble, it’s important that you negotiate with your credit card company. This is much better than simply hiding and hoping for the best. This will only cause you more trouble in the long run.
There’s no right or wrong way to negotiate with a credit card company, but there are five tips you can follow to help yourself:
1. Know Your Budget
Don’t go into negotiations until you’re 100 percent clear of what you can afford to pay. Without this, you could end up agreeing to something that doesn’t suit you.
As you make your first call, do so with your budget in front of you. That way you can think on your feet and make knowledgeable decisions.
2. Take Notes
Even if you have a good memory, it’s critical to take notes as you discuss your situation.
Start by writing down the date and time of the conversation. From there, jot down notes as you discuss your situation. This includes everything from questions you asked to questions they asked to the next steps in the process.
3. Ask How Much You Owe
You may think you know how much you owe, but you still want to verify this. You may find that your number and their number doesn’t match up.
Should this be the case, ask them why. You don’t want to end up paying on something that you don’t owe.
4. Find the Right Department
It goes without saying that a customer service rep doesn’t have the power to settle your debt. You’ll need to get in touch with the appropriate department, and that’s not always easy. The first person you speak with may not be happy about passing you through.
Ask to speak with the loss mitigation or debt settlement department. Either of these should be able to help.
Tip: if the first person you speak with can’t assist you, ask if there’s a manager available.
Don’t expect your credit card company to make this easy. After all, they really don’t want to settle your debt. However, they may realize it’s in their best interest.
As you negotiate, stick to your guns. If your credit card company insists on a number you can’t afford, let them know that it won’t work for you.
By following these simple tips, you’ll have more confidence as you negotiate with your credit card company.