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Negotiating with credit card companies

If you owe a credit card company and you are not able to pay the total balance each month, then you are probably racking up interest and finance fees. Those charges can quickly spiral to create an ever-increasing balance, especially if you are still charging with the card. One way you might be able to reduce the balance you owe is to negotiate with your credit card company.

Credit card companies are businesses, which means they might be willing to negotiate if you can offer them something of value. One of the most negotiable things on your credit card statement is actually a late charge. This is especially true if you aren't in the habit of paying your bill late -- if you miss a single payment and are able to make a payment when you call your credit card company, they are very likely to remove the charge, which could be $35 or more.

If you've paid on time more often than not, you could also negotiate your interest rate. Simply threatening to transfer your balance to a lower interest card could shave a few points off the rate, saving you a lot of money in the long-term.

But what happens if you haven't been able to pay your credit card balance in some time and you're now being hounded by the company's collections department? You might be able to negotiate a payment arrangement with the credit card company. Some credit card companies offer to convert your balance to an affordable monthly payment option while closing the account for further charges. Other companies might want two or three large payments to settle your balance, which can be harder to accommodate if you are dealing with a financial crisis.

If you have broached payment options with your creditors and no agreement can be reached, it's time to consider other options. Bankruptcy might be an option that can help you pay back a fraction of what you owe or discharge your debt altogether.

Source: MarketWatch, "How to negotiate with your credit card company," Abby Hayes, Credit.com, accessed June 09, 2016

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