One of the most commonly asked questions when people are facing a mountain of debt and are worried because they cannot make their monthly payments is "how do you ask credit card companies to reduce your balances?" Many people find themselves in this predicament and fear filing for bankruptcy may be their only option. So what to do?
Of course you can't go back and say I should have budgeted better or find some other good reason not to have been able to keep up with the monthly payments. But sometimes there are circumstances that prevent it and it just can't be helped – loss of job, medical bills, etc.
First of all you can hire someone to do it, a credit counselor or other third party, but that will just run up your debts unless you can find a non-profit credit counseling agency that will do it for free. So another and cheaper option is to do it yourself.
Okay so you've got the toll-free 800 number of the credit card company. Call customer service. Be polite and friendly but matter of fact. Don't cry or wail or be overly friendly. Ask if you can renegotiate your terms. Ask them if you can arrange for a new payment schedule with lower monthly payments and lower interest rates. Ask them if they have a hardship program they can put you on. Tell them you may have to file bankruptcy (but only if this is true – this could create a problem if it is not.) Sometimes this works because they don't want to not be able to collect anything. Generally for a non-payment credit card account they'll turn it over to a collection agency and they'll lose a considerable amount of money depending on the arrangement they have with the agency and how much the agency collects from you.
This approach may not work and some credit experts say it may not. However if you're in a position where you have completely stopped making payments to them then they will be much more willing to renegotiate with you. But don't stop making payments if you are capable and just looking for a way to reduce your balances. This could work against you.
It's worth a try if you're absolutely in a desperate situation. This is one approach to the question "how do you ask credit card companies to reduce your balances?" Make sure you get your three free annual credit reports from the three credit reporting agencies (credit bureaus) and check them over thoroughly. Know where you stand before you do any negotiating. If your credit history has been good then that can be a negotiating point too. There are many other tips and secrets to working with credit card companies and repairing your credit. With a little research you can build your knowledge fast.