Get information on card hardship programs from various issuers.

Some credit card companies are offering credit card hardship programs for struggling borrowers. Last year almost 3 million Americans were receiving some type of assistance from these plans. Find information below on how to get assistance from a credit card company. Learn who to contact to get debt help and relief from these hardship programs.

Many companies, including banks and lenders, would rather work with you so they can get some money from you. They would rather do that than see you not pay anything, default on your debt, or file for bankruptcy. As if a person were to do that it can really impacts a lenders financial situation as the credit card companies and banks would receive nothing from you.

While the type of aid provided will vary depending on the hardship program entered into, you may or may not be able to get a company to withhold finance charges for a year or so. Other assistance may be provided as well, such as it is possible to get a temporary reduction in the interest rate you are paying if you call and explain your financial circumstances.

Several banks are trying to provide more information about assistance they offer from their hardship programs and other options that may be available. Below is some of that information as well as the phone numbers to their loss-mitigation departments.

Banks and lenders with hardship programs for credit card customers

American Express: AmEx has a hardship program that is very effective at eliminating debt as it can reduce your monthly payment by as much as 40 percent. However, that is more for extreme hardship cases. Normally  the reduction in your monthly credit card bills will be closer to 10 percent to 25 percent, according to spokespeople from AmEx.





Not only might they help you with your monthly payment, they may also cancel penalties and fees. They also will offer longer term solutions such as debt consolidation or debt management plans to a subset of their customers. If you need help or are interested in the American Express assistance program, call (800) 253-1709 to speak with a service rep. Or read more on credit card hardship programs from American Express.

Bank of America: Credit card debt relief options include eliminating fees that a customer may owe, lowering the interest rate you pay, starting you on a debt management plan, or reducing your monthly payment. You can contact Bank of America at (800) 500-5306 to learn moer, and ask for customer service.

Since they are the nation’s largest lender, the bank does offer a number of resources to low to moderate income customers. Read details on the BOA credit card hardship programs and other forms of financial assistance available. These are free to sign up and apply for. Or find out more on debt management plans.





Capital One: They offer struggling consumers negotiated payment plans, late fee and other waivers such as a reduction in your APR, and more. Get more information on Capital One credit card assistance plans by calling (866) 929-5303. Also, locate example of how real customers are receiving debt assistance from Capital One. There lender offers many sources of assistance. Read more on Capital One credit card hardship plans.

Chase: Chase will suspend future late and over limit fees, they can reduce your credit card interest rates, and even extend repayment terms. To contact JP Morgan - Chase for more information on hardship programs, call the toll free number on your card. If qualified, the customer can enroll into one of these services for free. Also, find some of the current deals that Chase is offering for hardship customers, ranging from lower interest rates to free payment plans. Continue with credit card hardship programs from Chase.

Citi : Citibank offers a credit card hardship program as well. Assistance provided can include temporary credit card debt forbearance, debt consolidation, loan workouts, credit card modifications, settlement plans and interest rate reductions. The exact terms and conditions will vary based on what the customer needs. Find out more on the Citi credit card hardship program, and also cardholders can call Citi at (866) 936-4814.

Discover Card : Credit cardholders who are experiencing a financial emergency or severe hardships may be able to receive a temporary single-digit APR. Another resource they offer is debt management plans, which may prove to be your best option in some situations. If you are a Discover Card member, you can call (866) 567-1660 for more information on their debt help programs. Find examples of Discover Card hardship programs.

Fifth Third Bank : You Have Options is hardship program that is offered by Fifth Third Bank. They understand that with today’s difficult economy, many consumers need assistance. So they will work with the customer and offer them free enrollment into a hardship plan. Fifth Third wants to help you in addressing your current financial situation in a more proactive manner. More on Fifth Third Bank hardship program.




HSBC : HSBC is also pushing a hardship program to aggressively provide support to customers who are struggling with paying their credit card bills and debts. Call (888)-385-8916 for customer service. Also, find out more on the HSBC hardship program and real examples of how people are saving money on their bills.

GE Money Bank : Hardship programs are also offered by GE Money Bank. You can contact them at 866-396-8254 to apply or get additional information on your options. Also read examples of how account holders are settling their credit card debt with GE Money Bank credit card hardship program.

U.S. Bancorp : This is the nation’s seventh largest lender. They will provide a number of hardship programs for people that use their credit cards. They may offer you everything from a payment plan to lowering the interest rate for a limited number of months. If you think you may miss a payment on your Bancorp Visa or Master Card, call them at 800-715-2922 to let them know of the financial hardship that is occurring.

More information on credit card company hardship programs

How are people eligible for debt assistance or hardship programs?
No matter who the bank or card issuer is, eligibility for these plans will depend on the person's personal financial situation, account history, and ability to pay their debt. Many people do not realize that you don't have to be late on your payments in order to get help. In fact, it is better to ask for assistance before you are delinquent on your account.

When do I ask for help?
While you do want to contact them early, you do want to balance that with the fact that you should not sound the alarm unless a missed payment definitely looms in your near future. The reason being that a call made to the credit card company early, before the financial problem is legit might prompt a closure of your account or a lowered limit. It is always advised to wait until you know that a problem is imminent.

How do I negotiate a credit card hardship program?
Try to get your interest rate lowered, as this usually has a major impact and many card companies may offer this option. Be sure to emphasize your previously strong payment history, credit score, and past relationship. It is usually not best to tell them you lost your job since in effect you are telling them that you have no capacity to pay your bills. Instead you need to focus your negotiations on how much you can afford to pay each month. Find more negotiation tips for getting out of debt.

Do credit card hardship letters work?
A letter more than likely will not be enough to resolve any credit card debt problems you may have, but they are good tools to start the negotiation process. So their is no downside to creating one. Find a few examples of credit card hardship letters.





Also keep in mind there be a negative impact to your credit score as if the credit card company modifies the terms of your account and if they do go ahead and report to the credit bureaus. A bank may decide to notify the service that you're paying less than the original amount on your debt or if you are paying according to an altered set of terms. If this were to occur your score could be lowered. However, that lowering of your credit rating with one of these bureaus is always better than the hit to your score if you do not pay at all.

By Jon McNamara

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