When Do You Need To Use A Credit Card Assistance Program?

sign saying fix your credit with a credit card assistance program

Should You Apply for a Credit Card Assistance Program?

Households in the US on average have about $16,000 worth of credit card debt. Dealing with credit card debt can be difficult and stressful. It can also be hard to catch up on bills if you are experiencing a financial hardship or sudden medical expense. One little talked about option are credit card hardship or assistance programs. Wondering if you should apply for a credit card assistance program?

man painting help sign

Keep reading below for all the information you need.

The Basics

These assistance programs are offered to credit card holders going through difficult times like losing a job or illness. It’s a way to get payment relief short-term.

While specifics depend on the company, these programs generally provide temporary lower interest rates or waived fees. Many programs last either six or twelve months.

Be aware that these programs usually end if you miss just one payment or falter on other conditions.

Don’t act surprised if you haven’t heard of your credit card assistance program. These are not advertised or made public. To access the program, this means you must call and ask.

There likely will not be a number for the program, so prepare yourself to deal with a few transfers.

Ask Questions With Caution

When you call your credit card company, be careful when asking for information. Don’t give details of your situation until you feel comfortable with the information you have received.

ask street sign

This is because sometimes companies will change your account features just based on what you say. For example, if you say you are having trouble paying, they may lower your credit limit.

Provide information on how much you can pay per month realistically. Some companies may be flexible and work with you.

Freeze on Your Card

Before you make a final decision about using these programs, prepare to lose access to your card. While on an assistance program, your company will likely freeze the card.

This helps you focus on paying what you already owe and not adding to your debt amount. Even if you choose not to sign up for the program, freezing your credit card could be one way to start paying down your debt.

Impact on Credit

If you aren’t familiar with your credit score and details, make sure you do this before signing up for a credit card debt assistance program. This is important because using the program may impact your score.

man assisting women in decision making

Try to ask your company what the impact, if any, will be from participating. It may be difficult finding this out, as sometimes agents may not have all the information.

Some companies will report negative remarks to credit bureaus if you fail to make payments or dropped from the program. Don’t assume if you skip a month, they will understand.

Always call and explain politely that your situation has gotten worse.

Choosing a Credit Card Assistance Program

Regardless of the cause of your financial hardship, an assistance program may be the right thing for you. If lower interested and no fees sound helpful to you, be sure to contact your credit card company immediately for information.

Do you have additional questions or want to discuss your credit situation? Please contact us, and we will get right back to you!

Get Control of Your Credit With Our Free Ebook

* indicates required



 

6 Comments

  1. Hey Patrick,

    Great article on getting credit card assistance and more specifically when you need it.

    You’ve provided some great resources here and the links lead to some awesome information, appreciate you sharing.

    Right now my brother is considering bankruptcy in no small part to credit card debt. I think he owe’s north of $60,000 plus student loans.

    It’s not pretty and he does not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just emailed him the link to your site for the resources and assistance. 

    Thanks again,

    Mat A.

    • Hey Mat,

      Thanks for sharing the article with your brother.

      I can understand he does not see the light at the end of the tunnel.  However, if he asks  there may be some hope. 

      He needs to contact all of his credit card company’s and ask about their specific credit card assistance programs.

      Each credit company will be different, but if he is willing to put in the effort, bankruptcy can be avoided.

      Best of luck and keep coming back to my site and sharing with friends and family.  Much appreciated.

      Patrick

      Creditsquared.com

  2. Hi Patrick,

    Very helpful information. But I was wondering if you knew if they have that same kind of assistance in Canada? 

    Me, personally, I have 3 credit cards and they are all topped out.

    All together, I owe around $10,000. The problem is that I’m having a hard time keeping up paying the monthly  minimum required payments.

    Do you have any suggestions?

    • Hi Guy,

      I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the post.

      I’m not familiar with Canadian programs but here is a link to a site that may be of some assistance.

      Three cards doesn’t seem like a lot, but having them maxed out is going to present a problem, since you are having trouble making the monthly minimum required payments.

      I would definitely check out a credit card assistance program if you can find one in your country. 

      You might also contact the credit card companies directly.  Explain to them that you are having trouble making the payments and would like to work out a settlement by reducing the balances.

      Here are a couple of posts that may be of assistance.

      How to Get Rid of Credit Card Debt

      How to Pay off Credit Card Debt

      All the best of luck,

      Patrick

      Creditsquared.com

  3. Thanks Patrick for the information. I wish our high school’s would teach practical money management as it relates to credit cards. 

    When young people land a new job, they often see their credit line increases and they fully utilize them to their eventual dismay.

    I found myself overextended after a job loss, so I know how it feels. What are some of the best credit assistance companies?

    • No problem Ernest,

      I agree 100% that our high school system should be providing personal financial management to our kids.

      The more information they have once they enter the workforce the better off they will be.  Education is power, so the more they have the better stewards they will be over their money matters.

      I think anyone that has lost a job can empathize with you. The main culprit is not having enough emergency funds set aside for a rainy day.  When folks lose their income, their first source of funds is credit card accounts. 

      I’m not able to recommend any credit assistance programs, you just need to ask your creditor (credit card company) if they have one and if they will work with you.

      If your’e looking for a credit counselor the Federal Trade Commission has a great website to help you out there.

      Best of luck,

      Patrick

      Creditsquared.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*