What happens if you are trying your best to make your credit card payments, but your card issuer won’t work with you and insists you make higher payments than you can afford? Debt experts weigh in to help this reader understand her options with her credit card payments:
My daughter lost her job a little over a year ago and she was the main bread winner for our family. Since then, she, my grandson and I have been living on my Social Security and part-time job. I was unable to pay anything on my Capital One account for five months. It wasn’t consecutive. I didn’t pay for three months, then I made a couple of payments, then missed two more. I called and explained this to them in November 2010 and told them I thought I would be able to begin paying again in January 2011. The person I talked to at that time didn’t seem to have a problem with this. However, the calls began. Each time I gave the same explanation but no one seemed to have a record of what I previously said. Some of their collectors are good and some very rude, but that’s another story.
I now have made payments in January, February, March, April, May and soon June. April and May were only $50.00 payments and once again the calls have started. The account has been closed, I’m trying to pay but it is next to impossible to pay the amounts they want to bring the account to what they are calling “current.” They want $300 for the next three (3) months, they continue to charge $39.00 late fee each month and of course, interest.
I fully intent to pay what I owe them but I can’t seem to meet what they are asking. Do I have any way to get them to quit charging the late fee and agree to a monthly payment that I can meet? Are there still such things as “good faith” payments?
Any time you pay less than the minimum payment due, you’re likely to be charged late fees. And if you fall sixty days behind on your credit card, the issuer can raise the interest rate on your existing balance to a “default” interest rate which can make it that more difficult to dig out from under.
Every creditor handles delinquent accounts differently. That’s why I thought it would be helpful to run your question by experts who are “in the trenches” working with consumers in trouble. So I asked three debt negotiation experts to share their experience with Capital One, as well as their advice for your situation. They all seemed to agree on one thing: your small “good faith” payments may be backfiring on you, and preventing you from getting into a true hardship plan that would give you the relief you need.
Here’s what they had to say …
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