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How do you get help for credit card debt?

A:

Quick Answer

Get help with credit card debt by negotiating directly with credit card companies for more time or better terms, suggests Nolo. If this isn't successful, contact a nonprofit credit counseling agency. As a last resort, consult a bankruptcy attorney.

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How do you get help for credit card debt?
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Full Answer

Some credit card companies may be more amenable to negotiating debt payments than others, explains Nolo. Contact your creditors before missing payments, and explain any extenuating circumstances such as job loss, illness and other emergencies. Suggest options such as lower interest rates and long-term payment plans. If customer service representatives are unable to help, speak to supervisors or management. If you are able to come to an agreement, be sure to get it in writing.

There are many debt counseling scams, so before working with a credit counseling agency, check for consumer complaints with consumer protection agencies and your state attorney general, advises the Federal Trade Commission. Although an agency may have nonprofit status, find out about their fees before you begin. Work with counselors to learn to prepare a personal budget and manage your debt. If your credit card debt is very large, a credit counseling agency may recommend consolidating it in a debt management plan, but be wary of the risks before you agree to participate. If you do consider bankruptcy, which allows you to keep some of your property and eliminate debt, keep in mind that it negatively impacts your credit score for years to come.

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