What is a Credit Card Hardship Program?


Life has a way of mocking us when it comes to our finances.  When we actually think that things are going right… Boom!  There is an emergency.  It could be illness, job loss, mortgage or injury.  All of these have an impact on our monthly income.

A hardship program comes into play when you are unable to meet your monthly financial obligations. A hardship program is an agreement which you make between you and your credit card company. The agreement will help you reduce your monthly payments and interest rates to more manageable terms.

Do You Need a Credit Card Hardship Program?

If you are unable to pay your credit card bills on time, it is a good idea to try for a hardship program.

There are times where the hardship program can completely eliminate an astounding proportion of the initial principal, as explained by National Debt Relief on their blog.

The hardship program lasts between six months and one year. The credit company will not allow you to completely avoid making your monthly payments but it will limit the interest rates. The amount which you will be paying will help you pay off your debt conveniently.

This type of program is eligible for individuals who are struggling to make monthly payments. However, it should be the last resort after one has exhausted all other available options.

The following situations will make you eligible for a hardship program:

  • Death
  • Injury
  • Divorce
  • Job loss
  • Natural disaster

Why do Credit Card Companies Offer Hardship Programs?

A hardship program benefits both the credit card company and the individual. As an individual, you have the chance to make payments which are more manageable. This means they might include lower interest. Moreover, you get a chance to build a good credit score.

On the other hand, a credit card company will continue receiving its monthly payments no matter how small. Moreover, they reduce the hassle of having to chase a client down to make payments, wiping out the debt or moving the debt to a collections account.

How Do You Enroll in a Hardship Program?

The last thing credit companies want to do is to advertise that they offer hardship programs. This means you have to be the first one to reach out.

However, before enrolling in the program, you need to think decisively about this action. Once you evaluate your finances then you will know the correct information to tell the credit card company.

Here is a look at some things you should keep in mind when enrolling for this program.

  • Talk to the Right Person 

The average customer service representative will not have an in-depth knowledge of the information which you require. When you call the credit card company, be sure you request a member who works in the hardship program department.

This will make it easier for you to get all the relevant information. On the other hand, you can opt to visit the company’s website and have a look at the program yourself.

  • Don’t Say Too Much 

When you call the credit card company simply ask for more information about the hardship program. Avoid diving straight to the point and telling customer service that you can’t pay off your debts.

This is because you might raise some red flags. You might be affected negatively since the credit card company might opt to reduce your credit limit.

  • Say Enough 

Once you feel comfortable you can go ahead and reveal your situation. This means you have to give them a proper run down of your financial status and why you can’t manage your monthly payments.

However, before opening up, you should know all the details of the hardship program. This will help you determine if you can afford the program or not.

Always make sure you do not say too much. Give the customer service agent the chance to talk the most so that you have an overview of the program.

  • The Terms 

Once you have talked and you have decided to take the program, discuss the terms. The representative will ask you how much you can afford to pay.

Always be sure that you have crunched your numbers beforehand. This means that you will propose a payment schedule which you are sure you can afford.  However, don’t be shocked when the company at first refuses your proposal.  It is worth trying so that you can negotiate terms from your point of view.

If you are approved to enroll in the program, you will now pay off your debts more conveniently.


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