Settling Credit Card Debt

Written by admin on July 15th, 2010

One of the most common questions we get is, “How can I got about settling credit card debt myself?”

And it is a great question.  Wanting to settle your debt for less than you owe obviously makes the most sense if done in the most cost-effective manner possible.  There’s tons of advice out there regarding debt settlement.  Some of it is useful but dangerously incomplete.  And some of if it is just plain old bad and should be avoided.

Here is a basic plan for settling credit card debt for less than the principle amount owed.  I’ll discuss some key concepts to this plan and shed some light on how the process works.  First, let’s clear up a couple of things…

Its NOT as easy as you may think and there are plenty of pitfalls to avoid
It requires significant time to do the process, its not a simple call to a collections agency.  You must document, communicate, negotiate, and follow up when settling credit card debt
Don’t expect to be able to simply talk a collection’s caller into settling for 10% of your debt over the phone.  If you are negotiating on your own, 2/3rds is a much more reasonable and attainable goal.

Generally, most people to choose to try to settle credit card debts on their own are able to do so for 75%.  However, the real professionals are able to negotiate settlements as low as 10%.  But this is because they are able to invest significant time into the process and they know exactly what they are doing.

It is not uncommon for people to have no success at all getting any reduction of debt without assistance — even failing to get a break on double-digit interest rates.  Unfortunate folks such as these either remain in debt for life or must reach out for professional assistance.

Attorneys and arbitrators, the common professionals hired to negotiate debt settlements average around 50% and then charge around 15% for their service fee putting the total cost around 65% of your total debt.

So how are they able to settle for 10-50%?  The secret lies in the volume of debt that the professionals represent.  You see the professionals deal with the creditors every single day; they are dependent on each other.  And when a professional approaches a creditor representing millions of dollars in debt from many clients, he’s able to negotiate what is effectively a “bulk discount”.  By representing and being able to guarantee cash for a larger segment of the creditors receivables, a professional is able to gain significant leverage saving his clients big time.

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