- 1 I’m $10k in Credit Card Debt (Again) – How I’m Paying it off
- 2 I Have an Old Credit Card on My Credit Report. Will It Go Away? - Julie
- 3 Compare debt consolidation loans for bad credit
- 4 Can you get a consolidation loan if you have bad credit?
- 5 13 Awesome Tricks for Negotiating Credit Card Debt
- 5.1 13 Tips for Negotiating Credit Card Debt
- 5.2 Check to See if Any of Your Debt is Zombie Debt
- 5.3 Try to Settle Before Your Account Goes to Collections
- 5.4 Call the Credit Card Company With the Lowest Balance First
- 5.5 Negotiate a Lower Interest Rate
- 5.6 The Phone Call Might Take Awhile
- 5.7 Be Patient- Remember the Ultimate Goal
- 5.8 Be Willing to Transfer Your Balance
- 5.9 Don’t Give Them Access to Your Bank Account
- 5.10 You May Have to Pay Taxes on any Forgiven Debt
- 5.11 Debt Negotiation is Just a Start
I’m $10k in Credit Card Debt (Again) – How I’m Paying it off
About 4 years ago (as of this writing), I came to Thailand with $1500 in my checking account and a dream to “make it” as an online entrepreneur.
Actually, let me rewrite that first sentence to more accurately reflect the truth:
About 4 years ago (as of this writing), I came to Thailand with $1500 in my checking account and $22,000 in credit card debt.
I came to Thailand after being laid off from my cushy, work-from-home job.
I was living in South Beach, Miami, which is notoriously expensive.
But let’s be real: I didn’t even attempt to save any money.
I just lived paycheck to paycheck and blew it all each month.
So when I got shit canned (for reasons that I won’t go into in this post), I did the only logical thing to do: book a one-way ticket to a country I’ve never been to, halfway around the world, and take it from there.
A few weeks later I found myself at 3am in what seemed to have been the set of the 80s classic movie, Bladerunner.
But not quite; it was Bangkok, Thailand.
After an hour of peering down strangely lit alleys, steam climbing from the drains around me, and a buzz of tangled electric wires humming in the distance, I somehow finally managed to find my hostel.
I cupped my hands around my eyes and looked inside the hostel window with bloodshot eyes.
Everyone was asleep and there was no buzzer.
Yet I’d booked online so I assumed the staff was expecting me.
The only thing I’d left to do was to knock loudly on the front door for what must have been about 15 minutes.
Finally, an exquisitely beautiful young lady, with disheveled hair and ambling in a sleepy daze, opened the door and ushered me in without a word.
As she checked me in I stood in awe of this youthful specimen of femininity.
Maybe I was in love, I don’t know. I was pretty beat.
10 minutes later I smushed my face into a mattress and drifted off into a restless sleep.
Now, as I mentioned in the beginning, I was broke as a joke.
Not only was I dangerously low on cash, I actually owed my bank over twenty grand.
I had no idea how I would be able to continue paying the minimum monthly payments of several hundred dollars I owed each month.
Once BofA tacked my monthly interest onto the balance, I felt like my payments did little more than put another month between this payment and the next.
I certainly wasn’t making much headway towards paying off the debt at this rate.
I felt like I was treading water with this damned credit card debt, but tried not to sweat it.
I had bigger fish to fry.
Namely: how the hell to survive in a strange country where I don’t speak the language, don’t know a soul, and now found myself in with little more than a high-toned notion of starting an online biz.
I lived in this shitty hostel for months.
At night I slept in a muggy, mosquito-ridden dorm room bed with no AC.
I ate fried chicken and rice for dinner from the hawker stalls most every night.
Sometimes I allowed myself a big Singha beer.
I woke up each day and connected to the easy-come, easy-go WiFi and anxiously tried to hustle up enough cash to pay for another few nights of lodging.
On two separate occasions, I didn’t have the money for a hostel bed so I wandered the streets of Bangkok at night and returned to the hostel lobby to work again in the morning.
To top it all off, A few weeks into my journey my trusty old Macbook Pro croaked.
I took it to Panthip plaza in Ratchathewi and found out that unfortunately, my laptop was banjaxed.
Kaput. Ruined. Game over man, game over.
So I went on Craigslist and found a student who was selling his late 2010 Macbook Pro for about $700 USD – which was almost all of the money I had left by then.
I took a taxi out to Assumption university in Chaengwattana where the young fella lived and studied.
The taxi driver, who confidently proclaimed he knew exactly where he was going, got lost on the way, and I almost didn’t get to my destination.
Luckily, I had my 500 baht shitty phone that I bought at Tesco Lotus.
This beautiful piece of crap, unlike an iPhone, would take 2 days to run out of batteries. I absolutely cherished it.
I sat down in the soccer field at Assumption university and waited for almost an hour to get a text from the guy who was selling me his laptop.
While I sat on the bleachers of the neatly trimmed and delightfully green soccer field waiting for the seller to materialize, I noticed fresh-faced students sneaking curious looks at me and giggling, clearly not used to too many foreigners dropping by this out-of-the-way locale.
Just as I was about to call it quits, a young man came up to me and asked me if my name is Vic.
Drew was his name.
Drew spoke good English and was in fact half-foreigner himself, which instantly set me at ease.
It’s one thing to spend almost all of the money you have left on a computer which represents your only means of survival.
It’s another to spend your money on a computer that you bought from somebody who doesn’t speak English, find out that it’s actually broken, and then have no recourse to recover your money because:
A) you’re a foreigner, so F you.
B) take it to small claims court (is there even such a thing here?)
C) cross-cultural misunderstanding, misteeer.
In other words, make a bad deal and you’re screwed; that’s all there is to it.
I came up to Drew’s dorm room and, with niceties out of the way, I proceeded to scrutinize the computer in the severe manner I’d learned from my dad, who had, among other occasions, first impressed me with it when he purchased me a used car in high school from a stranger.
I finished my inspection, decided all was well, paid him the cash, and spent the next 30 minutes wandering around the campus with a paper cup of burnt black coffee in hand, and memories of my university days nostalgically flicking through my mind.
I flagged down a taxi and back to the hostel through treacherous traffic I went.
The next morning I resumed my nervous routine of eat, sleep, work; eat sleep, work.
This routine ruled me for months.
I’m not going to lie, it sucked big time.
I was stressed out, broke, out of shape, and eating poorly.
Were it not for the veneer of a laptop and hostel bed, I’d have been little more than a bum.
Eventually I scrounged up enough cash to move out of that hostel and into a better hostel.
A few months later, my first Thai girlfriend (who I met on ThaiFriendly), helped me get an apartment in her neighborhood in Ladprao.
It was an old, dilapidated stone building that was once a school.
It looked straight up haunted, with large echoey halls, cagey neighbors who averted their eyes, rusty pipes that spit out lead-poisoned water, and iffy elevators that seemed as though they’d tear off their cables and drop the carriage with you inside it to the ground floor at any moment.
Over the next 3 years I had many interesting adventures in this exotic land.
But through it all, I busted my ass every single day to gradually pay off that $22k debt in its entirety.
I don’t think I took a single day completely off from work since I arrived.
And by golly, I paid off every last red cent.
I eventually moved down to Phuket (Bangkok is lovely to visit, terrible to live in) and majorly upgraded my lifestyle.
I got a nice condo to live in, I wrestled my health back from the clutches of overwork and bad diet through lifting and jiu jitsu, and I was finally making forward progress in my business.
And then I did something stupid.
Shortly after becoming debt-free I got an opportunity to go a Frank Kern seminar in San Diego for literally a fraction of the cost that the principal attendees had to pay.
My good friend Josh Denning, who runs a successful Digital Agency / SEO company in Bangkok, and with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work on a number of occasions, invited me to come with him.
He was paying over $10k for the privilege of hobnobbing with Kern and co,. but I was only required to pay $1000 (plus travel expenses).
I didn’t have the cash to pay for this trip outright, which should have been the giant red, neon sign telling me to say “NO” to the trip to begin with.
But alas, like an idiot, I put it all on my credit card.
Yes, the very same credit card that I’d nearly killed myself trying to pay off over the excruciating span of the last few years.
I have to say, this is a prime example of stupidity.
If you make a mistake once it’s OK; you learn from it and you endeavor to avoid it in the future.
But this was a cut-and-dry case of me not learning my lesson.
Once I paid for the seminar and the travel, I started to invent other “important” things that I “needed” to “invest” in.
The next thing I know, I’m almost $10k in debt again. Just like that.
It literally feels like a lead weight has been surgically inserted into my chest cavity, and I carry it around everywhere I go.
Every time I get an email from Bank of America it feels like a car is speeding by with a giant magnet attached to it, tugging at my body, shifting my insides around.
My parents get humiliating letters from Bank of America and AT&T demanding I make good on my payments.
I’m a 31 year old man and I still haven’t squared myself away, what the fuck!
But…as uncomfortable as this feeling is, I can’t sit around feeling sorry for myself.
I’ve sat in this ditch before, and I clawed my way out.
So will I again.
Thankfully, this time around my income is quite a bit higher, so paying off my debt ought to be easier, and have less impact on my lifestyle.
So today, I hereby declare that not only shall I pay off my debt in 24 months or less, I will remain debt-free hereforward, forever more!
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, you may as well sign me up for a lobotomy because I’m too stupid to go on.
So now that I’ve dispatched with the yarn spinning, it’s time to move on to the “how to” of honoring this debt.
I have two businesses (MemberFix and SpeedKills.io).
While both businesses operate at a profit, our scale is still too small to take home any meaningful profits.
And I’ve got to keep as much cash as possible on hand as a buffer for churn, and other unexpected events that could cause our business to implode without some padding.
I won’t bore you with detailed revenue and expense figures for my businesses.
It’s not relevant.
What’s relevant is how much I think I can comfortably afford to pay every month.
The number I chose is $300.
$300 x 24 months = $7200.
That doesn’t cover the entire debt, but I’ll put in some extra cash as it comes in so that I meet my 24 month goal.
I reckon if I maintain my strong routine and keep scaling our businesses, I might even pay it off in a year.
Additionally, I’ll be setting aside $100 in CASH every month so that I can actually start saving.
Now, I should mention one option that’s available in the United States for folks with substantial debt is to call their bank and inform that they they’re unable to pay the entire amount and that they wish to settle for a lesser amount that they can pay.
I’ve considered this option but then came to the conclusion that I undertook my debt in full knowledge of what I was doing.
I’ve nobody to blame for getting into debt but myself.
And when I needed the cash the cash that I thought I needed, my bank was there for me.
The right thing to do, then, is to pay the debt in full, and then stay the hell out of it.
So, that’s my plan for paying off my debt over the next 24 months or sooner.
I Have an Old Credit Card on My Credit Report. Will It Go Away? - Julie
There is a credit card debt on my credit report that is more than 10 years old. I can't get any questions answered or removed from my credit report. I'm in California.
How long is the debt collectable? What is the statute of limitation on collecting the debt? What can I do to get it removed?
Don't miss my free Get Out of Debt - "How To" Guide Series on a number of topics, for loads of practical advice, tips, and help to beat back debt. - Click Here
I think I need a little bit more information. Is this card delinquent and if so when did it last go delinquent?
If it is not delinquent then it can remain on your credit report for a long time and would not count against you.
If the account is delinquent then it should not be reported for more than seven years and 180 days from the time it last went delinquent. I know it can be a bit confusing but the clock to automatically have an item removed begins on the day the card went from being current to behind. If you were current, fell behind, were current again and then fell behind, then the clock starts on the date you last fell behind.
Even though the credit bureaus have that last 180 days to wait to remove it, in practice they will remove a negative item at around the seven year mark.
The older an account is the less it counts against you. The mistake people typically make is to stop adding new information to their credit report after a difficult time.
The best way to think about your credit score is like a report card in school. If you want to bring your GPA up you need to get some better grades reported about you.
If you want someone to look over your credit report and give you some tips about what needs attention and what you need to do next, contact Damon Day, he's a talented debt coach that offers personal consultations.
If you'd like some more information about how to improve and repair your credit, read this step-by-step guide
If you have a credit or debt question you'd like to ask, just click here and ask away.
If you'd like to stay posted on all the latest get out of debt news and scam alerts, subscribe to my free newsletter.
I'd like to invite you to participate in the Get Out of Debt Guy Support Group. Everyone is welcome.
Compare debt consolidation loans for bad credit
A debt consolidation loan could help you cut the number of monthly repayments you make to just one. Compare these loans that could help consolidate your borrowing even with a bad credit rating.
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Guarantor must be a homeowner aged 18 to 78 years old.
This is a loan broker.
Guarantor must be a homeowner aged 21 to 70 years old.
Guarantor can be a homeowner or a tenant, aged 25 to 74 years old.
Guarantor must be a homeowner, or a tenant with an exceptional credit history, aged 18 to 75 years old.
Guarantor must be a homeowner aged 21 to 75 years old.
Guarantor must be a homeowner or a tenant, aged 18 to 75 years old and must pay if you don't.
Guarantor must be a homeowner, or a tenant with a good credit history, aged over 18 years old.
This is a loan broker.
Guarantor must be a tenant aged 21 to 70 years old.
Can you get a consolidation loan if you have bad credit?
You may still be able to get a loan to consolidate your debts even if you have bad credit.
Most lenders check your credit record when you apply for a loan, but some are still willing to consider your application even if you have had problems managing your finances in the past.
However, if the lender thinks you are a riskier borrower because you have poor credit, you may find that:
You have to pay higher interest rates
You have to borrow less
The best debt consolidation loan is one that allows you to pay off your existing borrowing for the cheapest cost while offering affordable monthly payments. To start you should:
Work out how much you owe: Check if there are any fees to pay back what you owe early and total up the debts you want to consolidate. You can pay off most types of borrowing including loans, overdrafts and credit card debt.
Work out what you can afford to pay each month: Draw up a budget to check how much you can repay every month, this is even more important if you have bad credit as you need to avoid further damage to your credit record.
Compare rates for loans that fit your criteria: Look for the lowest rate possible and try to borrow over the shortest time that keeps your new loan payments affordable.
You can use this comparison to search for loans that can be used for debt consolidation from regulated lenders. If you are looking at credit card consolidation, then a balance transfer could be another option worth considering.
Should you pick a secured or unsecured loan?
If two identical loans meet your needs but one is secured and the other in unsecured you should pick the unsecured loan.
While you may be able to borrow more using a secured loan they also put something you own at risk, for example your property.
Is consolidating always a good idea?
Not always, you should only consolidate your borrowing if:
The payments will still be affordable
Your new loan is at a lower interest rate
It will not take you much longer to pay off your debts
13 Awesome Tricks for Negotiating Credit Card Debt
Negotiating credit card debt is an incredibly valuable strategy to help you get out of debt faster. Not only does negotiating debt help lower your payments, it also helps you take control of your finances where before you may have felt powerless.
When you have a ton of credit card debt, it can feel like you have no power against a large credit card company. The debt weighs on you tremendously to the point you’re not sure what to do.
But you DO have some power you can use to better your situation, no matter how much you owe. Negotiating credit card debt might sound a little difficult and intimidating. But once you know how to do it, it’s a great way to take away some of the financial pressure and speed up getting out of debt for good!
Below I’ll show you the most important steps to negotiate credit card debt and free yourself from the demon plastic forever!
Of course, I always recommend getting rid of credit cards completely and using cash only to finance your life. Angie and I haven’t used credit cards for over 10 years now. I can tell you from personal experience, it’s an awesome thing to not have to deal with managing credit card debt every month! We’ve seen great life changing benefits from this, such as:
- We don’t have to worry about paying (and stressing over) another bill every month.
- Money doesn’t get wasted paying interest on a credit card balance.
- We don’t have to worry about overspending- EVER!
- Peace of mind- no debt causing us daily stress.
I know there are people who will tell you credit cards are fine as long as you use them responsibly. But the statistics show that most people don’t do that. I haven’t found any good reason to use a credit card for anything, and I doubt I ever will. Cash is king at our house!
13 Tips for Negotiating Credit Card Debt
So if you’ve decided it’s time to get out of debt and you want get rid of your credit cards for good, here are some excellent tips on how to negotiate credit card debt and get it to a more manageable level. Not every tip will work every single time, but the more you use them the more likely they are to be successful!
We all get credit card offers in the mail. Instead of chucking them in the trash, you should hang on to these for a while. In fact, save as many of them as you can get your hands on, they will come in handy later.
Many of them offer a zero interest rate if you will transfer your balances to their card. Otherwise they will offer a low interest rate for a certain time period. Obviously, these offers are designed to get your business.
The great thing is you can make this work to your advantage when negotiating credit card debt. I’ll show you how to take advantage of that later in this post.
Next on the list is to get organized. Gather all your credit card bills together in one place. That way you can understand just how much debt you have. Write down each account on a sheet of paper with all the appropriate info for each account. Make a list with the following info for each credit account you want to negotiate. Here’s the info you’ll want on your list:
- Name of the credit card company
- The amount you owe on the account
- The current interest rate you’re being charged
- Customer service phone number for the account
- Notes- Here you can write who you spoke to, what new terms you negotiated, etc.
Check to See if Any of Your Debt is Zombie Debt
According to Forbes, zombie debt is years old, and is entirely owned by a debt collection agency. Many times this zombie debt is past the statute of limitations, and you may not be held legally responsible for it.
One way to find out whether you’re past the statute of limitations is to request a Debt Verification letter from your creditor. You can ask for one over the phone or by fax. If you want to request a debt verification letter by fax, here is a template you can use for that.
If you don’t know what the statute of limitations is for zombie credit card debt in your state, you can go here to find out the details.
Try to Settle Before Your Account Goes to Collections
If you’re having trouble paying down your debt, it’s best to be proactive. You’ll likely have more success with debt negotiation if you try to settle your debt before it goes to collections. However, there is no way to know how a creditor will react once you make the call. Some will be willing to work with you, and some will not make any effort at all.
You should be careful about how much you tell them when negotiating your debt. If you lost your job or have had a family emergency, they may be more willing to work with you for a while. But if you tell them you just can’t afford to pay because you have too much debt, they may be less likely to help out.
If you have a job loss, illness, or family emergency, you may be able to negotiate a forbearance. Forbearance simply means the credit card company will allow you to stop paying for a limited amount of time until you can get back on your feet. Be careful though, your balance may still accrue interest during that time, increasing your debt further.
If Your Debt Has Gone to Collections
If your debt has been turned over to collections you may have a little more bargaining power working in your favor. By the time a debt gets to collections, they realize they’re not likely to get much (if any) of that money back. If this is the case, you can offer them much less than what you actually owe, and they make take you up on the offer.
This can work especially well if your bad debt has been sold to an outside collections company. These companies typically buy bad debt for pennies on the dollar. You could start your negotiations by offering them 25-30 cents on the dollar and work up from there. However, you should be willing to pay the negotiated amount as a lump sum. Most will not let you work out a payment plan.
Call the Credit Card Company With the Lowest Balance First
I believe it’s a good idea to start negotiating your debt by attacking the smallest balance first. This is because if you have never negotiated debt before, it’s good to get your feet wet where the stakes are smaller. Once you get to the larger debts you’ll have more negotiating experience and (hopefully) more chance for success!
Negotiate a Lower Interest Rate
- Place a call to the customer service number for your credit card.
- Tell them you’d like to get a lower interest rate and your annual fee eliminated if you have one.
- If they ask why, tell them it will better help you meet your financial obligations to them without any interruptions.
- If they hesitate to offer you a deal, tell them you’re considering other cards with no annual fee and lower interest rates. Tell them you’ll transfer your balance to one of those cards if they can’t negotiate a better deal with you.
- If they still refuse, ask if you can talk to a supervisor. Sometimes the first person that answers the phone may not have the power to get you a lower interest rate. Someone higher up usually has the authority to negotiate better terms with no problem.
- If they refuse to help, then don’t hesitate to transfer your balance to a card at another company with a lower interest rate and no annual fee.
When you make the call, don’t take no for an answer. If you’re easily discouraged by their “no”, then it saves them money. Be pleasant, but firm. Don’t talk from a position of weakness.
For example: If you say “I was wondering if maybe you could give me a lower interest rate?”, that sounds wimpy and probably won’t work. Speak from a position of strength: “I want you to give me a lower interest rate on my credit card and eliminate the annual fee. If you can’t help me out, I’ll be floating my balance to another credit card that has offered me a lower interest rate.” You might even mention specifically some of the offers you received in the mail from other companies.
If you sound passive and unconfident, they will roll right over you.
The Phone Call Might Take Awhile
You might even want to practice the call beforehand, rehearsing what you’ll say and how you’ll say it. Of course, this technique may not work every single time, depending on your payment history and other factors. but if you’re firm and insist upon getting what you called for, you’ll find that it works quite often. You should understand this phone call might be a long one because they will put you on hold multiple times and even try to sell you alternate products.
Resist their sales pitches.
Be Patient- Remember the Ultimate Goal
Remember to be patient, nicely insisting on getting what you came for. You’ll find that negotiating a lower interest rate with this technique works more often than not. This kind of call (as with any call to a credit card company’s customer service department) may last as long as 30 minutes to an hour. But it’s a call that can literally save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars depending on your balance. That, my friends will help you pay off your debt that much quicker and get you further down that road to financial freedom.
Remember, the ultimate goal is debt freedom and a life free from credit cards!
Any time you negotiate a deal for a lower interest rate or to pay off debt, get the details in writing. A verbal agreement over the phone means absolutely nothing. Once you get it in writing, keep that piece of paper and refer back to it as needed to make sure they’re living up to the agreement.
Be Willing to Transfer Your Balance
If you tell them you’ll transfer your balance if they don’t help you out, you should be willing to live up to your word. Don’t be afraid to do business with someone else if you don’t get what you want. You can almost always get a better deal when you float your balance to another card at another company. This is where those credit card offers you got in the mail come in handy.
Don’t Give Them Access to Your Bank Account
If you negotiate a plan for paying off the debt, whether it’s a lump sum or a payment plan, NEVER give them access to your bank account! This is a recipe for disaster!
Some collection companies will monitor that account and make a huge withdrawal at the worst possible time. Some will “accidentally” take out more than you agreed to. Getting that straightened out and getting your money back will be an exercise in futility. Avoid giving them access at all costs!
As you pay off each debt, call the credit card company and close the account. This may be a long phone call, but it’s worth it to have the credit cards out of your life. They will do everything they can to keep you as a customer, offering incentives and other goodies. You will probably spend 30 minutes or more on the phone and end up talking to 2-3 people, but they will eventually close the account once they know you mean business.
Have them send confirmation in writing that the account is paid in full and closed. Keep that document forever so they can’t contact you later saying you owe more money on that account.
You May Have to Pay Taxes on any Forgiven Debt
Anytime a debt is forgiven, anything over $600 must be reported by the creditor to the IRS. According to tax laws, debt forgiven is classified as income so you will have to pay taxes on that at tax time. Be sure to take that into consideration whenever you’re negotiating your debt. There will be consequences on April 15.
Debt Negotiation is Just a Start
I believe the best thing you can do with any credit card is to cut it up and never use it again. They are just not necessary. Just because everybody tells you you need one doesn’t make it true.
Angie and I haven’t had a credit card in over 10 years and I can tell you from personal experience it’s one of the best financial decisions we every made!
So if you want to do better financially and eventually get out of debt, it starts with taking action. It starts with thinking and doing things differently than all the other broke people out there. Negotiating your credit card debt is just one tool you can use to start the process.
Question: Have you ever successfully negotiated a debt? How easy/hard was it? Leave a comment on our Facebook page or below and tell me about your experience!