Debt can cripple your finances and your life overall. But in our modern consumer-centric lifestyle, EMIs and loans are common practices.
Heavy amounts of overdue debt can cause emotional turmoil, anxiety, and even acute depression. Calls for collection of debt amounts and the notice letters can be alarming for most, especially if they don’t have the money to cover it.
Customers feel overawed to speak to lenders, as they don’t exactly know how to negotiate. But the surprising thing is that most creditors are usually more approachable than you imagine.
These companies can profit even if you don’t pay in full, as they charge in dollars if they buy the debt for pennies. So, if you really know what you’re doing, you can settle for less than the actual amount.
For a start, here are 5 tips for negotiating the debt amount smartly with your creditor:
- Pay half of it
Target paying 50% of the amount or even less when you’re trying to settle debts. It will not be easy, though.
It will take time, but most of the unsecured creditors will come around to agree on 30 to 50% of the total debt. So, a good strategy would be to start your negotiation from around 15% and see where it gets.
Also, keep in mind that there will be some consequences too. Canceled debt beyond a certain amount becomes taxable in many countries. This kind of settlement increases your tax liability as well.
Declaring bankruptcy can discharge a lot of unsecured debt. Though this step shouldn’t be a usual escape route, it can be your only way out if the burden gets too heavy for you.
Be warned that your credit score and reputation will be a huge blow. But if you’re thinking about bankruptcy, it’s probably already in a bad place due to the missed payments.
In most cases, the entire amount owed to an unsecured creditor gets exempted. Most unsecured credit companies like credit card providers know this very well, which is why they would settle on a lower amount than getting nothing.
You can use bankruptcy as a negotiation tactic as well. Even if it’s not likely that you’d file for it, just giving your creditors a hint or two about bankruptcy can give you a settlement offer for a much lower payment.
- Talk directly with the creditors.
Always try to negotiate directly with your creditors. The collection agencies neither have the interest nor responsibility for your debts or the settlement. This direct contact will even save you some points in your credit score.
If you talk and deal with the debt collectors, upon being sold, your credit report will get collection amounts, not the usually missed payments.
You can take help from companies that have expertise in Credit Mediation debt negotiation. They can provide you with a better deal.
- Stand up against bullying.
Never be afraid to question things if they don’t seem right, and always stand up against bullying from the collectors.
In most countries, you are protected by your fair rights.
Creditors or these collecting agencies can’t arrest you; they don’t have any right to threaten you. If they pretend that they’re part of any government agency, it’s completely false and illegal. If they try public shaming or harassing, that’s a criminal offense.
Don’t tolerate abusive language or violence from a debt collector. Instead, report them and sue them.
- Update and recover
Another significant part of the negotiation is to force your creditors and collection agencies to mark the debts as paid after you’ve made the appropriate payment.
If they don’t remove these inaccuracies and all these negatives from the credit report, all your late payments will stay in the report for a maximum of seven years. All the charge-offs would remain too for the same period as the creditor would write off your debt as a loss.
To recover your credit score, correct your financial decisions and the sort of behavior that got you into debt in the first place. Be responsible about spending credit, and try to be on track for the payments.
To negotiate with your creditor, you need confidence and courage. In addition, there are tactics that you need to learn. Finally, you can hire professional help, like a lawyer, if all else fails.
Also, you can negotiate with your creditors only when you have some innocence. If you waste your credit repeatedly, you won’t be able to convince them.