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How to qualify for lower credit card payments

If you can't afford your credit card payments, there may be ways to lower what you owe each month. Getty Images

Credit card debt can be overwhelming, especially in today's high-rate environment. And, since the majority of a credit card's minimum monthly payment is interest, rising interest rates can result in larger credit card bills. 

Combine that with the increasing costs of consumer goods and it's easy to see how many people are facing financial hardship. So, what can you do if your credit card minimum payments are too high? There are a few ways you may qualify to reduce them

Get in touch with a debt relief expert now

How to qualify for lower credit card payments

If high credit card minimum payments are weighing on your budget, there are a few things you may be able to do to lower them, including: 

Sign up for a debt relief program

If you're having a hard time making your credit card minimum payments, a debt relief program could make sense. Debt relief can include the following programs: 

  • Debt management: With debt management programs, the debt expert works with your lenders to try and reduce your interest rate and improve your payment terms to make it easier for you to afford your payments. After you enroll, you send a single monthly payment to your debt relief provider and they'll make payments to your lenders on your behalf. 
  • Debt forgiveness: Debt forgiveness typically requires you to stop making monthly payments to the credit card companies and make payments to your debt relief provider instead. The money is saved in a special purpose account until enough accrues to start settling your debts. That process typically involves negotiations with your lenders to get them to accept a lump sum payment that's lower than the total balance owed. Debt forgiveness can have a detrimental impact on your credit report, but it could also be an effective way to avoid bankruptcy.   

Start on your path to debt relief today

Consolidate your credit card debt 

If you're not struggling to make your minimum payments but still want relief, consolidation could reduce your credit card payments

When you consolidate your credit cards, you take out a new loan at a lower rate — typically a personal loan, home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) — and use the new loan to pay off your credit card debt. You then pay off the new loan according to the terms of your loan agreement.

Transfer your balances to a new credit card 

Another way to reduce your credit card minimum payments is to transfer your balances to a new card. There are lots of choices for balance transfer credit cards that come with 0% or low promotional interest rates for a set period. While it varies, most balance transfer cards offer a promotional period of at least six months. 

The promotional period allows you to pay down your principal balance without excess interest charges. However, there are a few potential drawbacks to consider: 

  • Promotional interest rates will expire and it's important to pay down your debt before they do. Otherwise, your debt will accrue interest again at the new card rate. 
  • Balance transfer cards typically come with transfer fees, which are important to consider before transferring your current balances to the new account.

Ask your lender for a lower payment

Getting a lower minimum payment on your credit cards may be as simple as asking for it. When speaking with a customer service representative, it may help to inform them of the financial difficulties you're facing (if any) and ask what help is available to lower your minimum payments. If warranted according to the financial institution's guidelines, you may be able to lower your interest rate or minimum payment during the call. 

The bottom line

Many people are having trouble affording their minimum credit card payments in today's high interest rate environment. But that doesn't mean you have to struggle to keep up with what you owe. Consider reaching out to a debt relief expert, consolidating your debt, transferring your balances or asking your lender for help instead. 

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