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Who qualifies for credit card debt forgiveness?

You don't have to live with overwhelming credit card debt. You have options. Getty Images

The use of credit cards is commonplace in the United states. The average American has 3.9 active credit cards in their wallet, according to Experian. While credit card usage is common, it can also be easy to let your balances grow out of control against a backdrop of persistent inflation. And, that can lead to financial struggles.  

If you're dealing with mounting credit card debt, it's wise to address that debt as quickly as possible. But what can you do if you have too much credit card debt and can't afford to make your minimum payments? Credit card debt forgiveness may be an option. But, who qualifies for forgiveness?

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Who qualifies for credit card debt forgiveness?

When it comes to credit card debt forgiveness, you may think there are government programs that help get rid of debt. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a government-sponsored program for credit card debt relief. In fact, if you receive a solicitation that touts a government program to get you out of debt, you may want to think twice about working with that company.

But the good news is that credit card debt forgiveness does exist — it's just not government-sponsored. While it's highly unlikely that any credit card company will forgive 100% of your debt without it being part of a bankruptcy, you may be able to negotiate a settlement with your lenders in which they forgive a percentage of the balance you owe. Moreover, nearly anyone who has a hard time making their credit card payments may qualify for forgiveness. 

How to get your credit card debt forgiven

There are a couple of ways to get your debt forgiven by credit card companies. Those include: 

Debt settlement programs

Debt settlement programs are a type of debt relief service. At the start of the program, a debt relief expert will typically analyze your debts and financial position. Using this information, the expert will create an affordable, effective payment plan. 

When you make your payments to the debt settlement company, they generally hold the money in a special-purpose savings account. Once you've saved enough money to settle your debts, the debt settlement company starts negotiating with your creditors in hopes of reducing your principal balance. These negotiations are often successful, resulting in significant long-term savings. 

But there are some potential disadvantages to think about before signing up for one of these services. For starters, debt settlement companies do not make payments to your creditors as you save for your settlement. That will likely hurt your credit score and impact the ability to borrow for some time. 

Moreover, there's no guarantee that your credit card company will accept the settlement. If they don't accept it, you could end up with a larger debt burden than you started with, and if they do, you'll likely need to pay income taxes on the amount of debt that was forgiven. 

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If credit card debt settlement doesn't provide enough relief, it may be time to reach out to a bankruptcy attorney. Sure, bankruptcy will likely harm your credit score and ability to borrow in the near term, but as a last resort, it's often an effective way to get out of overwhelming credit card debt. You may be able to get your debt 100% forgiven through bankruptcy, giving you the ability to restart on a clean financial slate. 

Debt forgiveness may not be your only option

Debt settlement programs and bankruptcy both have the potential to result in forgiven debt, but they're also likely to have a significant impact on your credit score and your ability to borrow. But there are other options to consider, too, including: 

The bottom line

Credit card debt can be overwhelming, but you don't have to deal with it forever. If debt consolidation loans are unavailable and debt consolidation programs don't offer enough relief, it may be wise to use a debt settlement company to try and get a percentage of your debt forgiven. But if debt settlement doesn't provide enough relief, it may be time to file bankruptcy and restart on a clean financial slate. 

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