How to write a hardship letter to credit card companies

For those who have fallen on hard times and have difficulty paying off their credit card bills, writing a letter of hardship is one way to alleviate the burden of debt. Because a credit card settlement may reflect negatively on your credit score, writing a letter of hardship should only be considered as a last resort.

Write down what you are asking for in the first line of your letter. Be exact. If you are asking for a settlement of your credit card debt, for example, write down what percentage of your total debt you would like forgiven. Keep your requests reasonable; avoid asking for total debt forgiveness, as this is less likely to be accepted by the credit card company.

Explain the cause of your hardship. Describe the change in circumstances which have left you unable to pay your credit card bills, such as job loss, home foreclosure or death in the family. Personalise the letter with important details, but try to be succinct.

Make copies of important documents that can verify your hardship status and attach those copies to the letter. Examples of documents are bank statements, pink slips, utility bills, and death certificates.

Include a time line. When asking for a settlement of credit card debt, explain how long it will take you to make the payments on that settlement. Make sure that you will be able to keep to this deadline.

Include your contact information, including your home address, e-mail and phone number, so that the credit card company can contact you through their preferred means. Mention which times you will be available via phone.

Thank the addressee in advance. You are asking the company for a favour, so make sure they understand that you are grateful for any help they might give.

Warning

Avoid trying to pass the blame for your inability to pay your credit card debt. Be honest about your own failings, as this will make your claim more genuine.

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About the Author

Dotty Ilean has been a writer since 2006, with work appearing on various websites. She holds a B.A. in political science from UC Davis and is pursuing an M.A. in international affairs.

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