How to Apply for a Credit Card Hardship Program

Get help with credit card payments during challenging times.

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Are you experiencing financial hardship? If you’re feeling the strain during the pandemic, many credit card companies offer hardship programs to help their customers. However, these programs require the credit card holder to initiate the request.

What is a credit card hardship program?

These programs help you manage your payments by temporarily reducing your monthly payments. The credit card hardship program is company-specific and the guidelines are set by them.

Most programs can be in force for six months or up to an entire year. And usually comes with lower interest rates, a customized repayment schedule, and even reduced balances by eliminating old late fees and over-the-limit charges.

How Credit Card Hardship Program Works

Companies offer these programs to ensure they get paid and the account does not go into further default or charge-off.

If you’re struggling to make your credit card payments because of changes in your life, then it may be time to reach out to your creditor and discuss your options. Some hardships include:

  • Lost of job
  • Sickness or injury
  • Death in family
  • Reduction of work hours
  • Divorce
  • National disaster

These hardship programs are meant to help you during a time of hardship. It is not meant to help you because you’re unable to manage your money.

You can increase the success of your credit card hardship program enrollment by completing a budget. It will help you speak confidently with an agent by knowing how much money comes in and where it is going. The hardship program agent will most likely ask you about your income, expenses, and other debts.

How to enroll in a credit card hardship program

You must ask each credit card company about their hardship program. The customer service representative you reached in the call center will most likely transfer you to another department. When you speak with a hardship coordinator, they will ask you a series of questions to see if you qualify for the program.

Know the program rules and limitations

Even though you are unable to make the current payment, they may see you’ve paid on-time each time and therefore not eligible. But, request for a more thorough examination of your situation.

Share the major change in your life

Share what has occurred and why you’re being proactive to address the situation. You don’t need to share your financial struggles in detail because most representatives are filling out a form. Stick with the facts and let them do all the talking. This is important so you can understand the hardship program details.

Agree and enroll

Once you’ve gotten the specifics about the credit card hardship program such as the duration, process, new interest rate, and the approval process, it is now time to ask about your new payment.

Does a credit card hardship program impact your credit?

Some credit card companies may report that you’ve enrolled in a hardship program to the credit bureaus. This may have a negative impact on your credit score. However, credit card company programs have different policies and may keep the details of your enrollment in-house.

It might be useful for you to monitor your credit report with a free credit score app that offers alerts.

Jason Vitug

Jason is the founder of phroogal, creator of the award winning project Road to Financial Wellness, and author of the bestseller and New York Times reviewed book, You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life.

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