What Is Credit Card Debt Forgiveness? Is It Right for Me?

What Is Credit Card Debt Forgiveness? Is It Right for Me?

12:23 AM February 24, 2019

It’s recently reported by the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit that the household debt increased by $148 billion, reaching $17.05 trillion in the first quarter of 2023.  With this, credit card debt forgiveness is an attractive option for individuals who have a lot of debt. When a borrower’s creditor agrees to forgive a portion of their debt, it’s seen as a form of relief. However, the process could be more direct. 

This article will discuss all the details you need about credit card debt forgiveness and whether it’s the right path for you. 

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What Is Credit Card Debt Forgiveness?

Credit card debt forgiveness happens when a creditor you owe money forgives your debt. It sounds great, but it’s not that simple. Creditors or lenders aren’t likely to just write off what you owe them. 

Completing credit card forgiveness is almost non-existent. In most cases, you will have to pay a percentage of the debt before they forgive you the remaining portion. You will likely see a reduction in your credit score. Sadly, you may not be able to get credit from another lender for a certain period.

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How Does Credit Card Debt Forgiveness Work?

What Is Credit Card Debt Forgiveness? Is It Right for Me?

The most common way to begin negotiating debt forgiveness with your creditor is to contact the company you owe the debt to. You can either get them yourself. In some cases, you can have someone you’ve authorized to represent you.

The original creditor deals with your debt consolidation or another party. You can find out who to contact by looking at a recent billing statement.


Once you’ve contacted them, you can negotiate the terms of your debt forgiveness agreement. Credit Forgiveness terms can vary by creditor. It could include the option to re-age your account and the amount you need to pay for forgiveness. Then, the amount stated in your agreement needs to be paid before your remaining debt will be removed. After that, your debts with this creditor are no longer.

What Credit Card Debt Forgiveness Programs are available?

Person holding credit card

These are some of the possible ways to enact credit card debt forgiveness and alleviate the burden of overwhelming financial obligations.


Debt Management

Debt management refers to effectively managing and repaying debts to regain financial stability. It involves creating a structured plan to handle outstanding debts, typically with the assistance of a credit counseling agency. Debt management plans (DMPs) are a common approach to debt management. 

With a DMP, the debtor works with a credit counseling agency to negotiate with creditors on their behalf. The agency helps consolidate multiple debts into a monthly payment, often at a reduced interest rate. The debtor then makes regular payments to the credit counseling agency, which gives the funds to creditors according to the negotiated terms. To summarize, debt management aims to help individuals repay debts organizationally and regain control of their finances.

Debt Settlement

Debt settlement occurs when a debtor negotiates with creditors to mutually agree upon a reduced amount of the debt. Typically, this happens when a debtor cannot fully repay their debts. Additionally, debt settlement companies or individuals representing themselves negotiate with creditors on the debtor’s behalf to achieve a settlement agreement.

Once settling, the debtor typically makes a lump-sum payment or a series of payments to satisfy the agreed-upon amount. Debt settlement can help individuals resolve their debts and avoid bankruptcy, but it may negatively impact credit scores and potential tax implications.

Person negotiating with credit card issuer for debt settlement

Government Help With Credit Card Debt 

Government help with credit card debt refers to programs and initiatives introduced by the government to assist and relieve individuals struggling with credit card debt. These programs help borrowers manage their debt and regain financial stability. 

One common government program is debt relief or debt settlement programs. These programs aim to negotiate with creditors on behalf of borrowers to reduce the total amount owed or establish more manageable repayment terms. The government or approved agencies may offer debt relief programs directly.

Additionally, government agencies may provide financial education and counseling services to help individuals understand their options and make informed decisions about managing their credit card debt. They may offer resources, workshops, and counseling sessions to assist borrowers in developing effective strategies for debt repayment and budgeting.

It’s important to note that government assistance with credit card debt may depend on the country and specific government policies. It’s advisable to consult with government agencies or reputable financial counseling services to explore available options and eligibility criteria for government help with credit card debt in your specific location.


Bankruptcy is a legal process that debtors may choose to pursue when they cannot repay their debts. It is not directly related to credit card debt forgiveness, but it can provide a means for individuals to have their credit card debts partially or fully discharged.

In bankruptcy, there are two common types that individuals may file: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 default. 

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case

Chapter 7, or “liquidation bankruptcy,” involves liquidating assets to repay creditors. In this process, individuals may completely discharge certain types of debt, including credit card debt, relieving them of the obligation to repay those debts. However, it’s important to note that not all debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy, and there may be eligibility requirements and consequences to consider.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or “reorganization bankruptcy,” involves creating a repayment plan to pay off debts over a specified period, typically three to five years. Under this plan, individuals can repay some of their credit card debt while potentially having the remaining balances forgiven.

Bankruptcy should be a last resort. It can have a significant impact on an individual’s credit score and financial future is essential. We highly recommend consulting with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to evaluate whether bankruptcy is suitable and to assess its potential impact on credit card debt forgiveness in your specific situation.

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Will Credit Card Companies Forgive Debt?

Ultimately, it is up to the debtor to whom you owe the debt to decide if they will allow you to pursue a credit card issuer to agree to your debt forgiveness. Creditors may not always be willing to settle. However, there are times when creditors are more likely to award forgiven debt to you.

How Do You Get a Credit Card Debt Forgiven?

Person using a laptop to research debt forgiveness solution

You may start thinking about getting credit card debt forgiveness if you think you won’t be able to pay back what you owe or if you have fallen behind on your payments. This isn’t always the best time to seek a settlement, though. Unless you have fallen over three months behind on payments, you should hold off negotiating a settlement, as it will likely be denied. Remember, creditors want all of their money back, and if it seems likely that you can pay it, they will wait.

Waiting until your creditor is nearing a decision for a charge-off increases your chances of being granted a settlement. This is because they will lose money if they have to charge off your account. Charging off means selling your debt to a debt collector for less than you owe them. Creditors are in the business of making money, not losing it. So, if you approach them during this time, they will be more willing to settle with you.

After your debt has been handed off to a debt collector is the best time to seek a credit card debt settlement. Debt collectors are always more willing to settle because they’re not losing anything. They’ve purchased your debt, usually at a highly discounted price, so they’ll still turn a profit even if they settle with you.

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How Is Going Through Credit Card Debt Forgiveness Going To Affect Me?

Laptop and credit card on a table

Going through debt forgiveness results in a negative impact on your credit. This remark will stay on your credit history for 7 years, after which it will drop off, or you will need to have it removed. This will sometimes lower your credit score, making it harder to get another line of credit through another lender. If you do get another line of credit, it will probably come with a higher interest rate and payments. Another concern with credit debt forgiveness is that if you negotiate a successful agreement with the original creditor, your account may be closed. If your debt has already been sold, this won’t apply, as your account with the creditor will have been closed during that transaction.

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How Do I Know If A Credit Card Debt Forgiveness Is The Right Choice For Me?

Couples on a couch exploring solutions together

Determining whether credit card debt forgiveness is right for you requires considering several factors. First, assess your financial situation, taking into account your income, expenses, and overall debt burden. If your debt is overwhelming and you struggle to make minimum payments, debt forgiveness may be worth considering.

Next, explore alternative debt repayments options, such as budgeting, debt consolidation, or debt management plans. Evaluate if these options can effectively help you manage and pay off your debts without the need for forgiveness.

Consider your affordability when it comes to making reduced payments or settling your debt through forgiveness. Compare the potential savings from debt forgiveness with the potential drawbacks, such as credit history damage or tax implications.

Be aware that debt forgiveness can have an impact on your credit score. Determine if the potential credit score consequences align with your long-term financial goals and if you’re prepared to handle any short-term setbacks.

Seek guidance from reputable credit counseling agencies or financial professionals. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation, helping you make an informed decision about credit card debt forgiveness.

Remember that credit card debt forgiveness should be a last resort when all other options have been explored. Carefully weigh the pros and cons, considering your long-term financial well-being, before committing to any debt forgiveness program.

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Safety Tips When Acquiring Credit Card Debt Forgiveness

Warning sign for scams

Be cautious and vigilant when dealing with credit card debt forgiveness or debt relief programs. Unfortunately, scams and fraudulent companies prey on individuals seeking assistance with their debt. Here are some tips to avoid scams:

  1. Research the company: Research its reputation and legitimacy before working with any debt relief or credit card debt forgiveness company. Check for reviews, ratings, and complaints from trusted sources.
  2. Accreditation and certification: Look for reputable accreditation or certification from organizations such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), or the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA). These certifications say that the company adheres to ethical standards and practices.
  3. Upfront fees: Be cautious of companies that demand upfront fees or large payments before providing services. Legitimate debt relief companies charge fees based on results or offer free initial consultations.
  4. Unrealistic promises: Beware of companies that guarantee to get rid of your credit card debt or promise extraordinary results. Debt settlement and forgiveness can vary, and specific outcomes are not guaranteed.
  5. Contracts and agreements: Carefully read and understand all contracts and agreements before signing anything. Ensure all terms, fees, and obligations are clearly said and agreed upon.
  6. Government programs: Be aware of government debt relief programs. Research and verify the information directly from official government sources to avoid falling for scams that claim to be affiliated with government programs.

If you encounter suspicious or fraudulent activities, report them to the appropriate authorities, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or your state’s attorney general’s office. Remember, it’s always wise to seek help from reputable credit counseling agencies or financial advisors to navigate your credit card debt relief options and avoid falling victim to scams.

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Final Words on Credit Card Debt Forgiveness

Life can seem overwhelming and hard at times. This is especially the case if we are not proactive with our financial decisions and instilling a corrective plan before corrective actions are needed.

Understanding what options are out there and the situation at hand in its full amount is key. It is always better to plan to oppose to playing catch up.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does credit card debt forgiveness work?

Credit card debt forgiveness is a potential solution for individuals burdened with overwhelming debt. Debt settlement companies negotiate with credit card issuers on behalf of borrowers to reach a settlement agreement, often resulting in a reduced balance. Debt relief programs, including debt management plans, offer structured approaches to manage debt and alleviate financial hardship. Credit card companies may forgive some of the outstanding balance or waive fees. However, debt forgiveness may have consequences, such as tax implications or damage to credit history. Borrowers must consider their financial situation carefully, seek guidance from credit counseling agencies, or explore other debt-relief options like debt consolidation or personal loans.

What is credit counseling?

Credit counseling session with financial professional

Credit counseling refers to a service provided by nonprofit organizations, credit counseling agencies, or financial professionals to help individuals handle their debts and improve their financial situation. Credit counseling aims to educate and assist individuals in developing effective budgeting, debt repayment, and financial planning strategies.

During credit counseling sessions, certified credit counselors evaluate an individual’s financial situation, including income, expenses, and debts. They offer personalized advice and guidance on creating a budget, prioritizing debt repayment, and exploring various debt management options. Credit counselors may also provide information on financial literacy, such as money management skills, credit building, and responsible borrowing practices.

Credit counseling can help individuals better understand their financial challenges. Additionally, they can develop realistic repayment plans and make informed decisions regarding their debts. Counselors may negotiate with creditors to lower interest rates, waive late fees, or establish more manageable repayment terms.

It’s important to note that credit counseling is different from debt settlement or debt management programs. In comparison, credit counseling focuses on financial education and guidance. Meanwhile, debt settlement involves negotiating with creditors to reduce the total amount owed. It also deals with debt management programs typically involved in structured repayment plans.

Credit counseling is typically offered at little to no cost. Recognized industry associations accredit reputable credit counseling agencies, which are nonprofit organizations. These agencies prioritize the financial well-being of individuals and provide unbiased advice to help them regain control of their finances.

Is credit card debt forgiveness a scam?

Credit card debt forgiveness itself is not a scam. It refers to the process where a creditor forgives a part of the debt a borrower owes. This can be a legitimate option for individuals facing overwhelming debt. However, being cautious and aware of potential scams or fraudulent activities associated with credit card debt forgiveness is important.

Scams can occur when dishonest individuals or companies exploit people seeking debt relief. They may make false promises, charge excessive fees upfront, or engage in deceptive practices. These scams can lead to financial loss, worsened credit scores, and increased financial distress.

Published on April 9, 2019; Updated May 29, 2019; Updated on June 13, 2023.

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TAGS: Credit Card Debt, USFINANCE
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