I am looking for some advice on how to handle credit card debt that has been charged off. I have a total of $12,850 debt spread over three credit cards.
American Express: $2,007.00 ($1,500 limit), last payment made November 2019
Capital One: $10,018.00 ($8,300 limit), last payment made November 2019
Capital One: $825.00 ($600 limit), last payment made November 2019
I am in my late 20s. At the time, I was going through a very challenging financial hardship. I was self-employed, trying to save my business while going broke in the process. Even though I had profitable years prior, 2019 was not panning out that way. I had no income for close to year by November and it got to the point where I had to choose between keeping a roof over my head and a little bit of food on the table or making monthly payments on the cards. I chose the former. Additionally, my vehicle was repossessed, and I had to leave my place of residence because I could no longer afford rent. I have been homeless since bouncing around different friend’s places while I try to get back on my feet—which I am eternally grateful for. I do not have any family in the picture or anyone that I can turn to for help when the going gets rough.
I was able to scrape enough money together to settle my car loan and get my vehicle back quickly. However, that drained every last dime I had at the time.
I certainly made mistakes, there’s no question about that. But I believe I managed the best I could given the circumstances and subsequently being overwhelmed with emotions of depression/loss/fear/shame/embarrassment that I was experiencing at the time. For example, I spent nearly a year trying to secure a job elsewhere starting January 2019 but was repeatedly informed that I was not a “good fit” because I had been self-employed despite holding multiple degree.
Between being homeless, car repo, food insecurity, lack of employment, COVID, depression, anxiety, fear, this has been the most trying time in my life. Before this, I had always paid my bills on time and in full. I just hit an impossible rough patch and honestly was so scared as I was losing everything that my judgement was clouded and made some poor decisions as a result.
Needless to say, my credit has been destroyed in the process. I am currently sitting at a 537 and need to start the rebuilding process.
Ok, enough with the life story.
I want to address this credit card debt, but what is the best way to do so? Each of these cards have been charged off for a year and therefore each company has already received the tax benefit from writing off the bad debt. What is the best path forward for my wallet and my credit? I am considering paying off Amex in full since I would I like to retain a relationship with them in the future. Is pay to delete a realistic option?
I am aware that I am still obligated to pay the debt, and for the record I do want to pay whatever I am able to. I very much want to make it right and take no pleasure in owing something I had fully intended to pay. Was just in terrible situation and couldn't dig myself out at the time. I have set aside some capital to pay these off, not enough to pay all 3 accounts in full. I am able pay the Amex and smaller Capital one in full; however, currently not able to pay the $10,018 in full and honestly I do not know when I will be able to. Does anyone have experience settling their Capital One account for less than? If so, by how much? 30%? 50%?
As much as I would like to pay everyone in full, both parties need to be realistic about my current limited ability to do so. They certainly could sue, but I'm not sure how that would be in anyone's benefit considering I have no assets, am homeless, and have no wages to garnish. Any of the money I have put aside to pay off these credit cards would have to be reallocated to retain an attorney, which would have the effect of reducing any potential settlement amount.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.