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Starting my Settlement Journey


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Hello all - I posted this same thread in another forum but just found out about CreditInfoCenter and I like this helpful community.

I've decided that it is in the best interest for my family and myself to try to negotiate and settle my credit card debts. I feel that I have learned from my past mistakes on amassing this much debt and don't plan to make the same mistakes again.

The last payment on all of my cards were made in October of 2011. I plan to use my income tax refund money to pay for the settlements.

I won't go into detail on why I fell into the hole that I am now, but I must say that before October I never missed a payment, but the debt is currently unsustainable now, and I have to make supporting my family a priority.

Currently my debt is as follow:

Bank of America AMEX: $9,531

Macy's AMEX: $9,121

Macy's Store Account: $3,098

Discover: $3,198

My questions are as follow, regarding each account:

- I have a checking account with Bank of America. Is there any danger of them taking the money out of my checking account, without notifying me or without my consent to pay for their AMEX card? Should I take the money out of the checking account? I have read in some forums that Chase likes to do this.

- Macy's keeps two different accounts, one is the AMEX credit account and the other is a store account. I get separate monthly statement for each account and each has separate account number but both are linked to the same card. The AMEX account is provided by American Express and the Store Account by Citi. Should I handle the settlement of these two separately or should I try to settle both at once? Is it even possible to settle the Store Account?

- Discover card has a offered a 12 month payment plan in their website. Should I expect to find a settlement offer in the website at a later date? the balance is not very large compared to my other debt and I have only had the account since 2006. I've read that Discover is very hard to settle with, especially with account that are not very old. Any advise?

A few days ago I gave all the creditors a call and "test the waters." I informed them of my financial situation and I just wanted to see if they'd give me an attitude or be rude. To my surprise, they were all very friendly, with all three of the creditors offered me an opportunity to go into a hardship program. I told them I couldn't commit because I didn't have any money or knew when I'd have any money to make a payment. Discover even said they'd stop collection calls for "a while." I also confirmed that all of the accounts are still being handled by the original creditors.

My question is - when is it a good time to put the option of settlements on the table? I'm already over 90 days past due, going into 120 days soon and it was my first time talking to all of the creditors. Is it typical or usual for creditors to put the option of settlement on the table first or should I initiate?

Thank you everyone in advanced for your input/comments and I will keep you all informed of my progress.

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