Over the past two weeks, I have heard some truly disheartening stories from Chase credit card customers whose monthly payments were increased from 2% for 5% (see Chase Raises Minimum Payments for horror stories). Today, however, two posters have left notice that it is possible to arrange a reasonable repayment plan.
According to these posters, people who have been hit with payment increases should request to speak with the aptly titled HARDSHIP DEPARTMENT. Both posters wrote that they were able to negotiate a lower monthly payment without having to pay a significantly higher interest rate. Here is a very helpful posting from Susanne, who successfully got her monthly payment reduced:
“I also received the notice from Chase that my minimum payment was being raised to 5%. I was offered a 4.99% rate for the life of the balance transfer and at the time I got the offer I transferred every account I had plus a car loan that was at 9.5% – so my balance is large. My minimum payment is going from $500 to $1250. I called and told them there was no way I could make that payment. They transferred me to a hardship department or something like that. I was on hold for 45 minutes waiting to talk to someone. They asked a bunch of questions about my income, other loans, etc. and then came back and said they would close my account and transfer my balance to a 60 month fixed payment loan at 6% interest. The payment will be just under $500 so I will at least be able to make it. They said it would show the account was closed at the customer’s request. I have yet to get any paperwork from them so I am holding my breath that the deal is real. I’m sure this will hurt my credit score but I have no other choice. I’ve been a nervous wreck since this all started. Has anyone else had a similar experience?”
Clearly, Chase is not making it easy for consumers to obtain these deals, as many people would hang up after being on hold for so long. However, the fact that they are willing to make deals is the first positive news we have heard about this situation. Just be sure to call when you have anytime minutes and time. We hope to hear more from people who have had success dealing with the hardship department, although it truly is a shame that the hardships are being created by Chase and are not the fault of honest customers just trying to get by.
Lastly, in case a credit card company ever offers you a similar deal that allows you to transfer balances from a real fixed rate loan, such as a car loan, be sure to turn it down. Chase offered Susanne a way to save money on her car loan, and then they asked her to make Mercedes sized payments on a Toyota sized loan.