Settle my credit cards and keep my FICO score?
I am new to the forum. I have a few questions, but first here is the situation.
- We are current on everything. We have never missed a payment or had a late payment a day in our lives. We have some nice credit scores as a result, and I'd prefer not to scar them too much if we can help it.
- We have 4 credit cards totaling $19,500 with Chase and Citibank.
- We cannot pay our bills any longer. This appears to be a permanent situation. HOWEVER, if we can settle all our debts with our tax return (that would be about 35% of each of the 4 cards' balances), then we can stop going deeper each month and actually live on what we make.
So my questions are this:
-How likely is it that I can get Chase and Citibank to let me settle and report it in a positive light so we don't get our credit trashed? Any keywords, special negotiating tactics, or techniques to reduce the damage?
-Is it even possible to get Chase and Citibank to entertain a settlement request when we are current on our payments? I plan on mentioning bankruptcy as our alternative, which, if we don't get settlements, we will have to stop paying in the next month, so we will probably arrive at bankruptcy soon enough.
-Should I ask for them to validate those debts? I don't understand what that is exactly, but from what I read it seems that that action is best taken while we are still current on our payments.
-I read something about a "Pay for Delete" letter?? What is that and where do I find it and how effective is it? Is that even something I would like to do in my situation?
-Can I just ask them nicely while I am paid in full to settle or we will have to stop making payments? We did this with our CU credit card and they were easy to work with. Only offered us 75%, but I bet we can do better.
-I also read this:
1.) You'll pay if they agree to sign an no disclosure agreement
2.) They agree and you pay
3.) You dispute the account through the credit reporting agency
4.) The bank doesn't reply to the CRAs' investigation because of the NDA
5.) the CRAs delete the account because they never hear back from the CA and can't verify the information is correct.
How effective is that? Are these all things I have to be delinquent on to even be able to do?
Any help would be fantastic!!