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Can I Settle My Debt Myself? – Harvey

By on January 18, 2013

“Dear Steve,

I was wondering if it’s advantageous to try and settle multiple cards at one time? The 4 cards will charge off in March (within about 20 days of each other). I will have access to some money by then. With that and a tax return, I might have enough to settle them together.

Should I mention to each of the cards that I’d like to settle your account, as well as 3 others at the same time? Would it make any difference if each settlement was in one payment or spread out with the 4 payments over 90 days?


Dear Harvey,

Well it’s advantageous in that it will resolve the problem quickly. Just keep in mind though that if settling these cards leaves you solvent, where your assets exceed your liabilities, then you may owe income on the forgiven debt. I just don’t want you to be surprised.

You can tackle this yourself but I would suggest you get a little coaching to get you queued up for the a great outcome. Knowing what to ask for, when, and what documentation to get are key points to your debt settlement success.

I suggest you contact Damon Day, a great debt coach, and schedule a consultation to have him guide you here. It would be a small investment but a smart one.

Other places that offer affordable coaching are Consumer Recovery Network and Zipdebt.

The payment strategy is less important for me than making sure you can negotiate all the settlements and they fit within your available funds.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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READ  Debt Settlement From a Creditor Perspective. When it Makes Financial Sense.

About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  1. Harvey

    April 13, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Steve, Damon, Charles, Jared and Michael – thanks for all the great advice and sharing your knowledge! I’ve been able to settle a couple cards for about 35%! Still have a couple more to go, including Cap One. You guys really know your stuff. Much of my situation followed very closely to what you said would happen. I hope things get moving on the Cap One, seems like lots of people have a much tougher time with them.

    • Charles Phelan

      April 15, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Harvey, congratulations on your DIY settlement success to date. I do hope you are getting these settlements documented in writing before you pay? Yes, Cap One is often difficult to settle with, and they can be aggressive in terms of litigation. Be patient, but don’t ignore a direct threat of legal action from this creditor. If it goes to an attorney in your state, that is not a bluff. If they assign to an outside agency, you can get a reasonable settlement eventually.

    • Damon Day

      April 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Awesome, always nice to hear more success stories. Good Job Harvey.

    • Jared Strauss

      April 15, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      Hi Harvey,

      I’m not sure what I did, but thanks! :)

      In respect to Cap One, I second what Charles said.

  2. Harvey

    February 20, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Things seem to moving along as they should, but one of these is with Cap One. They will not talk of settling. Any thoughts on how to get them started? Thanks

  3. Dave L

    February 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Whatever you are able to workout with each creditor, be sure to get that agreement in writing before making a payment and then be sure to honor any payment terms. Good luck.

  4. Harvey

    January 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Between the money I have saved from the normal monthly payments and resources that I have lined up (family), the funding should be good. I don’t want to risk lawsuits, so I will try to get each of these settled independently before charge off with 3 payments. Thanks for your help Steve and Charles!

  5. Harvey

    January 18, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Thank you for your response. I have been trying to learn all I can about settlement and I think I will contact Damon or one of the sites you mentioned. From all the time I’ve spent looking at this on the internet, it seems like the people like yourself and the three you mentioned, as well as one or two more, have the best advise. It’s amazing how those few always lead back to each other.

    I know there could be tax due on the settlements. I’ll guess I’ll deal with that when this is finished. Can’t control it.

    As far as the “strategy”. I want the one that gets the best results, obviously. Will I hurt myself if one is settled first and the next card sees that I was able to settle, so they won’t accept a settlement or want a high one? Will they be able to see the first result immediately? Or with the accounts all being so close together, could they be settled one at a time before it show’s up on each of their Big Brother system?

    • Steve Rhode

      January 18, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      For me, the bigger issue is to come up with deals for all that fit within your resources. It does not do much good if only 2 of 4 settle. That still leaves you with 2 problem accounts. Any one of those coaches can help you through this.

    • Charles Phelan

      January 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      Harvey, if you are in a financial crisis and need to settle these accounts, it really doesn’t matter whether you negotiate all four in the exact same month or the settlements are spaced over a few months. Don’t worry about whether creditor A becomes aware of the fact that you have already settled with creditor B. The main thing is to negotiate the best possible outcomes without incurring unnecessary risk in the process. Regarding your question on payment structure, the deals usually don’t improve just because you are paying in a single lump-sum vs. 2-3 installments. Structuring the settlements in 3 installments will give you more flexibility in juggling your resources to make it all work out, and also add a measure of additional safety in terms of extracting the settlement letters from the creditors.

      • Steve Rhode

        January 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm

        Yea, what he said.

        BTW, That’s Charles with Zipdebt who I mentioned.

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