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I’m a Student and Can’t Pay My AMEX Bill. – Erin


“Dear Steve,

I am a student, owe AMEX $5,500….am in a full time graduate accelerated program for next 14 months, cannot work & cannot pay the minimum payment, my mom has been helping me but cannot do it anymore..I called AMEX to try & get some help but all they offered was a low interest rate

My mom is willing to try & settle the bill for less than I owe but AMEX will only give a 15% discount…is there anyway to get a better settlement.


Dear Erin,

You could fall behind about 90-120 days and then see what settlement offer they come up with but be warned, that will trash your credit report and American Express is a particularly tough creditor to deal with and they might just sue you when you default.

Outside of that, American Express is trying to recover as much of the money that you promised them to pay and you should expect them to be hard nosed and tenacious about it.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

See also  I Hate American Express.

About the author

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 Comment

  • Hi Erin,

    Things could be much worse than what you are faced with now, that is very important to understand. As long as you can keep your spirits high and your grades just as high, this will a be a part of your past before long.

    The only way to keep your credit rating what it is, will be to continue making payments on time, every month. If you find yourself behind on payments, you will want to begin saving as much cash as you can, to settle this debt.

    Don’t avoid AMEX when they call, let them know that you are still there and you have every intention of taking care of this debt with them. Offer them what you have saved when they call, they may take it as satisfacton in full, or they may offer a structured settlement, over a pre-determined amount of time. Either way, staying in contact and trying to work something out with them will usually work in your favor, and help you to avoid the legal process.

    If you find that they don’t offer anything you can afford and they begin the legal process, be sure to act on any legal notices that you receive. Avoiding or ignoring them can result in an automatic judgment being entered on behalf of AMEX. Proper legal representation and guidance at this point would prove invaluable.

    In the end, you only have this one AMEX account to deal with and it may be a lot easier than you think to reach an agreement with them. Make sure when you reach an agreement with them, you stick to it, and this will all be behind you.

    If you address this problem correctly it will be a thing of the past, and hopefully you will have learned a valuable lesson in using credit wisely. Getting your degree will open the most doors for you in your future and focusing on that should be a top priority as well.

    Good Luck!

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