Citibank Hardship Program

What can you tell me about Citibank's hardship program for its credit cards?

I have recently entered into the BLP program with Chase because my credit card debt has reached the point to where I can no longer make the payments. I tried to setup a program with Citibank and they told me they could not do any program to help reduce the interest rate or balance. They told me I had to miss some payments before they will talk to me. Is there a program such as the Chase BLP program with Citibank?

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Highlights

  • Banks offer hardship programs to people experiencing financial distress.
  • Terms for hardship programs vary and are not published.
  • Be persistent with your card issuer to learn about its hardship program.

Credit card companies offer hardship programs to people experiencing financial distress. The Chase program is called Balanced Liquidation Program (BLP).

Credit card hardship programs

Which debt resolution option is the best for you depends on several considerations, including your income, your balances, your interest rates, and your creditors. The first solution would be to call your credit card issuer and ask to be placed on their hardship program and state that you want to keep making payments but you would like the account to be re-aged and the interest rate reduced so that you can get back on track.

Banks do not publish the terms and conditions of their hardship programs. Indeed, some banks will not even acknowledge publicly that they offer hardship programs. Therefore, the only way to learn if your bank offers a hardship program is to call the customer service department and ask. Some banks' hardship programs will close the account. Others will allow you to continue to use the account. Be sure to ask about this detail. Because banks do not publish the terms and conditions of their hardship programs, these programs may change at any time, and may vary by the customer and their circumstances.

Citibank

Citibank, according to many readers, is notorious for being difficult to work with. It appears you may have to call numerous times and be insistent that you want information about Citi's hardship program. According to Bills.com readers who have corresponded with me, Citibank offers a hardship program, but I was unable to locate information about it or its terms on the Citibank Web site. Citibank customer service representatives (CSRs) have a reputation for being reluctant to discuss hardship programs. Some may insist Citi offers no such program. Be persistent. Explain you are considering debt settlement or bankruptcy. If you have been told that you need to be delinquent, you need to weigh that against the credit score hit you may receive.

Recommendation

There are many options available to you. Bills.com has many resources on debt from debt consolidation to bankruptcy. Review the resources available. Then call Citibank armed with information and persistence. Understand the first CSR you speak to may not have the authority to offer a hardship program. Ask for a supervisor. Write down all your conversations with CSRs and ensure you get the person's name. If you do arrange for a hardship program, make sure that Citibank sends the terms in writing.

Additional resources

I have answered other reader questions regarding Citi credit card accounts. See Renegotiate Citi Credit Card Settlement Agreement to understand your options if you have a settlement agreement with Citi you can no longer afford; Negotiate Citibank Debt to learn what to expect when negotiating debt with Citibank; Citibank Settlement for ideas on how to negotiate with a collection agency that owns a Citibank collection account; and Settlement on a Citibank Credit Card to learn how Citibank's internal debt settlement goals vary from time to time.

If you are unsuccessful, or the terms are too onerous, consider other options.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.

Best,

Bill

Bills.com

15 Comments

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  • EW
    Jun, 2014
    Emma
    Hello: I just spoke with GE Capital Retail for the Gap Visa card about decreasing my interest rates temporarily due to my recent graduation and being unemployed. I requested that they decrease my interest rates temporarily, for 3-6 months, since I am really drowning under them. They told me that they cannot and will not lower my interest rates and they will not put me in a hardship program either. They said that in order to be in a hardship program, they would have to close the account and I would have to be employed. I was not necessarily asking for a hardship program but asking for temporarily decreased interest rates as to help prevent me from filing bankruptcy. The customer service agent, who was sweet and sounded like a grandmother, said that I should ask my family for help or some people to help me out. I said that my record was flawless for 2 years prior to being with them and only in the last 9 months have things gotten out of hand. As you can imagine, I do not want these late fees and not being able to pay my minimum monthly payments. But they simply suggested to ask other people for help. Seriously, this was the WORST advice ever. As soon as I pay off the card, I am going to close the account. This has been such a poor experience and their advice felt as if they were mocking me.
    0 Votes

  • EW
    May, 2014
    Emma
    The updated number to the hardship program as of May 2014 is 866-670-6730. I just got off the phone with them and this is what they said to me:
    • If you are unemployed, then you are considered extreme hardship.
    • If employed, you are not considered extreme hardship but may still qualify for a hardship program.
    • Anytime you enter a hardship program where the APR is reduced and you make changes to the amount your pay each month for the minimum payments, your accounts with Citi will be permanently closed.
    • DMPs typically negotiate with Citi for a 9.9% reduced APR/interest rate. That is what the rep said that she sees is most common.
    • If you work with Citi, they usually (but not always) can get you a better reduced APR/interest rate than the DMP.
    • How Citi calculates this reduced APR/interest rate is that they plug in your balances, minimum payment and other account info into the computer and then the computer spits out a reduced APR/interest rate. When I asked how this is calculated specifically, she said that she does not know but that the computer does it automatically.
    • You have to interview for the hardship program and it takes about 30-45 minutes.
    • There is an insurance program (877-242-5987) that may allow your payments to be on hold for a certain amount of time. If they cannot do anything for you, then it takes 10 days to cancel this insurance. After the 10 days, you can call back this hardship program again.

    I hope this helps everyone! :) Good luck!

    1 Votes

  • GJ
    Apr, 2012
    Guy
    Be careful. I am a customer of 28 years. I worked out a plan with them. They, Citibank, told me they would not show my account as closed while paying down the balance. Card would not be able to be used, but credit report would not reflect "closed" while showing a balance. Guess what? They closed it, showing my balance. Credit rate fell like a lead balloon. Now, other creditors are lowering my credit line to whatever my balance is. Oh, joy...
    1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2010
    Chris
    I called the 866-444-4986 number directly without ever calling any other csr and plainly stated I was inquiring about the hardship program I researched on the Internet. I was told of two programs, the 1 yr 0% plan, and then a 5 yr plan to pay pay off the card. Very plain and simple, no denials... So please try if you are thinking about it and need help!
    4 Votes

    • LD
      Jan, 2011
      Lisa
      Thank you for posting that information. I was trying for weeks with Citibank and kept getting the run around. I called the number you posted and within 10 minutes I was set up with a 5 year program. All the best!
      0 Votes

    • BA
      Jan, 2011
      Bill
      Great news, Lisa. We are glad we could help. Thank you for letting us know that the information was useful to you.
      0 Votes

    • DP
      Feb, 2011
      Dave
      THANK YOU for this. I also called this #, they transferred me to the Home Depot card group from there, and offered me 60 months 0% without issue (down from 29.9% on 15k). 5 minute conversation. I feeling crying, I'm so relieved.
      0 Votes

    • BA
      Feb, 2011
      Bill
      Congrats Dave. We're happy to have helped you out in a tough spot. Hang in there and good luck getting debt free!
      0 Votes

    • MS
      Feb, 2012
      Michele
      When they offered you the 5 year plan was it a 0% interest plan also?
      0 Votes

  • BA
    Aug, 2010
    Bill
    See the Bills.com resource Debt Relief Options: Which is Right for You? to explore the choices available to you.
    0 Votes