According to an article in the New York Times, credit card issuers are beginning to agree to writing down credit card debt, at least for borrowers who’ve been delinquent for more than six months. (The banks are required to completely write off debt that’s over 180 days delinquent, which turns any payment they can get from you into a strange form of profit, because they’re getting paid on a loan they’d given up as a loss.)
If you’re delinquent on your credit cards and you’ve previously received a brush-off from your card issuer, it may be worthwhile to call them again. All they can do is say “No,” and they might say “Yes.”
Just remember that the IRS may tax you on a write-down; they call it “cancellation-of-indebtedness income.” Filing bankruptcy makes you exempt from this tax, and you’re also exempt if you’re insolvent after the write-down. But if the write-down makes you solvent, it’s probably taxable. Call it Catch-22A.