If you find yourself in financial trouble, don't jump automatically to bankruptcy. You may be able to negotiate your credit cards directly and protect your credit score from the damage a bankruptcy would cause.
Can you really negotiate your credit card debts to pay less?
Sometimes, yes, especially if you explain that you are struggling to make payments. You may be able to have the interest reduced on your card or have a payment delayed a month to give you time to pay. Sometimes, credit card companies can give you a lump-sum payoff that is less than paying over time, too.
Why would a credit card company allow you to pay less?
From their perspective, getting as much money back as possible is the goal. If you would otherwise allow the card to go to collections, they have no way of knowing if payments will ever be made. Even if there is no profit earned, the credit company wants to get a return of the funds it lent to you.
The company may be happy to work out a payment schedule for a lower amount if the card is closed. Or, you may be able to work out lower monthly payments for a period of time until you can afford more again.
When you talk to the credit card company, have your negotiation terms ready. Be realistic, and know that if you aren't, the company may not want to work with you to reduce payments. If you're not comfortable with negotiations, your attorney can help you work out a good plan to present to the creditor.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Can You Really Negotiate Your Credit Card Debt?," Gregory Go, July 27, 2016