I've been making up a monthly deficit for the past ~2-3 years using my cards (hence the high balances). The deficit was due to skyrocketing insurance costs and my husband was laid off for most of 2009. He is now working and I've recently streamlined my budget. My monthly deficit is now about the size of one of the minimum card payments. In the past few months all 3 of my cards have slashed my limits to just above my balance and hiked the interest rates. This has increased the minimum payments. The late payment caused another rate increase that took effect last month. I need lower interest rates to make a dent in my debt, and at least one lower monthly payment to stay in the black. I know people who stopped making payments, and after a few months they were offered drastically reduced interest and payments with frozen credit. Will credit card companies negotiate this way with people who are current on their payments? Would a credit counseling service help me? Would either of these approaches negatively affect my score? The only reason I'm not currently in default is because I've been creative about a cash flow that wasn't really valid.