American Express has sent my account to Nationwide. Nationwide says they won't accept monthly payments unless I enroll in their Care Program by giving them $500 down and then access to my checking account to pull $204 a month from. Then they reduce the interest rate from 34.9% to 9.9%.
Do I have to do this program or do they legally have to accept me just sending checks in the mail without giving them direct access to my checking account?
First of all, they are a 3rd party debt collector but regardless of who they are you should never give them access to your checking account and banking information.
To be absolutely safe one should never pay debts to anyone by giving them access to your banking information. Pay all debts by Bank Certified cashiers checks so you have a receipt in hand for all payments made.
Mortgage payments, car payments, especially payments to debt collectors, credit card payments and such should always be made from bank certified cashiers checks, U.S. Postal money orders, or prepaid debit cards in which you have to deposit the money first before you can use the card. Never give your banking information over the phone under any circumstances.
Yes, I am aware that there are those circumstances when that advice simply won't work for some reason or other but in general you should follow it to the greatest exten possible. On the other hand you should never deviate from that advice with a debt collector.
But in fact you really should never pay a debt collector a crying dime in the first place. Paying them just encourags them to abuse those who know better than to pay them. Also, paying them hurts your credit score much worse than not paying them so why do it? Makes no sense at all.
Do they legally have to accept your form of payment? No, they don't have to accept your payments by whatever means you choose but if you can prove to a judge that you actually sent them money by some acceptable means such as a bank certified cashier's check, U.S. Postal Money order and they refused to accept it and sent it back to you I tend to think they would have an awfully hard time trying to get a judgment. One never knows about that however.
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