Contacting Your Creditors
- May 16, 2017
- By: Greenpath Financial Wellness
Are you struggling to pay your bills each month? If so, you may want to contact your creditors. They may have options for you. Contacting people you owe money can be scary. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are some steps you can take to help you with the process.
Do a Self-Appraisal
Make sure you know where your money stands. Compare your monthly net income with your monthly expenses. Keep in mind your important debt payments as well as living expenses. Determine the amount you can reasonably afford to send to each creditor. Get organized before speaking with them so you are prepared.
The creditors will want to know why you can’t pay your bill. They will also want to know if the situation is permanent or temporary. Come with a solution. If it helps, write all this out ahead of time so you can refer to it during your conversation. Make sure that you are respectful. Steer clear of blaming the creditor. Do you want a lower payment and for how long? Are you looking for lower interest rates? Would you like the late fees or over limit fees waived? Consider your situation when deciding what to ask for. For instance, if you are temporarily out of work, perhaps ask if a reduction of payment for the next 3 months would be possible. Another consideration is your credit report. You may ask for the creditor to be lenient in reporting late payments.
Making the Call
Make sure you get to someone in the right department who has the power to review your account. Briefly explain the reason for your call and ask the representative to connect you with the proper area. Good rapport is important here. If you start off rude, you may find the company may not be willing to work with you. Once you get to the right person, let them know your situation and your proposal. Understand that you will need to be patient, persistent, and perhaps ready for a negotiation. Remember the solution has to be good for you and your creditor, so don’t agree to something you know you can’t do. Also, make sure to always maintain your composure. Outbursts will not get you the desired results.
Once you have agreed to terms with the creditor, make sure to comply with what you have agreed to. If you agreed to send them proof of layoff, disability or a financial statement, send it to them right away. Ask the creditor for the agreement in writing. Keep this document with your financial records in case of a dispute later on. During your financial hardship, it will be important to also maintain regular contact with the creditor, especially if your situation changes for the worse.
While it can be intimidating to call a creditor, remember that the earlier you call them, the more options you will have available to you.
It May Be Helpful to Talk to a Financial Counselor
GreenPath offers free credit counseling and debt counseling to help ease your financial stress, address your financial concerns, and develop a plan for living a financially healthy life. Your call will be answered by a caring, compassionate expert who understands that financial hardships happen to good people. We will treat you with care and respect. We will also go over your options so that you can become debt-free.