How to Talk to Your Creditors

Any time you have an issue with your credit account you should talk to your creditors as soon as possible to get it resolved, so you can get back to more enjoyable tasks such as planning a long weekend trip. The sooner you make it clear you have a problem and you mean to do whatever you can to get it resolved the easier it will be for your creditors to work with you to set up a solution. Speaking to them honestly, clearly and efficiently will get you through this difficult conversation as quickly as possible without the worry that you will be misunderstood.

What to Say

The first step in resolving credit issues is to make sure you are speaking with the right person. Most credit agencies have a number that is available for those who need to discuss their finances on their website or on your bill. Call this number as soon as you realize you are having a problem with your account or realize you cannot pay. Take down the date, approximate time of the call and the names of anyone you speak to for future reference so you can make sure your information is being passed along the way it should.

Once you reach someone who has the authority to help you with your problem, be very clear and direct about what the situation is. Always be polite and do not try to hide details about your financial situation. It is understandable that you might be embarrassed, especially if you have to admit you cannot pay your bills, but if you try to make it sound like you can afford to pay more than you actually can you are going to set up a payment plan that is just as damaging to your finances as the situation you are currently in.

Do not wait for your creditors to propose a solution to your problem. Understand exactly what your minimum payment is now and what you could afford to pay on a monthly basis to get caught up. If you have any documentation that proves that you will be able to pay the amount you have specified such as an unemployment statement or paycheck then offer to send a copy of these documents along to help verify your credibility. If you have any proof that you have had a good history with your lenders up to this point, include this information as well to show them you can be reliable with payments.

Even if you are speaking to a representative on the direct line for your lending company, there is no guarantee that your conversation is getting recorded the way it should be. To avoid issues down the line, make sure you request a copy of whatever financial agreement you work out in writing for your records. Most companies insist on all account information being documented in writing so this request should not come as a surprise or seem unreasonable to the representative you are speaking to.

Once you know how to talk to your creditors is it important to make note of how to keep the conversation going throughout your financial recovery. Make payments on time and without hesitation. Any time you can safely afford to pay more of your debt, do so, especially if you are expected to pay off a set amount of your bill. Any time you are having more trouble or would like to adjust the agreement you have established, call your creditors and give them this updated information so they are clear on what is going on with you and what you are doing to keep up with your responsibilities.

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