Talking to creditors about late payments can be a tough prospect to face. Before talking to a creditor, it may be helpful to prepare yourself with the information you may need for the conversation. You should have the following information available for the call:
The specifics of your account or debt: If you’re calling to discuss a current account or loan, be sure to have a previous statement on hand. This should include the current balance you owe. You should also check the creditors’ website as they often list the information they would like you to have when you call.
An explanation of your situation: Creditors aren’t looking for a long story, but they do need to understand the facts about your current situation. For example, were you laid off from your job or lose a source of household income for another reason such as death or divorce?
A realistic option/plan: Spend some time examining your financial situation before you call. How much can you afford to pay toward your debt each month? When will you be able to start paying the full monthly minimum payment again? Lenders want to discuss these specifics. You may also want to ask for additional assistance, if necessary, such as reduced fees or deferred payments.
Proof of your situation: When speaking with creditors, let them know you’ll be following up the conversation with a letter recapping your information and the option discussed. Be sure to include any necessary supporting documentation like proof of unemployment.
A cool head: It can be easy to lose your temper if the person on the other end of the line seems insensitive to your situation. But remember – this person may be the last thing that stands between you and a collections agency. Stay calm, remain polite, and focus on the facts.
Come to the call with a specific dollar amount you can afford to pay each month.
Even though it’s not an easy conversation, being prepared before talking with your creditor can mean the difference between defaulting on a loan and finding a way to pay it back.
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