Credit Problems? Heres How to Manage Your Creditors


If you find that creditors are calling you almost daily or that one of more of your bills has been turned over to a collection agency, you should know how to manage your debts.

First, prioritize then or rank them in terms of the ones that can give you the most trouble the soonest. If you're three months behind on your utility bill and the company is threatening to cut off your power, you must deal with this debt first. Then deal with your other debts in descending order of "threat level."

Second, be proactive. Don't wait for creditors to call you. If you are behind in your payments or have a payment coming due that you know you won't be able to meet, call the creditor. Tell the company's representative why you are having money troubles. Be sure to give a real reason for your problems such as a divorce or loss of a job, and not just some feeble excuse.

If you can give your creditors a real reason for being in financial trouble, they may be sympathetic and willing to work with you.

Next, contact any creditors where you are more than a month behind to arrange payment plans. Explain to them that you know you are behind in your payments but that you want to make a payment arrangement. Let them know what you can afford to pay this month and in future months. Make certain they know you intend to make full payment eventually.

Be sure you know what you can afford to pay

Be sure to calculate just how much you can afford to pay a creditor before contacting the company. Then, do not agree to pay any more than this, no matter what the company demands. Get all payment plans in writing. If the company's representative does not volunteer to mail you the plan in writing, send a letter requesting that he or she do so.

Keep accurate records

Also be sure to keep an accurate log of all phone conversations with your creditors and copies of all correspondence. This way, you will have a good record of what's going on, to whom you spoke last, the date of that conversation and its result. If you keep accurate records, you will always be able to defend yourself against claims that you have been unresponsive or uncooperative. Once you arrange a payment plan that is agreeable to a creditor, make sure you stick with it. The best way to repair your credit is to say what you will do and then do what you have said so that your creditors will see that you have become more credit worthy.

Working with your creditors by following these suggestions is hard work but it is an important step toward debt reduction and credit repair.

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