Paying your bills on time is always the most important thing you can do to ensure your good credit. But, if you run into trouble, there are some things you should do immediately:
- If you find you’re having difficulty meeting your monthly financial obligations, you should call your creditors as soon as possible. Whatever you do, don’t miss or skip your payments. Instead, call your creditor and explain the reason for your difficulty (e.g., job loss, medical emergency, etc.).
- Ask your creditor(s) for a revised payment schedule. Creditors want to keep receiving the money you borrowed from them, so it’s better to make a “reduced” payment than no payment at all. It will also help you avoid damaging your credit record.
- Start living by your budget immediately. This is not the time to spend frivolously. Every extra penny you save should be put toward paying off your debts in a timely fashion. You may want to consider a debt consolidation loan. This will allow you to borrow the amount that will cover all of your debts. By doing so, you could have a lower monthly payment and will only pay one creditor instead of several. Of course, once you consolidate your debts, you should stop using all other credit sources such as credit cards or credit lines (or, you’ll quickly find yourself back in too much debt).
- If you still need help juggling your expenses, consult a debt-counseling agency such as the Consumer Credit Counseling Service, a non-profit organization, that can assist you in establishing a budget and debt payment plan. Your local yellow pages will list the office nearest you.
Credit Tips from OneMain Financial:
- Consumer Information
- Should you use Credit?
- What Type of Credit Do you Need?
- Do you know the warning signs of too much debt?
- What if I can’t pay my bills?
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