My debt is piling up, what do I do?

You probably can't see an end to the problem you are in right now. Bills are piling up, creditors are calling and one by one your services are being turned off.

Take a deep breath. You are not alone. According to the Federal Reserve, credit card debt alone increased by 11 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. 90+ day delinquency rate on credit card balances also increased but slightly to 9.5%.

So what can you do?

  1. Gather all your bills. You do not want any last minute bill surprises popping up when you think you are done.
  2. Write down all your creditors, how much you owe each one and their contact information.
  3. Write down what you can comfortably pay each creditor.
  4. Call your creditors. Do not hesitate to call even if you have received threatening calls, letters, and emails. Finding a viable solution is as easy as picking up the phone and explaining your situation to your creditor. Believe it or not, your creditors will be willing to work with you. After all for them to remain in business, they need for you to pay your bills.

Explain to Credit Card Company or other creditors what problems you are facing today that are preventing you from making payments. They may agree lower your credit card payments or freeze your payments for a period of time to allow you get back on your feet. Ask for a reduction or complete forgiveness of finance charges and annual fees. Credit card companies have an invested interest in keeping you as a customer especially if you have been with them for a long time and paid your bills on time.

You want to call your Credit Card Company or creditors before they call you. This shows that you are responsible and are doing everything in your power to rectify the situation. When you call, have a payment plan. Propose dates and amounts you feel you will be able to comfortably meet. Work hard at meeting your proposed times. If for any reason you may miss a date, call the Credit Card Company or creditor and explain the new development. Set a new time.

If you encounter a hostile customer service representative when you call your credit card company or even other creditors, do not engage in the conversation. Hang up, take a deep breath and call back. When you speak to the next representative explain why you hung up, problems you are facing that is preventing you from making your payments and what they can do the assist you in ensuring your bills are paid in full.

Always document any form of communication with your Credit Card Company or creditors. If you are taken to court, you have proof that you made an effort to resolve the problem.

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