Sometimes the toughest conversations of all are about your finances – especially when you’re having trouble making payments on loans or credit cards. But, a few phone calls can immediately lower your monthly expenses and make just as quick of an impact as that intimidating call to your creditor.
Let’s talk about why getting in touch with creditors can be a smart move in times of financial crisis – and how you can make it easier.
Creditors want to work with you.
Customer care representatives see tough situations like yours all day, every day. They are trained to help, and the last thing they want is to see you unable to meet the terms of your agreement. Instead of judging, their job is to help you problem-solve. Pick up the phone and let them know you're motivated to work things out together.
Creditors will work to offer real help, on the spot.
Remember, lenders are highly motivated to work with you to find effective payment solutions. Your call helps them and you. Being proactive can give you immediate control over an unhappy situation – and may even help protect your credit. Here’s what may happen on the call:
If your income has dropped, or you have been furloughed or laid off, a lender can work with you on new payment options.
If you can’t pay your bills right now, a creditor may be able to offer you a deferment.
If the monthly payment on your bill is too high, your creditor may be able to reduce your monthly payment with a refinance option at a lower interest rate and/or by extending the length of your loan.
If you’re juggling too many bills, a lender may talk to you about debt consolidation.
If you need other financial support, a lender may point you to government or non profit options to help you get back on track.
If you are a OneMain Financial customer and having difficulties making payments, we are here to help. Call your nearest branch, or 1-800-961-5577, to talk to a loan specialist or visit us at: https://www.onemainfinancial.com/heretohelp
Tips for an easier, more productive call.
Make your call from a quiet, private place where you can think clearly and won’t be interrupted or overheard.
Drink a glass of water and have extra standing by. Dehydration exacerbates stress and heightens anxiety.
Before you dial, collect your thoughts and list what you want to say, along with any relevant facts.
Take notes. Write down what the loan specialist says (including their name and phone number), information around different options and any next steps for you and your creditor.
For accuracy and quick reference, have important documents in front of you: your latest bills, a list of your monthly expenses, paycheck stubs, the latest tax returns and any current unemployment or relief payment information.
Research solutions before agreeing to them.
Lowering your expenses during a vulnerable time is especially attractive, but do your research. Understand, for example, what a deferment is, how a charge-off affects your credit, and how to spot a scam. Timing is especially important: when does a plan begin, will you end up paying extra interest on your loan and when will it be paid, when are payments due and what exactly will they be? How might the options that you are considering affect your credit score? Be careful not to be lured in by companies promising to clear away all debts for a fee, or anyone who advises you to just stop paying creditors altogether. (And if you’ve already enrolled with a debt settlement company and would like to discontinue your relationship with them, know you have options – The Federal Trade Commission can help.) Once you know how a repayment option works, now as well as long-term, you can make a solid, confident decision.
Take the first step and make the call.
Facing your financial predicament takes courage, without a doubt. But, don’t procrastinate. Make that call, and you may see immediate relief to your monthly household budget. Whatever the outcome, you’ll feel better that you took an important step toward controlling your finances and your life.