You Ask, Equifax Answers: How Can I Stay in Good Standing with Lenders and Creditors?
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- Reach out to your lender or creditor if your income has been reduced.
- Many lenders offer repayment options to help borrowers work out a repayment plan.
- There are steps you can take to make sure you pay your bills on time and in full.
Question: How can I stay in good standing with lenders and creditors?
The best way to stay in good standing with your lenders and creditors is to continue to pay your bills on time and in full.
If that isn't possible— for example, if you've recently been laid off, furloughed or had your income reduced — your next best step is to reach out to your lender or creditor to explain your situation. Many lenders are offering repayment options to help borrowers, such as payment holidays and delayed principal payments.
While your specific options will vary depending on your account type and payment history, many lenders are willing to work out a repayment plan until you can get back on your feet. If you've been a responsible borrower with a long history of on-time payments, you may have an even better chance at negotiating an accommodation.
While working out a payment plan or deferred payment schedule with your lender should help today's cash crunch, here are a few other steps you can take to help ease the pain you may be feeling in your wallet:
- Adjust your budget. If you're finding it hard to make ends meet, take a deep dive into what you're spending. Make a list of the bills you need to pay every month and then add up the rest. Prioritize the bills that are essential to your day-to-day living.
- Negotiate with your service providers. One way to cut costs is to pay less for the utilities and other services you already use. To start this process, reach out to your providers for internet and cell phone service and ask for a lower monthly rate or a reduced package. They are motivated to keep you as a customer and may offer non-advertised deals to convince you to stay. You may also be able to get a discount on insurance coverage by combining policies under a single carrier. And, can you give up cable altogether? Simply removing that expense from your budget could save you a bundle every month.
- Have a mortgage? Ask for forbearance - a deferred payment agreement. If you're struggling and need financial help, reach out to your mortgage lender to work out an accommodation that best suits your needs. A six-month forbearance, followed by a loan modification, should be available if your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or if your loan is guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Veterans Administration (VA) or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
If you don't know how to reach your lender or creditor, check out our Knowledge Center, which includes links to 100 different lenders and creditors.