The simple step to help you pay down debt? Speak up.

The simple step to help you pay down debt? Speak up.

If you’re feeling anxious about your debts, it’s time to start communicating. Here are five steps you can take to talk to your credit providers about debt.

1. Call your credit providers

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by debt, give your credit providers a call. It is in their best interests that you make your repayments, so there is no harm in having a chat.
Call your utility company, telco or lenders and explain your financial hardship. If the customer representative you’re speaking with is unhelpful, escalate your call to a hardship officer or manager.

2. Talk it through

Go through your options with your credit provider. They may be able to offer you more affordable repayment plans, due date extensions or hardship variations.

Many credit providers can amend their terms to ensure you can continue to pay. You might be surprised at the options they have available to you.

3. Aim to agree

By now you would have done a budget and know your incomings and outgoings. While the aim is to at least meet minimum repayments, you should have a good idea of what you can and can’t afford. Therefore, if there is no way you can meet your minimum obligations, you should negotiate alternative payment structures. And if your situation changes, let them know straight away.

4. If debt issues persist

If you’re still finding it difficult to get on top of your debts, you can reach out to the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or contact a Financial Counsellor. The National Debt Helpline can put you in contact with your local service.

5. Don’t be lured by quick fixes

There are many providers out there promising to consolidate your debt, refinance and transfer your balance. Some of these can be legit and may help you. But they can also add to your financial burden through hidden fees, higher interest and lock-in contracts.

Our advice: be aware! Don’t look at these options until you have spoken with your current providers about your situation.

For more tips on how to stay on top of your finances, sign up or log in to Credit Simple.

Credit Simple

Credit Simple gives all Australians free access to their credit score, as well as their detailed credit report. See how your credit score compares by age, gender and community and gain valuable insights into what it all means.

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