However, contacting your creditor may not always be wise, especially if you have higher levels of debt.
Personal finance expert Liz Weston author of "The 10 Commandments of Money," advises talking to a credit counselor and a bankruptcy attorney before contacting your lender about your inability to repay the debt.
“Talking to your creditor can have some negative repercussions," she says. "It can have an account frozen or a credit limit lowered.”
A credit counselor can help you enroll in a debt-management plan, with the goal of paying off unsecured debt, such as credit cards and medical bills, within three to five years.
The not-for-profit National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) can refer you to a reputable credit counseling agency in your area. Or you can do some homework to find a trusted agency, ideally one that is accredited by the Better Business Bureau .
Credit counselors who are part of the NFCC are certified (they have passed tests relating to financial literacy).
Fees for counselors under the NFCC network vary, based on your income and state laws, but the cost is usually include a $50 setup fee and a monthly fee around $25. If you cannot afford these fees, ask for them to be waived.Page 2 of 6 | Prev Page | Next Page