How to write a letter to creditors asking for a payment adjustment

Start the year by asking for a break.

You hope this year will be different. You are determined to manage your money better, maybe even start putting some money aside for important purchases or emergencies. The problem: You are already behind.

There is a saying, “You do not have because you do not ask.” There are steps you can take if you are having trouble paying your bills.

  1. Ask for help. Have you considered credit counseling or financial coaching? There may be financial help available at a low or no cost. Michigan State University Extension has access to many resources and experts including the Financial and Homeownership team.
  2. Ask your creditor for a payment plan. Tell your creditor:
    1. That you have financial difficulties
    2. The nature of the problem (a recent divorce, job change, etc.)
    3. You have prepared a spending plan, so you know what income you can expect every month and what fixed and flexible expenses you must pay each month including payment on the debts
    4. That using a repayment calculator you have determined how soon the debt will be paid off using your spending plan information

Make sure to look at your statements and recent communications from the creditor carefully. Most statements list an address for inquiries or customer assistance. If your letter does not produce results, at least you will be organized and have a better handle on your situation.

Put your spending plan into action and send or set aside the amount(s) you have allocated toward the difficult bills. Your creditors may eventually concede to your plan. If things get worse, and the bill goes into collection or you get sued, you may need to ask for legal advice.

Making improvements in your financial situation can be time consuming and difficult. If you have questions, or would like to ask an expert, Michigan State University Extension has access to many resources. Visit the MI Money Health page for more information and answers to your questions.

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