Always communicate with the credit provider. If you have fallen on hard times and are struggling to manage all your bills – call the credit provider and explain the situation. They will need to advise you of your options under hardship and assist you in setting up a suitable payment plan or temporary hold on your account etc. If you are going away for an extended period of time or are moving house, let the credit provider know and provide a forwarding address for any necessary mail to be sent to. If you do not communicate with the provider, you put yourself in danger of being defaulted. As you know, this will affect your ability to access finance or credit for 5-7 years.
Always try to get formal assurances in writing. For example, if you are disputing a service, a bill or any other issue with your account, it is highly advisable that you attain formal confirmation of the dispute/ complaint from the credit provider. This will be extremely valuable if the credit provider in question lists a default against you before the dispute has been resolved.
Always update the credit providers with whom you are under contract with any changes in contact details. If you move address, putting a mail re-direction in place will only be a temporary fix. It is imperative that you call your service providers and provide the new details.
Try to keep copies of any correspondence (emails, letters, etc) that you receive from credit providers and do not ignore any demand letters or bills that they send to you. It is easy to miss a bill or two and before you know it you have been defaulted! If you receive a final demand or default notice from a credit provider, do not take this lightly as this is often the final step that they will take before listing a default against you. If you receive a demand/default notice, contact your credit provider as soon as possible to sort out the issue.
If you work away or live in an area with limited or no phone reception, make sure that you have advised the credit provider(s) of this and given them your best contact method.
Lists can be boring but when it comes to accounts for which regular payments are due (weekly, fortnightly, monthly installments etc), it is useful to keep a list of these so that if you have not made a payment or received a bill from a particular credit provider in some time, you can catch on to an issue quickly and pre-empt a potential credit listing.
If you notice that a direct debit payment was declined, don’t wait for the credit provider to contact you – contact them and organise a new debit date. Many of the credit providers have a huge client base and insufficient resources. This means that if a problem occurs, they may not have the capacity to spend a lot of time trying to get hold of you to resolve the issue. This is why it is so important for you to take control of your accounts and keep track of payments made.
The two best tips to avoid credit issues in the future are therefore communication and control!
Clean Credit Pty Ltd