How to Write a Financial Hardship Letter to Creditors

by Chris Winston

    A hardship letter is a statement written by a borrower to a creditor describing a change in his financial situation. Many creditors require a hardship letter when the borrower requests financial assistance or alternative payment options. The letter should provide a detailed explanation of the type of assistance the borrower wants, the cause of the financial hardship and the current financial situation leading to non-payment of debt. Once a creditor has the full picture of the borrower's financial situation, he may approve an alternative payment plan, a temporary forbearance or other financial options.

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    Step 1

    Write your name, address and phone number at the top of your letter and write the date underneath.

    Step 2

    Provide the creditor's contact information underneath the date. Include the employee name, specific department, company name and address. Create a subject line underneath the creditor information by writing your creditor's company name and your account number. Write your subject line in all capital letters or in bold print so the account information is easily seen by the reader.

    Step 3

    Address the letter to the creditor's employee. If you don't have a specific creditor employee name, address the letter "Dear Sir or Madam" or "To Whom it May Concern."

    Step 4

    State your intent in the first paragraph. You may ask the creditor to postpone payments, review your financial situation for an assistance program or determine your eligibility for other payment options. Tell the creditor exactly what you want in a cordial manner.

    Step 5

    Explain the change in your financial situation in the second paragraph. If you lost your job, suffered a serious injury, could not sell your home or endured another type of event that affected your finances, you must communicate this, in detail, to your creditor. Provide the date of the event and any details that contributed to the change in your financial situation.

    Step 6

    Describe your current financial situation in the third paragraph. If you don't earn enough income to pay all of your monthly bills, state your monthly income, your monthly debt and expenses and the exact amount of money you are short every month. Explain any financial details that add to your problem, including your lack of a savings account for emergencies or a bad credit score that prevents you from obtaining additional credit. Explain how long you think your current situation will last and how you think the requested assistance may help alleviate your financial hardship.

    Step 7

    Refrain from making accusations, placing blame, complaining or insulting the creditor's company or any other entity in the letter. Keep your tone respectful. Remember that you are asking for help and make sure to highlight the fact that you are suffering a financial hardship that is seriously affecting your life.

    Step 8

    End your letter by providing instructions on how and when to contact you to discuss the matter.

    Step 9

    Print your name at the bottom of the letter and sign your name.

    Tips & Warnings

    • A creditor might require additional information, such as information about financial assets and liabilities or copies of your tax returns tax returns, along with your hardship letter. Be sure to provide everything the creditor requires.
    • Your letter should not be more than a page long.
    • Providing a hardship letter or financial information to a creditor may affect your legal rights.
    • A creditor may deny the request and pursue payment and penalties pursuant to the terms of the contract.

    About the Author

    Chris Winston has been writing since 2005. She is an attorney in Florida and has written on numerous legal topics during her career, with her work appearing on various websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a law degree.

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