What will happen if I do not pay my credit card debt?

Maybe you lost your job recently or your spouse suddenly became ill. Maybe you got in over your head months ago or recently needed to do some home repairs. No matter what your reason is, the fact is millions of Americans are struggling to pay their bills every month. They scrape to meet ends meet. They look for ways to save. But at the end of the month, they still have trouble. The frustration forces many of them to stop paying their bills entirely, especially their credit card bills. And the result is not good. Continue reading to find out why you need to stay on top of your credit card debt, regardless of how bad your financial situation might be.

How credit card debt is affecting America

Credit card debt has become such a problem in this country that some credit card companies are "character profiling" in order to deny consumers higher credit limits. This clip explains how they do it.

Video: What is Credit Profiling?

What the law says about your situation

Unless you have successfully filed for bankruptcy recently, federal laws allow for credit card companies to come after you if you owe them money. Initially, they must either come after you themselves or hire a collections agency to approach you about your debt. They can also report your missed payments to the three major credit agencies as well. If you still refuse to pay them, they are entitled to take you to court to try and force you to pay your debt. At this point, chances are you're not just being stubborn: You're legitimately facing a problem that could affect you for years to come.

consequences of not paying bills

Why you may be forced into bankruptcy

Should you stop paying your credit card debt altogether, you're eventually going to need to consider bankruptcy. Your credit card company will continue to charge you late fees when you refuse to pay until you simply have no chance of fighting back. Before you file for bankruptcy, there are other options. You can consolidate your credit card debt through a legitimate debt consolidation company. You can call your credit card company and try to settle your debt and negotiate a lower repayment of your debt. Bankruptcy should always be used as a last resort, but if you wait too long to consolidate or settle, you'll find yourself in a legal battle against your credit card company.

How your credit card company will react

Because credit card companies want to make money, they are often willing to work with you through a consolidation or settlement program as long as you are having a real problem. You also need to approach them well before you think of stopping payments. They don't want you to file for bankruptcy because they end up losing money as a result of you filing for it. So try and work out another plan before you stop making payments on your credit card debt altogether. In these trying times, many will work with you to avoid you filing for bankruptcy.

The truth about credit cards

In 2007, the documentary "Maxed Out" revealed the troubling consequences that credit cards have had on this country. Here's a clip from the film.

Video: Credit Card Consequences (Maxed Out)

Where To reach America's top 20 credit card companies

Whether you're considering debt consolidation, debt settlement or another option, you need to start somewhere. Don't let credit card debt bring you down. Contact your credit card company now to find out how to get started. Then, make your move towards becoming debt-free for good.

Additional Resources:

Advanta
800-705-7255

American Express
800-528-4800

Banco Popular
800-377-0800

Bank of America
800-732-9194

Barclays Bank Delaware
302-255-8000

Capital One
800-955-7070

Chase
800-432-3117

CitiBank
800-950-5114

Discover
800-347-2683

First National Bank
888-530-3626

First PREMIER Bank
605-978-9778

Japan Credit Bureau
800-366-4522

MasterCard
800-627-8372

MBNA America Bank (now owned by Bank of America)
800-441-7048

Morgan Stanley
212-761-4000

Pulaski Bank
501-661-7700

Simmons First National Bank
800-636-5151

U.S. Bank
800-285-8585

Visa
800-VISA-911