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What if I suddenly stop paying my credit card bills?

If you're drowning in credit card debt, the temptation is high simply to stop paying them. Indeed, it will relieve a lot of stress and financial difficulty if you can suddenly free up hundreds of extra dollars each month. However, the consequences of stopping your debt payments will accumulate behind the scenes.

Fees and interest will start to accumulate fast, and it will snowball. The minimum payments you've been avoiding will begin to grow, and fast. Your interest rates will also rise. After just 60 days of not paying your credit cards, your credit card company can increase your APR to what is known as the "penalty rate," which is the highest rate available. Finance charges will rise exponentially, and it will soon become next to impossible to catch up on your bills.

Even if you do manage to catch up on your payments, the penalty interest rate will stay until you have completed six consecutive payments. Then, the rate will return to normal for any balance you've held, but the penalty rate could remain valid for additional purchases.

When you're not paying your credit card bill for some time, the collection company will start to contact you in every way it can -- via mail, phone, text message, email and more. Your credit card company is allowed to call you and ask you to pay your debts as much as it wants. Other difficult consequences can occur when your behind on your debts, like legal action and even wage garnishment.

It's best not to get behind on your credit card payments because of these and other difficult consequences. However, if you do get behind, you might want to speak with a King County bankruptcy lawyer. Your bankruptcy attorney can look deeply into your debt, assets and income situation to determine a suitable strategy for resolving your credit card debt once and for all.

Source: The Balance, "What Will Happen If I Default on my Credit Cards?," LaToya Irby, accessed March 10, 2017

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