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What happens if I don't make my credit card payments?

Credit card debt can be overwhelming, and missed payments can have big long-term consequences.  Getty Images

Credit card debt can be difficult to cope with. And, if the financial hardship caused by credit card debt becomes too difficult to deal with, you may even consider forgoing your minimum payments altogether. 

But what happens if you do? Missing payments can have consequences, but what exactly are those consequences? Moreover, is there anything you can do to avoid missing payments if you can't afford them?

Don't risk falling behind on your credit card payments. Get the debt relief you need now

What happens if I don't make my credit card payments?

"You've worked hard building your credit score over the years, yet just one delinquent payment may significantly impact it," says Larry Bassuk, CEO, president and co-founder of Idea Financial. "The credit card companies regularly report to the major credit bureaus (like Equifax and Experian)."

"The consequences of a lower credit score include, for example, difficulty obtaining future loans, higher rates on future loans and even issues finding jobs," Bassuk says.

Missed credit card payments could also come with legal consequences. If you miss too many payments in a row, your credit card company may take you to court to recover the past-due amount owed on the account. If they obtain a judgment, they may be able to garnish your wages or the money in your bank account — or could even put a lien on your home or other properties. 

Don't risk the consequences of missed credit card payments. Get expert debt relief assistance today

An alternative to missing credit card payments

The consequences of falling behind on your credit card payments can be devastating, but you may be able to avoid significant long-term financial strain with the help of a debt relief service. These services typically specialize in one of two forms of debt relief: 

Credit card debt settlement

Credit card debt settlement services are often referred to as credit card debt forgiveness programs. The experts who provide these services negotiate your principal balances with your lenders to lower the total amount of what you owe in exchange for a lump sum payment. 

These services typically start with a conversation about your debts, income sources and other financial obligations. Once a financial hardship is identified, the debt relief experts will usually work with you to create a payment plan that you can afford and will help to eliminate your debt

From there, you'll make your payments to the debt settlement company, which holds them in a special-purpose savings account until you have enough money saved to start settling your debts. At this point, the settlement company begins negotiations and uses the money in your special-purpose savings account to fund the settlements they achieve. 

While these programs can have a detrimental impact on your credit score, they can also provide significant relief for borrowers who are drowning in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy. 

Credit card debt management

Credit card debt management programs, also called debt consolidation programs, can act as an advocate in your debt relief journey. 

The process typically starts with a conversation about your debts, income and other financial obligations. From there, the debt management specialists work with lenders to reduce your interest rates and create more effective payment plans. 

Once this process is complete, you'll make a single monthly payment to the debt management company. The company will then make payments to your lenders on your behalf. 

These programs may have a temporary negative impact on your credit score. However, the damage to your credit score may be minimal compared to making no payments or missing payments to the lenders. And, in some cases, your credit score may improve as you make your payments successfully in the debt management program. 

The bottom line

Missing even a single credit card minimum payment can have consequences, but the good news is that you may be able to stop these issues before they start. If you're struggling to make your credit card minimum payments, get in touch with a debt relief professional now to discuss your options

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