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What’s the worst thing that could happen to an individual if he or she completely ceases to pay off credit card debt?


It’s hard to say what the worst thing is, but there are several really bad things. Soon after you stop paying, the fees for paying late and/or paying less than the minimum amount due start accumulating, pushing your balance up. It is also very likely to affect your credit score, making it harder or more expensive to borrow.
Keep failing to pay and you almost definitely will be found in default by card issuers, and that could lead to nasty, threatening letters and phone calls and eventually lawsuits that the issuers probably would win. The potential upshot of that is a wage garnishment (your employer would be told to pay a certain portion of your salary each month to your creditors, causing you embarrassment as well as reduced income), and some of your assets might be seized, as well. If you are facing this cascade of unpleasant developments, you might want to talk things over with your creditors before it begins or consult a nonprofit debt counseling service. One that I have mentioned here before is Apprisen Financial Advocates, 1.800.355.2227,

(Apprisen is a nonprofit debt counseling agency, which has been in operation for more than 50 years. Its costs are covered through grants and contributions from creditors. The money paid into one of Apprisen's plans goes entirely toward reducing an individual's outstanding balance, expiditing the process of getting out of debt.)

-Conrad de Aenlle