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The consequences of not paying credit card minimums

Arizona readers who are carrying the weight of credit card debt may be interested in an article discussing what happens if minimum payments are not made. While there will be bad news for a person's credit, the penalties will not be quite as harsh as some bill collectors may imply.

Paying something on a credit card is generally better than making no payments at all, but a strategy of paying below the minimum will only work for so long. After a few months of these payments, the credit card company will usually flag the account and send it to its collections department. It may then charge off the account and either sue the debtor or hire a collection agency to attempt to collect the debt. It may be possible to work out a payment arrangement with the credit card company.

A debtor can't be jailed simply for failing to pay a consumer obligation. However, if there is a court order to appear and the debtor does not show up, a contempt of court finding could lead to an arrest. This appearance is usually in order for the debtor to explain why they have not paid the debts. While the prospect of court appearances and arrests can be scary for some, these are extreme circumstances where orders are ignored. Usually, the remedy in these cases is wage garnishment or a bank account lien.

The financial challenges of dealing with large amounts of credit card debt can be extremely stressful, even when attempting to make minimum payments. Sometimes the only way out from under this debt is filing for bankruptcy. An attorney who has experience in this area may be able to explain the eligibility requirements for such a filing.

Source: FOX Business, "Penalty if Less Than Minimum Paid on Debt?", March 05, 2014

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  • NACA | National Association of Consumer Advocates
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