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FDIC Consumer News

Winter 2013/2014

Avoiding Debt Problems With Credit Cards

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Only spend what you can afford. Know your credit limit. Be sure to only spend what you know you can repay — on time and preferably in full — regardless of how high your credit limit is.

Reach out for help if you are struggling with debt. If you have a serious debt problem, consider turning to a reputable credit counseling service. A variety of organizations specialize in advising borrowers on how to minimize harm from troublesome debt, such as limiting the damage to their credit histories. But be careful before signing an agreement or providing payment information to a credit counselor; some may offer questionable or expensive services, and others may be scams.

Start your search by asking people and organizations you trust for referrals. Then check on the complaint history of several credit counseling agencies with your state Attorney General's office, your local consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau. Also get details about their services and fees before making an oral or written agreement.

Remember that you can also talk with your credit card company directly to explain your situation and explore options for relief.


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Last Updated 5/22/2014

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