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Stop Paying Credit Card Debt and Stop Worrying About It

Hannah Locklear | April 11, 2024

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Fact-checked by George Simons, JD/MBA

George Simons
Co-Founder of SoloSuit
George Simons, JD/MBA

George Simons is the co-founder and CEO of SoloSuit. He has helped Americans protect over $1 billion from predatory debt lawsuits. George graduated from BYU Law school in 2020 with a JD/MBA. In his spare time, George likes to cook, because he likes to eat.

Summary: Thinking you'll never pay off your credit cards? Here's a plan that works and what to do when you've had enough of making credit card payments.

Many people carry the burden of unpaid credit card debt from one month to the other. Most of them are unable to fully settle the balances before they attract high interest. Consequently, many of these people find themselves living and working to pay off their credit card debts.

Such a cycle is stressful and does not get you anywhere near attaining freedom from credit card debts. If this describes your situation, you may need to pay attention to this article to find out what options you have to finally get out of the endless loop of credit card debts.

It’s hard to clear card debt—here’s why

You may choose to commit to paying your credit card debts every month. But unless you clear all outstanding balances, you may never pay off the debt. It feels good to see the reduced credit card balance when you make your payment. However, the feeling will last just as long until the credit company charges another interest before your monthly billing.

Before you know it, your new credit card debt will shoot back to the amount it was before you made your payment. It may be higher or a little bit lower. On the other hand, if you wait until you can make a lump-sum payment, your credit score will be affected. It is even worse when you have highly valued credit cards.

Credit card debts end up becoming a trap that is difficult to escape. Credit companies will serve you another false hope by pushing you further to pay your debt to save your credit score. While that may work, it will only take you back to the beginning where you don't have money but have a good credit score. It may be tough to resist using credit cards again. After all, you need it, right? That kind of mindset will keep you imprisoned in the credit card debt cycle. You need to change it if you want to find your freedom from such debts.

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Here’s how to pay off credit card debt faster

The best option to clear your credit debts is to pay them off. How to do it is the tricky part. If you have more than one credit card with debts to pay off, you may consider the steps described below to make it easier and quicker to pay them off.

The first thing you want to do is to know your numbers. You need to know how much you owe each credit card company and the interest rate charged on each card. After finding out those important details, you will now arrange the credit debts from the highest interest rates to those with the lowest.

Then, you will need to start paying off each of the debts from the one with the highest interest rates towards those with the lowest. Remember, the higher the interest rates, the higher the debt.

One helpful tip to ensure that you have enough money to pay off the debts is to reduce your expenses where they are not necessary. It will help you save some money and channel it towards credit card bills. It is also a great idea to have an additional source of income to help you get extra money to pay off the debts.

There are other ways to get rid of your credit card debt

You may decide to pay your credit card payments every month. By now, you probably already know that this option may never get you out of the vicious debt cycle. Your credit score will be unstable, depending on what you owe the creditors and how often you honor the payments. This option keeps you working to clear the additional interest while keeping your balances at bay if you do not continue shopping with your credit card.

If your interest rates are high and you're struggling to pay, you may negotiate with your credit card company. There is no guarantee that your request for a lower interest rate will be granted. But this approach is a great starting point to a debt settlement plan.

You may agree with your credit company to work out a debt settlement plan depending on your situation and the credit card company policies. The company will pay off your debt but on the condition that you make monthly installments until you clear the debts. The downside, however, is that you will not be able to continue using the credit card. The amount you will need to pay back will also be higher than what you owe the company.

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When to stop paying your credit card debt

If you are late on your payments and can no longer afford to catch up, you may need to stop. After that, debt collectors will review your case. Many people do not pursue this option because they worry too much about their credit scores, debt stigma, and the unending phone calls from debt collectors. But it makes much more sense when your credit card has been maxed out because you can only afford to make minimal payments to the card.

If you forfeit payment for a certain period of months, the credit company may close your credit line. They will keep persuading you to make payments before they decide to forward your information to debt collectors. Typically, credit companies charge off bad debts. Most of the time, these debts may be sold off cheaply to debt collectors.

At this point, the credit card company may list you among debt defaulters. This kind of credit report does not change even when you finally pay off the debt. (This is when you need to stop paying the debt). Debt collectors are often harsh and may even threaten to take legal action against you. This tactic usually works for them; after all, it is their job to do everything possible to reclaim the money.

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The good news is that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has laws that protect you from harassment by debt collectors. Each state also has statutory law limiting the time frame when a collector can sue you for the payment. You may approach the collectors and negotiate to clear the debt with a less amount than you owe.

The agreement must be done in writing to ensure that the debt is omitted from your credit report. You may also wait for up to seven years before your debt is removed from your credit report.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out due to unpaid credit card bills, an auto loan, and other debts, it is important to take a step back and take action to protect your mental health. It is also important to understand that you have options available to address and resolve your debts, and there are even ways to stop paying credit cards legally.

How to stop paying credit cards legally

If you’re wondering how to stop paying credit cards legally, you have two options: debt settlement or bankruptcy. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Debt settlement

Debt settlement means clearing your debt with a one-time payment that's less than what you owe. Usually, this is done through companies that specialize in debt settlement or attorneys who focus on this area. The aim is to reduce your debt load and work out more favorable terms with those you owe money to.

Settling your debt is a great way to legally stop paying credit cards and typically involves a one-time, lump-sum payment to clear your name of the debt for good.


Bankruptcy is another legal option that can help you stop paying credit cards. It helps individuals and businesses that can’t afford to pay off their debts by evaluating and using their assets to pay off outstanding debts.

Even though bankruptcy can offer a fresh start for those overwhelmed by debt, it also has significant long-term consequences, particularly for one's credit score. It's often seen as a last resort debt solution after all other options have been explored.

What happens if I stop paying credit cards?

If you stop paying your credit card, your creditor will contact you to remind you to take action immediately and make a payment. After 30 days, the creditor will mark your account as delinquent, and an internal collections department may reach out to you.

After you stop paying your credit card for about two months, the creditor will report the delinquent account to the credit bureaus.

Finally, your account will be charged-off after 120-180 days. A charge-off means that your account has been marked as a loss and is usually transferred or sold to a third-party collection agency or debt buyer for further collections efforts. At this stage of the collection process, the collector will contact you and try its best to get you to pay.

If you never respond to the debt collector, there is a good chance that you will get sued for the debt. This is typically the process of what happens if you stop paying credit cards.

Luckily, you can still settle a debt even after you’ve been sued. To learn more about how to settle your credit card debt, check out this video where a SoloSuit customer talks about how she reach an agreement with Discover:

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How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

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