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What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your Credit Card Bill?


One of our readers, Luis, had this question:

So in the wake of the Circuity City business faltering… in other words, going under… Can I get away with not paying of their credit card?


When a company files for bankruptcy, it’s a little different than when a person files for bankruptcy. Usually a corporate bankruptcy is more of a “restructuring” plan that involves staying open, making some cuts, and working out an extended period of time to get their finances in order and repay many of their debts.

To that end, Circuit City has closed over 150 of it’s stores, but kept many open. The credit card that you have is most likely financed by CHASE rather than Circuit City (since they have a partnership in order to offer credit to Circuit City’s customers). Check your terms and conditions to be sure.

Now, regardless, you will still have to make your credit card payments. If you do not, the credit card company will simply sell your account to one of the many vicious collection agencies, and it will ruin your credit score, etc.

Even if Circuit City ends up going under completely, you will still have to pay your credit card debt – you can bet that they will sell your credit card account if they need to in order to raise money. No breaks for consumers when a company goes under – especially where credit is concerned!

Another reader, Ralf, had this question:

My filing for bankruptcy will be filed soon. I heard that Wells Fargo is notorious for freezing accounts. Can they freeze my account even though I have no credit cards / loans or any credit with them associated with my bankruptcy? I only have a visa check card with them. More importantly, if they can freeze my funds, where should I get my paycheck deposited to avoid this mess.



Hi Ralf, thanks for your question. I am not familiar with Wells Fargo’s bankruptcy policy. I did do some research into it, and I see what you mean about them freezing accounts from several consumer reports online.

You can either call them, explain the situation, and as them what to do, or you can go ahead and move your direct deposit to a different bank.

If you don’t have any credit lines with them, then there is a good chance that your bankruptcy won’t make a difference. Normal bank accounts are not usually included in a bankruptcy unless you own the bank money in one form or another.

Just to be on the safe side though, you could open up another checking account prior to your bankruptcy. If Wells Fargo gives you trouble, it will be a simple matter to have your direct deposit switched to the new account. If all goes well, you can simply close out the new checking account, or keep it as a backup. Just make sure you get one that doesn’t have monthly fees.

And one last question from Bonnie:

My boyfriend put me on three accounts as an authorized user. I used each one occasionally a few years ago but have not used any of them for the last few years since I established my own credit. I had no knowledge of his balance transfers, how much the balances were or his payment history. Now these three accounts are affecting my debt ratio and so my credit score. We are not married. Can he request that I be taken off his accounts? Can I request or should I demand to be taken off. He has closed the accounts in order to pay them off. What is my liability? Awaiting your reply.

Hi Bonnie,

As an authorized user you have no liability for the debt on those credit card accounts. However the amount he owes on them could certainly be lowering your credit score.

In this situation, te best thing to do is to give him a call and have him remove your name from the accounts. This is not normally something that you can do yourself since *technically* it’s not your account.

All he will have to do is give the credit card companies a call, and ask that your name be removed as an authorized user.

Once he does this, wait a month or two and then check your own credit reports to be sure that the accounts are no longer showing up each month.

Have a question for us? Leave a comment below!

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January 20, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

Hi Mr. Credit Card!

I had a quick question. So say I did owe a bank money and put them in my Bankruptcy, how will this affect me now and later? Will I be able to open a new bank account? Will this prevent me from getting loans later in life? Does it ever come off my credit report like a normal credit card?

Thank You!


Gemma Fountain
January 22, 2009 @ 7:32 am

Hi, i was hoping you may be able to help.

I had a credit card with nationwide about 9 years ago and started to miss payments. I then had a visit from a man at nationwide and i set up a payment plan to clear down the debt. After six months the money stopped coming out of my account even though i still had £1097 outstanding. I tried to call them but they just told me i would be called back but they never did. I have had no further contact with them for about 4 years via email, telephone, letter etc.
Yesterday i received a letter from them saying that i missed the November 08 payment and December and now i need to pay the rest of the debt off (£1097).
Can they do this as i haven’t received anything from them be it statements or letters and then they just contact me out of the blue years later.

February 4, 2009 @ 4:32 pm

I have a WAMU credit card with a balance of 16K and I’m unable to make the payments at this time. WAMU has been sold to CHASE and that is when I bank. If I don’t make the payments on the credit card can or will CHASE have the right to deduct money from my accounts?

February 5, 2009 @ 4:52 am


I was recently laid off and it came to the point that i had to give my car back to the bank and stop paying on my credit cards because i could not afford them anymore. Now, should i file bankruptcy on them or just let them be? Either way, my credits trashed…but would it be worth while to file or just let them write them on my credit report as bad debt?

February 5, 2009 @ 6:10 am

Hello Mr. Credit Card,

How much or how many points does your credit score goes down if you fail
to pay one credit card ($14,000) but continue to pay your mortgage and
other debts? I’m NOT planning to file bankruptcy. Or can I also negotiate a
lower complete payoff balance with them?

Thank you

February 13, 2009 @ 6:01 pm

i would like the answer to Tony’s question as well…

April 29, 2009 @ 2:08 am

I had a chase credit card and was not able to keep up with the payments. So now I owe them 4000.00 What happens if I don’t pay them? My money is deposited into chase every month.

September 19, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

I live in N.C. In June 09 I had a heart attack, which I ended up with a quadruple bypass and a defibrilator. I am already retired and on a fixed income. My problem is that I owe $12,000 in credit card debt and at the moment I am not behind on them (3). I now have a lot of medical bills and I cannot pay them and the credit cards. What will happen if I don’t pay the cc.


September 22, 2009 @ 5:57 pm

I am working with a debt consolidation company and am not paying on my credit cards. They credit card companies keep calling, I do explain my situation and that I am working with a company but still the keep calling. What can I do? Can they sue me? Can they take me to court?

October 2, 2009 @ 1:54 am


I haven’t been able to find a job for about 4 months now and all of my loans and credit cards have gone to collections and maybe pressing charges. What will the judge do? What will happen to my credit after going to court? Is it better to make an agreement with the creditor or just let them take me to court?

November 29, 2009 @ 9:02 pm


January 18, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

I have been current on all my bills for the last 9 years, never late, paid on time. I have recently had a substantial decrease in income, I could not pay on 3 credit card bills for the last three months. It bothers me, I did not want to ruin the good credit that I have established for so many years. There is no way I can catch up on the late fees, and overlimit fees that have accumulated. Should I just not pay them? Should I make an arrangement? Should I file bankruptcy?

January 26, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

My wife has credit card with a delinquent balance of $6,000. She making her minimum payments as required when all of a sudden the creditor tripled her percentage rate. With this increase the finance charges went up and she was no longer able to make the minimum payments. Then late fees started getting taked on. She tried talking with the creditor but they would not budge. She got a letter in the mail the other day stating they were a law firm and were attempting to collect the money. She talked to the company of the phone and they of course gave her the third degree, but we just can’t meet their demands for payment. My question is what can be done to her in this situation. She doesn’t work and the house and cars are in my name. I know different rules apply for each state so we live in South Carolina. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.

January 28, 2010 @ 1:23 am

i can’t make my credit card payments my husbands job went down in hours and i am on social security. My question is ,the cards our in my name and i am married thow to my husband can the garnish his wages or mind like i said before i am on social. Or will the just put a lean on our house. Thanks lisa

February 12, 2010 @ 11:15 pm

I owe $35,000 total of 3 credit cards. I have managed to take care of the payments up until now. My credit score was 740. If I stop making payments on all 3 credit cards (Visa, Mastercard and Discovery) Can I get sued??. If I begin working, can my check get garnished?. I am aware my credit would go bad for 7yrs to begin with but can these 3 agencies take legal action against me?? and for last, I’ve heard that it’s worse to deal with those companies that reduce 70% of your debt for a lower monthly payment because they get a comission of that payment. Thanks. Adry.

Stoner with a Boner
February 13, 2010 @ 3:20 am

Chase bank sucks!!!!

They get bailout money and raise rates!!!!!

I hope you all declare bankruptcy, walk away guilt free, built up your credit and have happy, healthy lives!!!!

March 5, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

Hey Adry,

I am in the same situation with about $40,000 in credit card debt? I am late on about 3 cards too. I owe Amex $6,000 and they offered to settle for 65% or $3,800 to be paid in 30 days? Does anyone know if they can settle for less if I countered? The agent from CT Services says that is the lowest. Anyone know??? Thanks to all…

March 20, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

Wells Fargo is also a disgrace! I have a checking account with them as well as a Visa card. They jacked up my interest rate on the Visa to 22.85%. I make my monthly payments on time but I can’t do this much longer. Between their interest rate and the finance charges plus the high interest rate on my mortage with them, I’m going to go broke. I have tried and tried to negotiate with them to give me a lower interest rate but they continually refuse and are rude about it. I am going to close my bank accounts with them and go to a credit union.
They are like loan sharks. They took taxpayer money in the form of a bailout yet they could care less about their customers.

April 21, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

I am a full time college student I am not working at the moment, I owe 2000.00 in credit card bill that my mom was paying monthly but she notice the interest charge is 50.49. She was paying around 60.00 a month and the bill was not getting any lower, so we close the account and since I am not working ( my mom is on disability she does not want to continue payment) she said she’s just paying the charges and none is going to the actual bill i owe. What can we do? We spoke to the credit card supervisor they were not able to lower in a way that would make a difference. What can we do?

kiki b
May 25, 2010 @ 3:03 am

Hi, I have attempted to get my apr lowered with wf, chase and ae. No one was wiling to help me. Now that i’m wayyyyyy past due they want to work something out. So backwards. I would like to know if the cc companies can take my $$$ from another bank account or take $$$ from my cd account? if so will they send me a notice in the mail regarding this? i still make payments on my account it’s not the minmum because i just don’t have anymore cash. 40 yrs of great credit gone. what can i don at this point?

signed. Recession has killed my credit!!

June 15, 2010 @ 10:11 pm

my boyfriend has been paying weekly a large sum out of his pay to a lawyers office that consolidated his ex wifes credit cards that he got stuck with, well they stopped paying on the credit cards for the last 14 months and only pd on his truck, four wheeler and harley. today the 3 are paid in full and now they say he still owes 18,000 on the credit cards. Is this possible? I would think that if the credit card companies havent gotton any money for 14 months that they probably charged off his balance owed. hes been paying on them for 4 years. Im affraid the laywers office is gonna keep the last 18,000. my man has been punished enough by his ex wife . any comments would be great!!!

June 17, 2010 @ 12:32 am

I’m not going to pay my credit card debt of $14,000 I CANT MAKE IT NO MATTER HOW THE TRY TO LURE ME INTO reduced principal and reduced monthly payment. Several collection companies tried calling me but I’m not going for it. I was self employed for 20 years – it ended 4th quarter of 2008 – company closed down. I’ve been receiving unemployment for over (1) year, have no checking, no savings or liguid assets, no stocks, no insurance, no help with the bills – no nothing – just me and my 62 year old wife are trying to survive. My house payment has always been on time, I gotta second with the mortgage company of $188 4% interest only. The credit card is unsecured – so what could they really do to me????

Maria ael
August 29, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

I have a credit card with Macy’s. My interest rate is 24%. For the past 8 years I have been making payments on time. I have my own apartment and a 15 year old daughter. I do not get child support or any other kind of income but my job, which I am a preschool teacher. About a month ago I had a choice to put food on the table or pay my bill. I stopped paying my bill. The credit credit company afforded me a deal. A payment program plan drop my inerest rate to 15% for one year and pay $70.oo a month. Is this a good deal?

November 17, 2010 @ 5:21 am


My checking account and savings account were just wiped out to $0.00 by a credit card debt. I had a few thousand dollars in my bank accounts and that was the most money I’ve had in any bank account since my student loan days in college. I was finally getting my life together.

My original credit card debt was $2500. It’s the ONLY credit card I’ve had and it has destroyed my credit. I got it when I was 19. When I was 21 I couldn’t keep the payments up, then they sold it to a collection agency when I was 22. They demanded payement and threatened me. I didn’t know then that all I had to do was pay them something, 15.00 even and they couldn’t do anything to me. But I didn’t know that so I ignored their threats, figuring that one day I would pay them when I could afford it… knowing full well it would destroy my credit and give me several thousand dollars extra in fees to pay.

Now I’m 30.. my credit is ruined.. I now owe almost 8,000.00 and now they wipe my bank account clean? leaving me no money for food, gas or bills? Boy, that’s one credit card I shouldn’t have signed up for!

So is this legal? Can they really just wipe someone clean like that? Isn’t a credit card an unsecured loan- isn’t that why they justify such high interest?

For the record, I wasn’t running from my debt. Its just that every time I tried to work a deal, they demanded payment in full, or a settlement. I could never afford their terms. So I opted to ignore them until I got my life together so I could pay them 10 times the amount I borrowed. Not a smart plan.. but I didn’t know any better. I was unemployed for 2 of the last 3 years. and for the last decade my yearly income averaged between 14-16K. I finally got a break two months ago and found a decent job, and they take it ALL away from me? Shouldn’t they just be allowed to garnish, or take a percentage?

I feel very violated and now I am financially destroyed, again… right where the collection agencies want me.

Can anyone help me? Is there any legal protection that I have? We’re talking about 2500 dollars here. now its up to 8 grand and they just took everything from me all at once. My bank allowed them to take it because they had a “legal order pledge”. If they just would have allowed me to pay 50 bucks a month, I would have been able to do that. What do they want, my soul?

Thank you

February 2, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

If you’ve received a Default Judgment in a court of law, you’re subjected to a lien being placed on your home. Wage garnishments as well as bank account garnishments can only legally be enforced IF the debtor has been previously notified in writing. It’s very difficult to prove if you have not received prior notification(s) but if for whatever reason you did not, then you should pursue. This however does not stop said lien(s) nor wage and bank account garnishments from occurring in the future. It will linger until said debt(s) owed are paid in full.

August 9, 2011 @ 11:26 am

I have a current credit card balance at Citigroup Visa of $9,000. My social security monthly benefit is deposited at Schwab Bank. If I don’t pay Citibank, what happens? Can they garnish my social security? Can they freeze my Bank account? Can they intercept social security deposits?

January 3, 2012 @ 12:52 am

I opened up a Walmart credit card last September for the sole purpose of financing a television with my boyfriend. We were making payments on it, monthly. I had let him use it for gas a few times during emergency situations. However, just this evening, I looked at the balance and he had reached up to 3,000 dollars. I do not feel I should have to pay for his charges. And I’m also considering taking legal actions. How do I go about doing so?

March 28, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

ok hi so i bought a walmart money card in january to pay off something i dn’t really remember, anywho i only use it for that one thing. i kept the card cause i wasn’t for sure if i was going to use it again. sadly i forgot that there was a monthly fee of $3. three months have pass and i haven’t use it at all there is no money on the card, untill i went to walmart to cancel the card (cause i decident i wasn’t going to use it)and the balanace on the card was -17 dollars. i was shocked how the hell so i told the lady put $20 on it to clear it she said i would have to call the number on the back of the card ask about it. i went home thought about it $3 a month times the 3 months i didn’t pay that damn card it didn’t add up 17 dollar 3 times 3 is 9 right??? my question is,are there adding more money, and how can i cancel this card, i dn’t have a bank help plz. can i cancel it anyways do i still have to pay if i do.

rudy horn
April 5, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

we have 14000.00 ona credit card and can’t pay it not even minimum payments we owna ahome what can they do to us if we don’t pay


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