You've Maxed Out Your Credit Card: Here's What You Do

Congratulations! You've Ubered and Grubhubbed and online-shopped your way into credit card debt. Now you're an adult who's incurred enough debt to make a credit card company very frustrated with you. Welcome to the maxed out club!

The first time you realize that you've maxed out a credit card, you may panic, but there are many recourses you can take that aren't openly advertised by credit card companies. Some will impact your credit score more than others, but if you've come this far, you've probably realized that a credit score is just life's homework, and there's always a way to half-ass the assignment during homeroom.

Do Nothing?

max out credit card

It may sound odd, but there are certain circumstances when having a maxed out credit card can help you. If you're eligible for a credit card company's promotional offer of 0% interest, sometimes consolidating all your debt on one card is ultimately better than paying interest on many separate accounts. USA Today calls this "a lesser-of-two-evils situation. On the one hand, maxing out a card could hurt your credit score. But on the other, you'll save a lot of money on interest if you pay off the balance before the interest-free period is up. Plus, you'll be eliminating the balances on several cards as part of the consolidation process, which could give your credit score a modest bump. All things considered, it's probably best to opt for the consolidation."

Have a realistic idea of how long it would take you to pay off the balance. If it's possible to pay your debt within the interest-free period, then congratulations, you've made the system work for you.

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