Accumulating overwhelming credit card debt can be as easy as swiping your credit card a few too many times. When your credit card balance rises significantly and you don’t know what to do about it, ignoring it is not a prudent response. There are serious consequences that could result from not paying your credit card debt.

Financial Penalties

When your credit card account goes delinquent, financial penalties will begin to accrue. Many credit card companies levy a penalty APR when you miss a payment and you will see an immediate jump in your interest rates, warns debt advisor Steve Bucci. Expect the credit card company to levy late fees against your account as well. Late fees may multiply as months of delinquency go by.

Credit Score Hit

The credit card company will consider your account delinquent according to the number of days since your first missed payment was due. If you ignore the bank’s attempts to reach you about the debt and it reaches the 60-day mark, you can expect that the bank will report the nonpayment to the credit reporting companies, according to attorneys Hoglund, Chwiakowski & Mrozik. This report to the credit reporting companies will result in a hit to your credit score, which could affect your ability to get future loans, impact future job and rental opportunities and result in higher insurance rates.

Charge-Off Headaches

It’s common for a credit card company to move to a “charge-off” at some point if you have not responded to any attempts to resolve the debt. A charge-off involves the credit card company concluding that your debt is a business loss that it will not collect, according to the Lynch Law Firm. The point of charge-off varies for individual credit card companies, but it could occur as early as 60 days delinquency or it might be six months. With the charge-off, the credit card company turns your account over to an internal collections department. Representatives working in this department will begin attempting to contact you more insistently. You may get numerous telephone calls from representatives calling to discuss your debt. The credit card company could also sell the debt to an independent debt collector. Ignoring attempts to collect the debt will only make your problems more serious.

Legal Judgments

After exhausting all collections options, a credit card company may sue you to recover the money you owe. If the bank opts to involve the court system, you will receive a summons that outlines the claim. The outcome of the legal action might be a judgment against you for the debt, which could result in garnished wages or a lien on your assets or property, according to the Law Offices of Stephen B. Kass, P.C. Retain legal counsel, if possible, to help you resolve a legal claim.