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Home > Reader Questions > Should I Just Not Pay My Highest Credit Card Balances?

Should I Just Not Pay My Highest Credit Card Balances?

I would like to know if anyone came up with this idea…instead of relying on the credit debt relief.. i had an idea of not paying the highest credit cards balance until i start with the small owes for example all these credit cards are like 25 or 30 a month but try with 9 of them and it adds up along with 2 more credit cards that ask for 120 and 113 a month. i hardly have anything left when im done paying them. so i figure all those 25s 30s and others bundle it and pay off starting the smallest like 500 left then go on to the 700’s and so forth. they may ask harrass for not paying this month and so but the apr is already really high so does it matter? have anyone ever done this before? did it work?

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  • Gwen Lance

    Never heard of it but if you pay the smaller ones and ignore the larger ones, the larger ones will collect fees and penalties and your payment will be even higher. Does not seem like a good idea to me. Ask your credit card company to lower your rate and work out a plan with you. Some will, some won’t. I lost my job 2 yrs ago. I wrote the credit card co’s I could not make the payments and they sent me back a letter stating they would work a plan with me and sent a phone number to call them. Something to think about. In my case, there was no money for any payments. Living on Social Secuity only, after losing job!

    • Steve Rhode

      How much debt do you have?

    • GJ

      i have called two of them larger debt ones. they said they dont have anything special out and to call next month…i told them of my hardship, still they refused and apologized over the phone they cant offer anything. they will only make a deal through the debt consolidation companies or lawyers. now im kinda wishing i had a relative who is a lawyer so they can bluff them for no expenses.

  • Matthew Huffer

    As others have mentioned this will be a big red mark on your credit report, once they go delinquent past 30 days your credit takes a big ping. If you’re talking about letting them go for an extremely long period of time and then settling with the credit card company it could theoretically work, just dont plan on being able to obtain any loans or new credit for that period of time, and be prepared to deal with a LOT of creditors and collectors calling you and harassing you- and your family.

  • John

    I do not recommend not paying anything on your high interest
    rate credit card.  Instead pay the minimum
    monthly payment and go ahead and add everything you can (not the minimum
    payment) to your lowest interest rate credit card. Once you have paid it off,
    take the amount you paid on that card and add that to the payment you were
    currently paying on your next highest interest rate card.  It will take discipline but you will find you
    will keep you credit safe and you will find your debt reduce faster. 

    Paying the lesser interest rate cards off sooner lets you can see yourself succeeding in getting rid of your debt as they drop off one by one. That feeling of success will motivate you to keep going.  If you wait to pay the higher interest rate card off you really won’t see a lot of immediate success in reducing your debt and that leads to discouragement and possibly hopelessness in your fight to become debt free.


    Avoid the temptation to spend the amount you were paying on
    a lower interest rate card on other things.  You have survived this far without using that
    money so let it work to your advantage in paying your other debts off.  Then when everything is paid off you can
    celebrate by doing something special for yourself (just don’t go into debt for
    the celebration).

  • RomoD

    I attempted this method, however only made problems worse. If you decide to handle your bills this way I wish you luck, as it only made things worse..

  • Kakabel

    The advantage of doing what you propose is that you will feel good about paying off the small ones, and be used to paying that amount every month, which you can apply to bigger ones (the Reverse Snowball plan)! Once you do, put them on ice, literally! Put the credit card in water and freeze it–to use it again, you’ll have to thaw it out, and maybe that will make you think twice about using it.

  • laura579

    the cards with higher balances are more likely to sue if you go into default. so there is a real risk if you ignore them for too long.
    if you are struggling to make your minimums, i am assuming all our cards are up to the default rate by now? i would call the cards, tell them you cannot afford to pay them off at this interest rate and you are considering bankrupcy. ask them if they have a zero interest repayment plan to offer you?
    we did that with amex, the charged zero interest for 6 months and 9.99% for another 6 months. we got the card paid off shortly after that second six months.

  • David

    They will raise your interest rates to the highest they can by law.
    Which is almost 30% plus they will taken on late fees that will add up

  • Maribeth121

    Could you call the companies that you owe the higher monthly payments and ask them if you could temporarily reduce your monthly payments.  Since the APR is really high, you would just be acruing more debt by NOT paying the higher payments, and it will be reported on your credit statement.  You did not say if you’ve lost pay, been laid off, sick, etc.  The companies hear so much lately, I’m sure if you called and explained, they might be able to work with you.  Good luck!!

  • Worried Soul

    I believe that, by not paying some of your credit card bills, you will spoil your credit record. You can pay all the  smaller debts , but so far as you default payment on the other credit card(with big bills) it still goes against you. I am going through the same problem and I’m thinking of filling bankruptcy

  • Msullivan

    I have never seen this done, but I’m sure it has been done. There are a few flaws in this approach:

    First, when you skip a payment there are costs. Most cards will add a late payment penalty and increase your APR. Since you plan to skip the large balance accounts, this will likely cost you a significant amount. Frankly, if the math doesn’t work, there may not be a reason to read any more of this.

    Second, the best way to pay down debt is to attack the account with the highest APR regardless of the balance. You owe a bunch of money and your goal should be to pay it off as quickly and cheaply as possible. You do that by paying the minimum amount on every account except the one with highest APR and sending every extra dollar you can find to that account. (I know that a number of famous advisers recommend paying off the smallest balance first; they are wrong).

    Third, skipping payments is just another way of saying that you can’t afford your debt. If you can’t afford your debt get help. I always suggest starting with a non-profit credit counseling agency because that advice is free, but get help from someone before you make a decision with long-term impact like the one you describe.

    Good Luck!

  • SeanB

    Remember that by doing what you are describing, you are voluntarily putting late marks on your credit report that will drop your credit rating.  This drop in your credit score, could affect your other credit lines as well.  One other thing to do is sit down and make a DETAILED list of all expenses and income.  Look at the little extras that you spend on things like lunches, dinners, clothing etc,… and see how much faster you could eliminate your credit card debt.  By eliminating some of the “fun” things for a few months, you may be able to make a BIG dent in your debt without affecting your credit score in a negative way.  Just make sure and think of the “down the road” impact you will put on your credit if you follow the plan you are describing. 

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