You may be facing more credit card debt than you can manage to pay back. If you feel discouraged or ashamed about your debt, you’re not alone. 52% of Americans carry credit card balances, according to The Ascent.

Surprisingly, it isn’t always bad to have credit card debt.

Not always. However, not paying it back or carrying debt for long periods can diminish your credibility as a borrower, and you can easily get in over your head. Read on below for more details about what it means to have credit card debt and what you should keep in mind as you pay back what you owe.

Credit Card Debt Can be Good or Bad

When you open a credit card, you may begin to think that there is more opportunity to spend. Don’t make this mistake. Credit card holders often think about their credit limit before their credit balance. Even if you bite more than you can chew, having debt isn’t the big issue with credit cards – your ability to pay it back is. In simple terms, credit card debt can be good or bad, because it depends on how well you manage your balance.

If you don’t pay back what you owe, your credit score will be impacted and will reflect poorly on your stability as a borrower. However, making regular and on-time payments can help boost your credit. This shows you can be responsible even while holding debt.

Don’t Carry Debt for Long Periods

One way that credit card debt can negatively affect you is if you carry it for long periods or cycles. Credit card debt is a prime example of revolving debt, which is one of two primary categories of debt. Revolving debt carries over month to month, and this can be dangerous because that balance will accrue interest and still needs to be repaid.

Therefore, the longer you take to repay debt, the more interest can build up which can put you deeper in debt. Don’t risk carrying more than you can manage, and remember to pay off what you owe as soon as you can to lessen the impact of holding credit card debt.

Don’t Default on Payments

Last but not least, is the most common way that credit card debt can negatively impact you: defaulting on payments. As we mentioned before, a credit limit is often mistaken for “this is how much I can spend” rather than considering a credit balance, noting “this is how much I have to pay back.” It’s easier said than done, but making this distinction can be very helpful and may help you curb spending and put more towards payments.

Falling behind on payments can be frustrating and stressful, so ensure that you’re taking the right steps to avoid coming to this conclusion. Maintaining a good sense of your credit balance will help you make better decisions and make credit card debt less of a hassle.

Related Article: How to Reduce Credit Card Debt Without Hurting Your Credit Score

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