If you have a credit card or two in your wallet, you may have thought nothing of pulling one out and charging an item you found on sale or something you need for the house. However, when you begin using the card for things like groceries, your electric bill or the payment on another credit card, you may have wondered how you got into this mess.

Credit card debt can overwhelm you before you know it. If you max out your card then miss a payment, you suddenly have over-the-limit fees, late fees, interest and perhaps additional penalties. Suddenly, your minimum payment may not take your balance low enough to avoid all those fees again the next month. This may be one more financial burden on your already strained budget.

Fly now, debt later

Credit card debt is a nationwide problem. The national total of revolving credit debt is currently over $1 trillion. If your credit card debt caught you off guard, you may have missed some of the sneaky ways companies trick you into taking on more debt. Often, the fine print hides information that can save you hundreds or thousands in debt.

For example, if you have an American Express card, you may have taken advantage of its Fly Now, Earn Later program. With this credit trap, you use points to pay for an airline ticket. However, you haven’t actually earned those points yet, and you now have a limited time to charge enough to earn the points. If you don’t, the credit card company will add the airline charge to your bill, plus a very high interest.

Crippling default penalties

You may know the frustration of making a late payment on your credit card balance. No matter how much money you send, your balance never gets smaller. This may be a result of universal default. Some credit card companies exercise this option if a customer is late with a payment. Your credit card company may change the terms of the credit card without warning, raising your interest as high as 30 percent. That interest may be applied to whatever balance remains on the card.

These are just some of the methods credit card companies use that may having you floundering to keep your head above water. If you are looking for a way to resolve your debt, an attorney can help you determine the best option for your situation. While bankruptcy may be an alternative to explore, there may be other ways to deal with your debt, and a compassionate attorney can assist you in finding and accessing those methods.