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Short answer: no, probably not. Long answer: yes, maybe.

You could, theoretically, be sued by a creditor, issued a summons, fail to show up for your court date, and have an arrest warrant issued in your name– but this is unlikely to happen except in the most extreme cases.

Here’s what will normally happen if you don’t pay your credit card debt:

First, your information will be sent to a private collection agency who will attempt to collect the balance of the debt – usually through repeated calls and letters. If you ignore the collection agency’s efforts to contact you, or if you refuse to cooperate and set up a payment plan, then the credit card company may decide to sue you for your failure to pay. If you are issued a court summons and don’t show up, or if a judge orders you to make payments and you don’t make them, your bank accounts may be frozen and, in rare cases, the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest.

Don’t worry though – long before you see the inside of the Big House, you will have been harassed by collection agents, contacted by lawyers, and had all your accounts frozen. No one will haul you away without plenty of warning. But why take chances? If you’re having trouble making payments on your credit card debt, pick up the phone and tell your creditors the situation. They may surprise you. Usually they are eager to set you up with a plan that works for you – after all, they don’t want you to end up in jail, either. They just want their money back.