If you are one of the many Michigan residents who have credit card debt, you know that this sort of financial situation may create stress or anxiety. While it is common for credit card debt to feel overwhelming, there are several positive steps you may take to reduce your debt and get back on solid financial footing. The exact nature of your credit card debt and your other financial circumstances may help you choose between several options, such as debt settlement, credit counseling or bankruptcy.

There are several different ways to reduce credit card debt. You may see numerous suggestions from companies offering “debt settlement” services. The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers to be wary of for-profit debt settlement companies. Many of them charge you to use their services and may not be able to secure a settlement with your credit card provider. According to the FTC, it may be better to discuss a possible settlement directly with your credit card company or to get advice from a reputable credit counseling organization.

Another option you may want to consider to eliminate your credit card debt is Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Far from being a negative “last resort,” bankruptcy is often a quick and fairly simple way to discharge overwhelming consumer debt and recover financial stability. Chapter 7 bankruptcy generally forgives unsecured debts such as credit card balances, personal loans and medical bills. To qualify for Chapter 7 protection, you may need to meet certain requirements related to your assets, income and amount of debt.

This general overview of ways to reduce credit card debt is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.