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I am in financial straits. What are the legitimate options for satisfying my debt?

Options for satisfying all debt owed include

  • paying the debt in full,
  • negotiating new terms directly with the lender, or
  • declaring bankruptcy in a court of law.

Keep in mind that bankruptcy will be reported on your credit history for ten years and may make it difficult for you to acquire credit in the future. A credit counselor, many of which are non-profit organizations, may be able to advise you on how best to manage your debt. You can begin searching for a reputable credit counselor online, for instance by visiting the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or the United States Trustee Program's list of approved credit counseling agencies.

Last Reviewed: April 2021

Please note: The terms "bank" and "banks" used in these answers generally refer to national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches or agencies of foreign banking organizations that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Find out if the OCC regulates your bank. Information provided on should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion of the OCC.

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