Information from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Dealing with Debt

Finding yourself in too much debt can be stressful, below are some tips and resources on how you can tackle your debt situation.

Debt Repayment Options and Strategies

  • The Highest-Interest-First Plan
    Pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first. Pay the minimum on other debts.
  • Debt Snowball Plan
    Pay the debt with the lowest interest rate first. Pay the minimum on other debts.
  • Negotiate with Credit Card Companies and Lenders
    Discuss the possibility of fee waivers, interest rate reductions, or lower minimum monthly payments.
  • Credit Counseling
    Certified counselors can help develop a budget and debt repayment plan. 
  • Debt Consolidation
    Consolidate debts into one monthly payment, but research thoroughly before doing this.

    What you need to know about debt consolidation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

  • Military Help
    Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, military personnel may qualify for reduced interest rates, protection from eviction, and delays in civil court actions. Contact your local Armed Forces Legal Assistance office to check eligibility.

Credit and Debt Counseling Services

Credit counseling organizations help you develop a budget and debt management plan. 

Credit counseling organizations are usually non-profit organizations, and their counselors are certified and trained in the areas of consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Counselors discuss your financial situation with you and help you develop a personalized plan to solve your money problems.

To get started, you can try the Financial Counseling Association of America or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling . You can also view of a list of approved credit counselors through the U.S. Department of Justice.

About Debt Collectors

Washington State protects consumers from abusive debt collection practices under the Washington State Collection Agency Act.

Debt collectors cannot harass you, threaten criminal prosecution, or call between the hours of 9 pm and 8 am.

You have the right to request that a debt collector stop calling you. You can do so in writing. If you continue to have problems with a debt collector, you can file a complaint with the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Additional Resources