Consumer debt has grown to an all-time high in California and in other states. The national consumer revolving debt is now around $1,037 trillion. Consumers can easily let credit card debt accumulate on their accounts if they are not paying close attention.

Many credit card holders get into debt trouble by using credit cards to pay for their vacations. Some cards offer rewards programs that allow consumers to use rewards programs in advance before they have earned mileage points. Consumers who don’t read the fine print may be charged penalties and interest if they fail to accumulate the points after their vacation.

Another way that many people accumulate debt for vacation spending is to sign up to pay for a vacation on a site that allows installment payments. Many websites that sell installment plans for vacations charge high interest rates. A high yield savings account offers a much less expensive option for those who want to save for a trip.

Some consumers are not aware that their credit card company can change the terms of their agreement if they are late on a payment. This practice, known as “universal default,” was limited by the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. After 60 days, the creditor can apply a penalty to an entire balance.

Personal bankruptcy is a way for many debtors to get a financial fresh start. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows a debtor to discharge unsecured debt if they qualify and liquidate any non-exempt property. Chapter 13, which allows some debtors to keep more property than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, may be an option for debtors who do not qualify to file under Chapter 7. A bankruptcy lawyer may be able to help debtors by advising them about the different types of bankruptcy options available, preparing paperwork and attending court appearances.