What Happens With Credit Card Debt If You Move Abroad?

Written by r. sinclair
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What Happens With Credit Card Debt If You Move Abroad?
Moving abroad will not erase your credit card debt. (us passport image by Albert Lozano from Fotolia.com)

When you move abroad, continue paying your credit card bills. Your debt will not disappear just because your address changes. Credit card companies will continue to pursue you. While you can get away with not paying the debt, it will ruin your credit history and make it difficult to return to the United States.

Credit Card Debt Remains

If you are thinking of moving abroad, leaving your credit card debt behind, think again. It is not a good idea to default on your debt. You may not plan to return to the U.S. anytime soon, but you never know. If you do move back, the consequences of ignoring your bills can make it very difficult to resume your life in the U.S. You will have destroyed your credit history. You may have a hard time renting an apartment, or even getting a job.


The credit card company can take you to court if you do not pay your debt. Whether they will depends largely on where you are living at the time. If you are still in the U.S., the card issuer can file a claim in your state. The case can progress even if you move away. However, if you already live abroad, the company would have to sue you in another country. Unless you owe a significant amount, chances are they will not do that. It's too much of a hassle for the company to chase you over a £6,500 debt.

Credit Score

If you default on your debt, your credit score will plummet. This will make it impossible for you to get a mortgage, a loan or a credit card. Many landlords and employers run credit checks on potential tenants and employees. A low credit score will haunt you for years to come.

Starting Over Abroad

When you move abroad, you will have to start building a credit history from scratch. It's unlikely that creditors will request to see your American credit report. However, without an established credit history, you may not be able to open a bank account or get a credit card. Many everyday transactions require you to have a bank account or a credit card. Not having one will exclude you from the financial mainstream.

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