Credit cards are the currency of choice in today’s world. Cash may be king in some circles, but plastic is so much easier. And with chip technology making credit card use a bit more secure, there may be even more incentive for people in Illinois to rely on them.

If cards aren’t used wisely they can get consumers into a debt hole hard to get out of. Seeking debt relief may follow. If it is done early enough, it may be achieved with a minimum of anxiety. Consulting an attorney can help identify what options might exist for you.

While there’s no magic age for when credit card issues disappear, several studies show that those in the millennial generation tend to face the greatest challenge. According to experts, younger consumers enter the work world with little basic understanding how credit cards actually work. And they say that leads to some common mistakes, such as:

  • Being unaware of credit limits: Card users often don’t know their ceilings. Unfortunately, they’re rather made of glass and going beyond it can lead to a deep fiscal plunge. Missed payments and a damaged credit scores can result.
  • Interest rate unawareness: One survey by Experian credit rating service says more than half of millennials responding said they didn’t know what rates they were paying on their cards. Many people don’t understand the nuances of the end-of-month payoffs. If balances are paid off, there likely is no interest to pay. But if they’re carried over or you took a cash advance, interest will compound.
  • Credit score damage due to late payments: The ones that do the most damage are those 30 days or more past due. Paying off a bill during the grace period might avoid damage to your credit score, but the bank may charge you a late fee of $27 or more.
  • Credit score ignorance: Consumers can get three free credit reports a year — one from each of the three major bureaus. But 35 percent of those in the Experian survey said they didn’t think checking was important and about 25 percent said they worried checking would hurt their score. Not true.

There’s a lot to be said for getting a legal education about credit card debt, especially if the first consultation is free.