There may come a point when you realize that you have entirely too much credit card debt. If this happens, it’s critical to take immediate action to ensure a better financial future.

There’s nothing simple about paying down credit card debt, but there are steps you can take to help your cause. Here are five to consider:

  • Know what you’re up against: It’s one thing to know you’re facing credit card debt, but another thing entirely to understand the exact amount.
  • Search for a better rate: A lower interest rate can save you money as you carry a balance from month to month. You can negotiate this with your lender or opt for a balance transfer credit card.
  • Put your credit cards away: It’s difficult enough to pay down the credit card debt you already have. You don’t want to add more to this every month.
  • Pay more than the minimum: You can pay off your credit card debt by paying the minimum every month, but it’s going to take much longer. If you can afford to pay more than the minimum, do it.
  • Track your progress: When you see yourself making progress, you’re more likely to stick with your strategy over the long run.

If you’ve experimented with the five steps above but continue to tread water, it may be time to file for bankruptcy. With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, for example, you can eliminate some or all of your credit card debt, thus finding yourself in a better position within several months.

Once you understand the bankruptcy process and your legal rights, you can decide if it’s the right decision for you.