When you look at your credit card bill, there are a lot of different numbers: The total you owe, the total since the last statement, and the minimum amount you need to pay, just to name a few. This minimum amount could be far, far lower than the total you have to pay off eventually. At first this may come as a relief—that’s all you have to pay?—but you do need to ask yourself if making just that minimum payment is enough.

In many cases, it’s not.

The thing to remember is that you have to pay interest on what you owe. A lot of times, that minimum payment only takes care of the interest, and it may not even do that.

For example, you may owe $4,000 and have a minimum monthly payment of $100. Perhaps you have to pay 18 percent in interest. That means your interest alone will be $720 on the $4,000 that you owe. Clearly, paying the $100 isn’t going to get you anywhere near that, so you’d end up owing around $4,620 the next month.

This does not even take into account the fact that you may want to use the card to buy anything else. Even if you didn’t charge anything at all—an uncommon thing for many people—your total debt would climb.

As you can see, making the minimum payment alone can just lead to serious debt. If you did not understand how this works and you accidentally got in over your head, thinking you were paying the proper amount, it could be time to look into your bankruptcy options in Arizona.

Source: Investopedia, “Expert Tips For Cutting Credit Card Debt,” Gregory Bresiger, accessed Oct. 30, 2015