Video: the road to wage garnishment


Garnishment is complex — the rules vary by state, your employment status and your income. But it all starts with a failure to pay bills on time

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

Check out Ted’s new motorbike. He had to borrow to get it, but that’s one sweet ride.

Ted doesn’t know it, but he’s on the road to garnishment. He’s so busy learning tricks he doesn’t pay the bills for his bike. Not even the past due notices.

After 180 days, the lender sends the debt to collections. Ted? He’s too busy to read about court dates.

He doesn’t realize the road he’s on until he swipes his debit card to buy gas and there’s no money in his account. When he didn’t show for his court date, a judge entered a garnishment order.

A garnishment order lets lenders take money until a debt is satisfied. They can go to Ted’s employer and have money deducted from his pay. Embarrassing. They can go to his bank and drain his savings and checking accounts, too.

The amount garnished is typically up to 25 percent of disposable income.

Garnishment is complex — the rules vary by state, your employment status and your income.

Some types of income, such as Social Security, are protected from garnishment. The rules are gentler for some types of debt, such as student loans, and tougher for others, like child support.

All very tricky. But don’t talk to Ted about tricks. He’s not doing them anymore. His bike? Sold so he could get out from under garnishment sooner. Not so sweet.

See related:Steps to contest, end wage garnishment, Debt lingers on credit report even after garnishment, repayment, What benefits are exempt from garnishment?

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

What’s up next?

In Videos

Video: 5 credit card questions to ask before traveling overseas

Before you hit the road, let your card issuer know where and when you’ll be traveling, so it doesn’t mistake those overseas charges with fraudulent activity. Then, start asking some questions

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report
Cash Back

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more