When you are having financial difficulties, one of the main concerns you may have is if your creditors are allowed to garnish your bank account and wages. Sadly, in many cases, they can! Struggling to pay the bills is hard enough, but to be worried constantly about having your income restricted is even more challenging. You want to have control of the money you have coming in.

In this article, we will look at the ways that you can protect yourself from creditors who want to get their hands on your wages and bank account.

3 Ways to Protect Your Finances

One of the ways that you can protect your money from creditors is to cancel your direct deposits. These days, most people have their paycheck put into their account automatically, and others who work for themselves also tend to use some form of electronic funds transfer to get paid. If creditors are eying your account, however, perhaps it is time to switch back to receiving paper checks for payment. You can cash the check and then pay your bills with cash or money orders. While this may add a few more steps to your bill paying process, it does allow you to more tightly control the money you have coming in – and pay the bills that are most important for you to pay. However, it is important to point out that this only protects your bank accounts – not your wages should a creditor pursue garnishment legally. 

If your employer insists upon electronic wage deposits and will not give you a paper check, you can obtain a prepaid debit card. The card must be pre-paid and not be connected to a traditional checking or savings account. This will cost you a monthly fee, but collection agencies thus far seem to be unable to garnish this type of card.

Lastly, you can protect yourself from wage garnishment by filing bankruptcy. Although you typically wouldn’t file only for this reason, if you are at the wage garnishment stage – you already have some serious financial issues that need resolution. Therefore, personal bankruptcy is often a viable and positive option. 

When you file for bankruptcy in Florida, the creditor is no longer able to garnish your wages or your bank accounts. In fact, bankruptcy may be the only truly effective solution to the serious financial problem of wage garnishment.  Anything else is really just putting your finger in the hole in the dam – it’s not a realistic comprehensive solution. By enlisting professional help, such as hiring a bankruptcy attorney, you can legally stop the harassment from your creditors – and you may even be able to receive a refund of past garnishments.

The only other way to stop garnishment is typically to pay off the debt.

If you have recently learned that a creditor is attempting to garnish your bank account and/or your wages, don’t wait to see what happens. Call for help from a local bankruptcy attorney who can help you legally, protecting you from bank and wage garnishments and giving you breathing room to begin the fresh financial start you need.

Richard V. Ellis is a Sarasota bankruptcy and family law attorney who has helped thousands of area residents get back on the right track.