What does it mean when a debt is "charged off"?

You know you've missed some payments on a credit card bill. You pull your credit to check, then see it says it is "charged off."  Does that mean you're off the hook?  Unfortunately, it doesn't.  "Charged off" just means that the creditor has adjusted their books to show that your debt is no longer an asset to them; it's a loss. In other words, there's not a good chance you'll actually pay them back.  For credit card companies, this often happens when you've missed 6 months worth of payments. 

But don't be fooled by "charged off"--you absolutely still owe the money to the creditor.  They can still sue you or try other means to collect.