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Are These 5 Non-Credit Items Ruining Your Credit Score?

Posted By Miranda Marquit On 08/27/2013 @ 2:30 pm In Credit | 1 Comment

When we think of having a good credit score [3], we often think of paying down debt and making sure that we pay our credit card statements on time.

However, there’s more to maintaining a good credit score than just showing good credit habits. Non-credit situations, if reported to the credit bureaus can turn into a problem that results in a lower credit score. Before you think that your utility payments or your parking tickets don’t matter to your credit rating, think again.

Here are 5 non-credit items that could spell disaster for your credit score:

1. Lost Smartphone

The first thing that could cause you problems is your lost smartphone [4]. When you lose your phone, you probably worry about re-building your contact list and figuring out your calendar. But your credit is probably the last thing on your mind.

Unfortunately, someone with access to your smartphone can ruin your credit with the information on the phone, especially if you have apps that allow for online purchases with your credit card or access to your bank account. If you’re using your smartphone as a wallet [5], your credit is at risk — just as if you lost your “real” wallet [6].

2. Canceled Gym Membership

The way you cancel your gym membership matters. Really. Read the fine print on your contract. Find out how to properly cancel your gym membership. Because if you don’t, and you stop paying, the gym can report that you aren’t paying your membership fees. Your gym can choose to turn your account over to collections, and that will show up on your credit card.

Before you cancel, understand the fine print. For example, my gym requires that I fill out cancelation paperwork in person, and it has to be done 60 days before my cancelation date. You can’t just stop paying your dues and assume they’ll get the idea.

3. Library Fines

When you are late to return a library book, you are charged a fine. Often, you don’t have to pay the fine until you try to check out a library book again. If you don’t go back in, you might never have to pay the fine. But that doesn’t mean that it’s all over.

Some library systems actually turn unpaid fines over to collections after a certain period of time. Once your library fine is turned over to collections, it shows up in your credit report. If you don’t want your book delinquency to cause a credit scoring problem, stay up to date with your library [7].

4. Missed Utility Payments

Even though you aren’t borrowing to make utility payments, it’s still an obligation. If you miss payments or are late on a regular basis, your utility company might decide to report your payment history to a credit reporting agency. And, of course, your utility provider might decide to turn the account over to collections.

5. Unpaid Parking Tickets

Just like many of the other items on the list, unpaid parking or traffic tickets [8] can be sent to collections. The jurisdiction can add up what you owe, and then send the account to a collections if you are taking to long to pay.

The bottom line is that anytime you owe anyone money, there is a chance that it could affect your credit — even if you didn’t originally borrow it.

(Photo: Rebecca [9])

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[1] Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/5-noncredit-items-ruining-credit-score.html

[3] good credit score: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/what-is-a-good-credit-score.html

[4] smartphone: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/free-smart-phone.html

[5] smartphone as a wallet: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/digital-wallets-coming-ready.html

[6] lost your “real” wallet: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/how-to-deal-with-losing-your-wallet-while-traveling.html

[7] your library: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/how-to-build-children-home-library.html

[8] parking or traffic tickets: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/parking-speeding-citation-ticket.html

[9] Rebecca: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12629736@N00/430367107

Thank you for reading!