Four surprising ways to wreck your credit

(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Have you ever checked your credit report and noticed a significant drop in your credit score? Past due bills and outstanding medical costs are usually to blame, but I've got four ways you could wreck your credit score without even knowing!

1) Car rental reservations

Using a debit card for the reservation could require a credit screening, and that can ding your credit score.

Here's a better option: confirm the reservation with your credit card to avoid the unnecessary credit inquiry and pay the final bill with your debit card when you return the vehicle.

2) Library delinquency

It's easy to forget to return books or DVDs you check out from the library.

But the fines can be worse than you'd think.

Most libraries charge a fee per day for late returns, and some will even send your account to the collection agency after too much time.

3) Breached gym membership contracts

Getting into shape could cost you big if you stop using your membership.

It's a must that you properly close the account, or it could cost you in the form of early termination penalties and a damaged credit score.

4) Unpaid traffic citations

Most are aware that ignoring a ticket from law enforcement could put you in jail, but what about parking tickets from local university police, or the downtown street patrol? And failing to pay them could show up as a collection in your credit profile.

So how long will negative information stay on your credit report?

According to MyFICO, it could be as long as seven years!

It depends on the type of negative information. Here's the basic breakdown of how long different types of negative information will remain on your credit report:

  • Late payments: 7 years
  • Bankruptcies: 7 years for completed Chapter 13 bankruptcies and 10 years for Chapter 7 bankruptcies.
  • Foreclosures: 7 years
  • Collections: Generally, about 7 years, depending on the age of the debt being collected.
  • Public Record: Generally 7 years, although unpaid tax liens can remain indefinitely.

But, the older the delinquency, the less impact it has on your score.

Remember, ignoring financial delinquencies can come back to bite you in a big way, and it's usually in the form of a collection account on your credit report.

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