Most consumers are so busy looking out for the “big” mistakes that can cause credit problems, like paying their mortgage late, going into deep credit card debt or, heaven forbid, bankruptcy, that they completely overlook “small” but equally damaging problems that can pop up every day (or at least once in a while). Today’s brief yet informative blog will advise you about some of these small but still powerfully damaging credit problems so that you can avoid them yourself. Enjoy.
Forgetting to pay your Toll Bill. In many states where there are tolls on the highway and a person arrives at them without any cash in their pocket they will be given a receipt and up to two weeks to pay what is usually only a couple of dollars. In many cases however those little receipts get thrown away, lost or otherwise forgotten about. Until, of course, the consumer gets a letter in the mail saying that now, instead of a dollar or two, they have a $25 fine to pay. Always remember to pay your toll bills right away and, even better, if you’re going to be traveling on a highway that has tolls make sure that you always have cash on hand because they don’t take credit cards.
Unpaid Library Late Fees. While it’s unusual for a library to report to a credit agency, an increasing number of them are turning over their unpaid balances to collection agencies in a bid to get back the millions of dollars in late fees that they are accruing every year. Of course once a collection agency gets hold of it, they can turn to the major credit reporting agencies in an effort to coerce you to pay. In New York city, for example, the Public Library’s policy states that borrowers who have fines of $50 or more will be reported to a collection agency and will also face a nonnegotiable collection fee. So do yourself a favor and either return as books on time or, if you have fines, pay them before they get out of hand.
Forgetting to pay your Storage Bill. In the United States there are almost 50,000 self-storage facilities, further proof that Americans have waaaaay too much stuff. If you decide that the junk you have in storage isn’t worth paying for anymore and just stop paying for your storage unit, that doesn’t exactly mean that the owner of the storage facility will stop charging you for it, and if your bill gets too high, not contact a collection agency to try and get paid. If that happens not only will you no longer have all of your stuff but you’ll also be dealing with a collection agency (!!) And the possibility that your credit report will take a hit. Better to put that stuff on Craigslist.org, sell it and use the money to pay your storage bill.
Forgetting to close the overdraft line of credit associated with a checking account. Many people don’t realize that when they close a bank account they also have to close the overdraft credit line that they had with their checking account (if they had one). Usually when you close any type of account you’ll get a final bill with any payments that remain. Make sure you pay those fees and keep a record of having done so. The same thing goes with credit cards and any other account where there might have been ongoing fees of any kind.
Skimping on Insurance when Renting a Car. Yes, it adds about 20% to your rental car cost but, if you get into an accident (even if it’s not your fault) and you don’t have this extra insurance, the cost to you in terms of actual dollars, fees and credit report problems will be quite steep. Also, if you’re having credit problems you should know that many rental car companies actually check your credit when you rent a car using a debit card. These “checks” can actually ding your credit as well so, if possible, the next time you rent a car trying use a credit card instead.
Hopefully this blog has gotten into your hot little hands before you’ve actually had one of the problems talked about above. They may seem small and insignificant but, if you’re trying to get a loan or repair your credit, they can really be a major headache. If you need any help with credit repair or you have any questions about personal finance, please let us know and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible with help and advice.