Surprising Things That Can Affect Your Credit Score

When you think about what affects your credit score, the usual suspects like payment history and debt levels probably come to mind. But did you know there are a bunch of surprising factors that can also play a significant role? Check out these lesser-known things that might be influencing your credit score right now!

Library Late Fees

Remember that book you borrowed from the library and returned late? Yes, that one. If your library fines went unpaid long enough, they could’ve been reported to a collection agency. Once that happens, your credit score might feel the hit. It’s a rare occurrence but entirely possible.

Rent Payments

Unfortunately, paying your rent on time doesn’t usually boost your credit score. However, if you miss rent payments and your landlord sends the overdue amount to a collection agency, it could negatively impact your credit score. Recently, some credit reporting agencies have started to include rent payments in credit scores, so paying on time might finally start to pay off.

Gym Memberships

Have you canceled that gym membership? If there was a misunderstanding with your contract or final payment, and you didn’t resolve it, the gym might have sent the amount owed to collections. This is a common issue for many, especially with those contracts that are tough to break.

Parking Tickets

Unpaid parking tickets are more than just a nuisance. If they go unpaid for too long, the city might send the debt to collections, which definitely will ding your credit score. Consider this the next time you think about dodging that parking fine!

Utility Bills

Utilities don’t usually report to credit bureaus unless they’re in collections. This means that forgetting about an old utility bill from an address you moved away from can come back to haunt your credit score if it goes to collections. Always double-check your final statements!

Checking Account Overdrafts

While your bank account itself isn’t typically reported to credit bureaus, if you have an overdraft that becomes a debt and is sold to collections, it will impact your credit score. Keeping an eye on your account balance can save you from a credit decrease.

Cell Phone Contracts

Breaking a cell phone contract or failing to pay your bill can hurt your credit score if your provider decides to take action against you. This is particularly important to consider when you’re thinking of switching providers.


That magazine subscription you forgot to cancel before the trial period ended might end up costing you in more ways than one. If the subscription fees pile up and go to collections, your credit score might take a hit.

Medical Bills

Medical expenses can be high and unexpected. If they go unpaid and end up in collections, they can negatively affect your credit score. Always double-check your medical bills and work out payment plans if necessary.

Tax Liens

Previously, unpaid taxes that led to a tax lien could significantly damage your credit score. Although changes in credit reporting rules have lessened the impact, unresolved tax issues can still cause major headaches.

Legal Judgments

If you’ve been involved in a legal battle and lose a judgment that you then fail to pay, it can be reported to the credit bureaus. Ensuring these are settled is crucial for maintaining your credit health.

Rental Equipment

Rented a carpet cleaner or a power tool? If you forget to return it, and it gets reported as a loss to a collection agency, your credit could suffer. Always keep track of rental agreements and return dates.

Traffic Fines

Like parking tickets, unpaid traffic fines can end up in collections and impact your credit score. It’s best to handle them promptly before they escalate.

Error in Your Credit Report

Credit report errors can happen more frequently than you think. Regularly checking your credit report for inaccuracies can help you maintain an accurate score.

Water Bills

Similar to utility bills, unpaid water bills can also be sent to collections and reflect negatively on your credit report. Always ensure these bills are paid, even after moving out.

Divorce Decrees

Not following the financial agreements set in a divorce decree, such as who pays for what debt, can negatively impact your credit score if any disagreements end up in court or collections. It’s essential to clear these promptly and legally.

Posted in: Personal Finance

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