3 Organizations that Can Really Mess Up Your Credit
Credit reports are pretty standard and often what you see isn’t news to you. A missed payment is bad, your home loans are good and the credit cards in between are all accounted for. Unless the reporting agency made an error, your credit report should seem pretty familiar.
Every now and then though, your credit can shock you. Things you thought were out of the credit bureaus league can pop up on a report and do serious damage. A few organizations outside the financial services industry are particularly responsible for credit confusion and disruption.
Make sure you’re familiar with every entity that can report your activity.
The Department of Economic Security
Economic security sounds nice, but that doesn’t mean everyone gets a free ride when dealing with the DES. According to the U.S. Census, 4.8 million parents provide child support every year totaling $41.7 billion in payouts. With that much being paid, you can easily assume that there are a lot of missed payments as well.
While the reasons for owing arrears on child support can vary from a bad court decision, to unemployment, to a “deadbeat” scenario, the consequences can reflect on your credit.
Many parents are shocked to find a negative debt labeled “Child Support” lingering on their credit report. The details are fuzzy and the language can be unclear which often complicates the situation further.
Even parents successfully paying child support and arrears, can feel the crushing blow of a bad credit score. For some, the owed kid cash will even show up as a “personal loan.”
When you see a DES tagged credit issue that you’re confused about, don’t go straight to the department. , contact the credit bureau first to see if they can fix the issue.
The government agency is not known for its swift resolutions, so give the credit bureaus a chance to figure out if the inclusion is a mistake or not before you get the phone call run around.
Government involvement is always going to be a “paved with good intentions” entity. The moves they make should be for our benefit, but the result doesn’t always mirror their objective.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) paired with the Fair Credit Reporting Act has made medical debt difficult to view in a credit report. Doctors and hospitals are not listed by name, they’re coded for privacy reasons.
While this is good for medical security reasons, if you’re someone with ongoing health problems and a mountain of medical debt to sort through, the system can be confusing.
While organizations like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau were created to bring transparency to the financial industry, legislation keeps the credit waters murky.
While the DES and HIPAA may be off your radar as a concern, your own town can turn against your credit. That $25 parking ticket or library book that never made it back to the dropbox can actually be reported to collections agencies and end up on your credit. Even lawsuits for not paying your Home Owners Association fines can end up on your report.
The utilities in your home, the cell phone in your pocket and virtually anything else you’re expected to pay has the potential to be reported.
The organizations that revolve around us have made it pretty clear that nonpayment isn’t tolerated no matter how big or small the amount. You owe what you owe and that can hit your score hard. Don’t suffer expensive interest rates because you are unwilling to return a book. Know who can do some credit damage, and make sure you play by their rules as much as possible.