City Fines & Fees Affect Credit

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Cities across the US are trying to collect on unpaid tickets, fines, and fees. Bryan and College Station are no different. Many people are shrugging those fines off, but what you may not know is that can really hurt your credit score.

Bryan and College Station residents who choose to do the right thing and pay their traffic tickets are saving themselves a lot of headache in the future.

That's because both cities turn over unpaid fines and fees to a collection agency and that could lower your credit rating. Unpaid tickets add up to thousands of dollars in lost revenue for the cities. Ambulance services account for even more.

" This year we anticipate invoicing about $2 million for EMS services and of that $2 million we will turn over for collection about 45 percent," said Kathy Davidson, Chief Financial Officer for Bryan.

The city of College Station faces some of the same problems and says lost revenue can effect the services the city is able to provide.

The amount you owe counts for 30 percent of your credit score. But a nonpayment of $40 is just as bad as a non payment of $4,000.

" It may lower you credit score a whole 100 points even though it's a small amount," said Financial advisor Ernie Wright. He says you need to know exactly what's on your credit report.

" It makes a big difference in your ability to obtain a loan or get a credit card or get a good interest rate on a car loan or a home mortgage," said Wright.

There is a bit of good news for Bryan/College Station residents. In some cities libraries are desperate to collect over due library fines and turning people in to collection agencies. But not here, librarians say they would just rather get their books back.

Not returning movie rentals can also affect your credit. For advice on how to get items removed from your credit file, you can go to the featured links page.