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Can accounts that aren’t in my credit reports affect a FICO® Score?

Though your FICO® Scores capture a pretty accurate picture of your credit history, not every account is recorded. Your good history of rental and utilities payments may not be listed in your credit reports. Even though your landlord, the cable and cell phone providers are pleased with your timely payments, this positive information may not be reported to the consumer reporting agencies. That being said, not paying these bills on time can have a negative effect on your financial health and your FICO® Scores:

  • Reported delinquencies: Even though your good payment history isn’t reported, if you go late on these bills, your landlord or utility department has the right to report your bills as delinquent to the consumer reporting agencies. If the bill continues to go unpaid, a judgment could be obtained against you in small claims court, and/or your account could be turned over to a collection agency. Any of these blemishes can then show up in your credit reports and can be as harmful to your FICO® Scores as the more commonly reported items such as late payments on loans or credit cards.
  • Future referrals: The next time you need to move, your potential landlord is likely going to require a copy of your credit report and a FICO® Score. In addition, he/she may want to contact your current landlord to check if you paid your rent on time. Even if you have a high FICO® Score, a potential landlord could choose another candidate if your current landlord reports that the rent is paid late or incomplete. As always, people who consistently pay their bills on time appear to be less risky to lenders and other types of creditors.
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