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Most New York drivers probably do not think about their credit score when they think about traffic tickets. However, should a ticket go unpaid, in addition to any legal repercussions that may result, a driver’s credit score may also be adversely impacted. If a ticket goes unpaid, the municipality that issued it may then turn the ticket over to a collection agency. Considering that in 2011 New York City was owed $680 million dollars in unpaid fines according to the Dough Roller, the city certainly has motivation to pursue those tickets. If the fine goes unpaid even after the collection agency attempts to recover it, the agency may report it the credit bureaus.

The impact that can have on a person’s credit score is major, ranging from a 50 to 125 points. It probably does not occur to most people that they could be turned down for a mortgage or car loan because of an unpaid speeding ticket.

For lucky drivers in 31 states, however, this may no longer be an issue. Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, the three main credit reporting agencies in the United States, reached an agreement to eliminate debts from traffic or parking tickets on a person’s credit report according TheNewspaper. Debts that are reported to the credit agencies should be unpaid debts that a consumer willingly takes on. Unpaid tickets or fines do not fit into that category.

Unfortunately, New York was not one of these states. While this practice may eventually become the standard in all 50 states, in the meantime drivers in New York should remain aware of the consequences that an unpaid ticket can have on their credit score.

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