This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lexington Law, all thoughts and opinions are those of Army Wife 101.
Bad credit can happen to the best of us.
In college, I received my first credit card with a $20k limit, and an AWESOME 24.99% APR (insert sarcastic tone). Who on earth would issue that to a young kid with a part-time job at a grocery store? Ah, but I digress…
I charged my card with life’s necessities such as school books, grocery bills, flights home to my parents, and automotive repairs. I didn’t buy anything outlandish, and always paid on time.
Much to my delight, in my 30s, I FINALLY paid off the card and kept a $0 balance. I had excellent credit and was no longer in debt. I decided not to cut up the card because I liked having one “just in case.” So, the credit card remained in my wallet, even after my military family moved to Germany.
A PCS Contributed To My Credit “Oops”
One day while out, I noticed that our car needed gas, so I grabbed our rations card and waited in line at the gas station on base. When it was finally my turn at the pump, I opened my wallet to find that I had no cash and I had accidentally left my debit card at the house when making an online purchase. I was saved though — there was that dusty old credit card that I never ever used anymore. I filled up with $30 in gas, took my kids inside to pay with my “retired” card, and then we left. I thought nothing of it.
Unfortunately, it was a case of out of sight, out of mind.
Because I didn’t use this card anymore, I didn’t update the mailing address when I PCS’d to our OCONUS duty station. So guess what happened? Apparently they sent paper bill after bill, and even though I was previously an excellent customer — I paid off $13k in credit debt on time — a miniscule $30 got me.
My card was closed, I was in default, and my score was affected. Unfortunately, it was that easy for my credit to take a hit. I made phone calls to the customer service call center in the States, being mindful of the time difference, but to no avail. A military move and a $30 charge tarnished my credit.
What Can Hurt Your Credit?
There are a number of factors that can affect your credit, and it can be especially prevalent while in the military:
- Moving is expensive. We do it on average of every three years, and have to make purchases with every new duty station.
- Deployment can be a challenge. It’s all too easy to forget about a bill here or there while outside of the country for months, and it doesn’t take much to default.
- Pay glitches. Although service members receive regular pay, sometimes there are glitches in the system that results in corrections that leave you with reduced pay or no pay for a period (or two).
- Student debt. Sometimes the mounting expenses between achieving an education, paying back loans, mixed with every day costs and credit debt, can mean missed payments. Ouch.
Lexington Law Can Help Military Families
It’s a hard pill to swallow when you realize that your or your spouse’s choice to serve and sacrifice for our country, has led to circumstances that negatively affect your credit. Lexington Law wants to help repair your credit and offers a free consultation.
Lexington Law recognizes that federal laws are in place to protect our service members during times of duty. They are aware that credit reporting may not always reflect those protections, because many lenders and retailers fail to honor consumer protections afforded to military members.
Supervising attorney Cody Johnson shares,”Military members have unique circumstances in their life that require unique representation, and so we provide that unique representation to them by drafting letters that are more catered to their needs.”
If your credit score has been affected while in the military, Lexington Law wants to help you with:
- FREE personalized credit consultation
- FREE access to your TransUnion report summary
- FREE credit report review and recommended solutions
Lexington Law Firm has helped hundreds of thousands of clients, including service members, take action and repair their credit, since being founded in 1991.To learn how you can take charge of your finances and future by repairing your credit score with Lexington Law, please click here.
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