Institute of Consumer
Financial Education
Institute of Consumer
Financial Education

Top 10 Reasons People Cite For Their Bad Credit

Millions of Americans May Have Credit File Problems

  1. Lost job or income unexpectedly
  2. Separation or Divorce
  3. Co-signed for another
  4. Has been bankrupt before
  5. Maxed out on credit cards
  6. Illness or other accidental disability
  7. Tax liens or judgments
  8. Has bounced checks in past
  9. Victim of crime or fraud
  10. Other

Top 10 Reasons People Cite For Their Credit File Problems

  1. Late or missed payments
  2. Once delinquent items, now paid, not removed
  3. Separation and/or divorce
  4. Bankruptcy
  5. Collection and/or charge-offs
  6. Other family members with same/similar name
  7. All credit cards leases or loans are not listed
  8. Incorrect information in file
  9. Too many credit inquiries
  10. Victim of fraud

Up to one third of all calls received on the San Diego based Institute of Consumer Financial Education's credit file repair and correction help line, (619)-239-1401 7AM-5PM PST) involved individuals whose credit rating was damaged or whose credit files had problems they said were caused by a former spouse after a divorce or separation agreement.

The Institute of Consumer Financial Education's informal survey of callers over a 12 month period from April 2001 through April 2003, revealed the number one reason cited by consumers for their credit file problems was late or missed payments, followed by paid delinquent items not being removed - they don't have to be removed, according to the law, just noted that it was paid and third, problems caused by a failed agreement made with their former spouses.

The number of people calling in about credit or credit file problems involving a divorce agreement continues to grow. In most instances, these individuals allowed their former spouse to "take over" responsibility for payment of jointly held debts and or future credit purchases as a part of the separation or divorce agreement - which is a mistake. The reason is that your creditors are not a part of the divorce agreement and in most instances probably would not approve of the arrangement anyway.