Guide to Canceling a Credit Card Payment

Guide to Canceling a Credit Card Payment

Whether you’ve noticed a potentially fraudulent charge or you simply changed your mind on a purchase, there are a number of reasons why you might want to cancel a credit card payment. Luckily, there are actions you can take to do so, assuming the payment falls within certain parameters.

Read on to learn how to cancel a credit card payment, whether the charge is still pending or if it’s already posted. We’ll also cover how to stop payments on credit cards if you don’t want your scheduled payment to go through.

Can You Cancel a Credit Card Payment?

Per the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), a law that all credit card issuers must follow, there are times when you can withhold a payment. So if you define “cancel” as disputing a charge instead of making the payment, there are instances when it’s acceptable under the law to cancel credit card payment.

You can also request to cancel a credit card payment if you believe it’s the result of fraudulent activity.

Related: How to Cancel a Credit Card

Things to Consider Before You Cancel a Credit Card Payment

Before you go willy-nilly with canceling credit card payments, it’s important to note that the previously mentioned FCBA guidance only applies when you believe a billing error was made. Per the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), examples of billing errors include:

•   Unauthorized charges

•   Charges with the wrong date or amount listed

•   Charges for items or services you didn’t accept or that weren’t delivered as agreed

•   Mathematical errors

•   When the credit card issuer didn’t post your payments or your returns/credits

•   When the credit card issuer didn’t send the bill to the appropriate address, assuming they were provided adequate notice of any change in address

•   Charges where you’ve asked for written proof of a purchase or an explanation of it, along with a claim of an error and a clarification request

Further, you generally must have made the purchase on your credit card in your home state or within 100 miles from your home for the laws on credit card disputes to apply. The charge in question must be for more than $50. Credit card rules stipulate that it’s also necessary to have made an attempt to resolve the issue with the merchant first.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card

Reversing a Credit Card Payment After It Has Been Made

If you’ve already paid the merchant but are unsatisfied with how they’ve responded to your complaint, contact your credit card company to see if you can get the charge reversed. They may call this a chargeback.

Parties that will get involved in the process, besides you, can include your credit card issuer, the merchant from whom you purchased goods or services, the merchant bank, and the credit card network. This is due to how credit card payments work.

Typically, you’ll receive credit on the disputed amount while an investigation takes place. If you win the billing error dispute, this credit card refund will remain permanent. If the case isn’t decided in your favor, then the amount would get added back to your credit card balance.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

How to Cancel a Credit Card Payment After It’s Made

If you’re hoping to cancel credit card payment, here are the general steps you should go through to do so.

Attempt to Resolve the Dispute With the Seller

As an initial step, contact the seller of the item you’re unhappy with and explain the situation. It’s possible, for example, that you received the wrong item or a part may have been defective in what you received. Perhaps they can send you a replacement. Or you can ask the seller to reverse the charges on your credit card, resulting in a credit card refund.

Avoid Paying the Disputed Amount

If you don’t get satisfaction by working with the merchant, you can decide to not pay the disputed amount and have the situation investigated. To make that happen, though, you need to follow specific steps, starting with reaching out to your credit card issuer.

Contact Your Credit Card Issuer

Write and send a letter to your credit card issuer that outlines the billing error and disputes the charge. Your credit card company should have a billing inquiry address listed on its website.

Make sure to send this letter within 60 days of receiving the billing statement with the disputed charge. Keep copies of the letter, and consider sending it via certified mail with a return receipt.

Await Your Credit Card Company’s Decision

Then, you wait. The creditor has up to two billing cycles — a maximum of 90 days — to resolve the dispute. The result may be that you don’t have to pay the disputed amount, or that you do. Or, you may end up needing to pay part of it.

If you have reason to believe that the creditor isn’t following the rules set out by the FCBA, you have the right to sue them. If you were to win, the court may award you damages and order the credit card company to pay your attorney fees.

Understand the Limitations

After you’ve filed a dispute, you aren’t required to pay the charge in question until after the investigation ends and a decision is made. That said, you are required to pay whatever else is owed on this bill — such as a credit card minimum payment or finance charges on the undisputed portion of the bill. And, of course, remember there’s no guarantee that you would win a lawsuit.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit

How to Stop Payments on Credit Cards

Perhaps you want to know how to stop a scheduled payment on a credit card that hasn’t already been made. In this case, you’d need to contact your bank at least three business days before the payment is set to come out. Do so in person, in writing, or over the phone. The financial institution may require a follow-up of this request in writing within 14 days.

Note that, even after the bank stops a payment, you may still be responsible for making the payments to the credit card company. If you have questions about liability, you can email the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) or call toll-free at 1-877-275-3342.

Here are some other general tips to keep in mind for the process of stopping payment on a credit card.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Identify the Credit Card Payment You Want to Cancel

When you contact your bank, make sure you’re clear about which payment you want to cancel. If you only have one automatic payment taken out, this wouldn’t apply.

Check the Restrictions That May Apply

Be clear about whether your stopped payment falls within your FCBA rights. Remember that you’re still liable to pay your credit card bill outside of any disputed charges due to how credit cards work.

Contact the Credit Card Provider to Stop the Pending Payment

If you want to contact your credit card company to stop a pending payment, use the phone number on the back of your card. You can then talk to someone about stopping the payment.

Verify That the Payment Has Been Canceled

Whether you talk to your financial institution or the credit card company, ask for the name of the person you spoke to and a confirmation number. Take good notes and keep them. Later, you’ll want to check back to make sure that the payment was indeed canceled.

What to Do in the Case of the Non-Reversal of Funds

If you aren’t satisfied with how your credit card company is handling a situation, you can submit an online complaint online to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or call them at (855) 411-2372.

Also keep in mind that if your dispute was denied, you can request an explanation from your credit card company. You also have the option to appeal the decision.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

The Takeaway

It is possible to cancel a credit card payment if it falls within your FCBA rights or it’s due to fraudulent activity. There are protections built into the law for when you receive erroneous billing, as well as an established process to follow to address this issue. In the meantime, you’re still liable to make minimum payments outside of the disputed amount.

If you’re looking to apply for a credit card, SoFi offers one that’s designed to help you save and invest as well as to pay down SoFi debt.

FAQ

Can I cancel a pending transaction on my credit card?

Possibly. Contact the merchant and ask them to cancel the transaction. Aim to do so in the day or two before the pending charge is added to your balance. Once it’s posted, then you would need to pursue another route, like filing a dispute or asking for a chargeback.

Does canceling a credit card payment affect your credit score?

If you dispute a charge, it may show up on a credit report, but it won’t directly affect your scores. The FCBA notes that it’s not legal for someone to be denied credit because they disputed a bill. That said, to avoid your credit score getting dinged, you must keep up credit card payments outside of the disputed amount.

How long does it take to cancel a credit card payment?

You should provide at least three days’ notice before a bill is set to be taken out of a bank account. That should provide adequate time for the cancelation of the credit card payment.


Photo credit: iStock/solidcolours??



Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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Does a Background Check for Employment Affect Your Credit Score?

Does a Background Check for Employment Affect Your Credit Score?

You’ve been offered a job and everything is falling nicely into place. Until your employer tells you they need to do a background screening, which will include running a credit check. Your credit score isn’t where you want it to be, and suddenly you’re very concerned. Will they rescind the offer based on your finances?

For positions outside the banking and finance world, your credit report will likely have zero effect on whether you get the position. And background checks for employment don’t affect your credit score.

Read on to learn the common types of background checks employers run and why they may want to look at your creditworthiness.

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*


What Is a Background Check?

Not all job applicants are completely honest during the interview process. For that reason, many companies run some type of background check on prospective employees. A recent survey by the HR Research Institute found that 95% of companies in the U.S. conduct some type of background screening as part of the hiring process.

Employers order background checks not only to verify your identity, but also to confirm you’re telling the truth about certain things, including your past employment, academic credentials, and whether you have a criminal record. (Similarly, banks run credit checks for new checking accounts mainly to verify your identity and rule out identity theft and fraud.)

Pre-employment screening is typically conducted by a professional background check company hired by the employer. These third party firms have access to resources and tools the average employer doesn’t, so they can deliver a more comprehensive report in a shorter amount of time.

Recommended: Does Opening a Checking Account Affect Your Credit Score?

What Are Employers Looking Out For?

Hiring managers are looking to avoid bringing someone onboard who is unqualified or poses any kind of risk to their business. Without any official vetting, the wrong candidate could result in financial damage to the company or make the workplace less safe for other employees.

By doing a background check, companies can reduce property damage, employee theft, and liability and legal costs incurred by hiring unqualified, uncredentialed people. Companies also hope to avoid employees who have exhibited threatening behavior toward coworkers in the past.

When companies order a credit check for employment, it’s to get an idea of whether the candidate might show signs of financial problems.

Having excessive debt and using a lot of your available credit could signal financial hardship and distress.

An employer may see candidates with high outstanding debt or maxed out credit cards as having an increased likelihood of committing theft or fraud.

How a Background Check Affects Your Credit Score

The good news is an employer background credit check won’t affect your credit or FICO score at all. Why? It’s considered a soft inquiry, which pulls most of your financial information for data purposes as opposed to a hard inquiry, which can take points off your score. That’s because hard checks generally take place when a financial institution looks at your score to determine whether or not to issue you a loan or a credit card.

As mentioned earlier, an employer-requested credit report will be modified, listing your credit utilization rate, any past or current bankruptcy, available lines of credit, auto or student loans, and credit card payment history.

The credit report the employer sees won’t show other soft inquiries, so they can’t see if other employers have checked on you.

You, however, can see the soft inquiries if you request your own credit report.

7 Types of Background Checks

There are many different types of background screenings employers use to vet job candidates. The employer may use one or a combination of checks depending on their needs and concerns. Here are seven kinds of background checks a company may use to screen a new hire:

Identity Verification

This type of check is usually one of the first stages of a background check because an employer wants to first know that the person is who they claim to be. An ID verification confirms the candidate’s name, age, address, and Social Security number, to rule out any aliases or stolen identity.

Criminal Screening

A criminal record check enables the employer to make an informed decision about whether or not the employee will pose a threat to their company, clients, and employees. It’s especially important if the person will have access to financial information, security responsibilities, or work alongside vulnerable populations such as the elderly and children.

Criminal background checks typically include county, state, or federal records of any arrests, convictions for felonies and misdemeanors, outstanding arrest warrants, sex offences, incarceration records, and any acquittals, pending, or dismissed charges.

Recommended: What is The Difference Between Transunion and Equifax

Credit Check

It may not be relevant to run a credit check for every potential new hire. An employer may feel it’s necessary for positions involving a security clearance, proximity to money, sensitive customer data, or confidential company information. And they’re not really interested in knowing whether you have a Fair credit score.

A credit check may raise certain red flags that employers want to avoid, especially if it’s a job in the banking or finance sector. Many late payments can indicate you have trouble managing your money, aren’t responsible and organized, or can’t live up to agreements. As mentioned previously, these credit checks will not affect your credit score, nor will the employer be able to see your score.

You may want to see if your state or city allows employer credit checks. Currently, 11 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington), and the District of Columbia have passed laws restricting these types of credit checks. New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia have similar laws.

By the way, credit monitoring services can alert you when someone has run a hard inquiry on your credit.

Motor Vehicle Records

When an employee may be expected to drive company vehicles or transport clients and customers, the employer will want to review the candidate’s driving record to ensure they’re hiring safe and responsible people.

A driving record check will show the person’s driving history, including any past license suspensions or revocations, vehicular crimes, accident record, DUI convictions and any car insurance lapses. The motor vehicle report will also reveal the number of points someone has on their license.

Recommended: What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a Car

Professional License and Education

Some people may exaggerate or even give false professional credentials, claim they’re licensed by an official agency, attended a certain school, or have a specific academic degree, certain training, or certifications, thinking no one will really bother to check. But not so fast. Employers can and, in many cases, do fact check these claims.

Not verifying stated qualifications could lead to hiring a candidate who isn’t professionally qualified for the job. And hiring someone without the skills and education needed can make the company vulnerable to lawsuits and other problems. Education verification checks universities, colleges, vocational schools, and high schools to confirm enrollment, dates of attendance, type of degree obtained, and graduation date, among other details.

With professional licenses, background screening companies generally contact organizations to check if the person is licensed and is a bonafide member. They will make sure the membership is in good standing and hasn’t lapsed or expired.

Fingerprint Check

Along with the criminal check, fingerprint checks are used to reveal any criminal arrests, charges, or details about prior case results. Unlike other screenings, fingerprint checks require the potential employee to actively participate in the process by having their fingerprints scanned.

Fingerprint checks are often required in regulated industries such as financial services; government or criminal justice agencies; jobs requiring security clearance; and healthcare, where a candidate may be responsible for someone who is vulnerable such as a child or the elderly.

E-Verify

E-Verify is a government-run, web-based system through which employers can confirm an individual’s employment eligibility. Verification is based on data taken from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification and compared to records available to the Social Security Administration and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Recommended: Does Net Worth Include Home Equity

How to Prepare for a Background Check by a Potential Employer

First, be honest on your job application and resume, and during the interview process. Bring up anything you think might concern your employer before they do a background check. You can also do a background check on yourself to see if there are any discrepancies or mistakes in your records you can clear up. You can order one from a provider such as GoodHire.com for a minimal fee, or for free at Betterfuture.com.

In terms of your credit report, if you’re concerned an employer may have some issues, it’s a good idea to review yours in case there’s something you need to correct or resolve. You can access your Experian, TransUnion or Equifax credit report for free by going to AnnualCreditReport.com, a federally mandated site.

Recommended: What Is a Tri-merge Credit Report?

What Are Your Legal Rights as a Job Applicant?

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), employers must obtain your written permission before they can run a background check. You have the right to say no, but bear in mind, this could result in your not getting hired.

When employers use a third party to conduct a background check including credit, criminal, and past employment, the background check is covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Under this law, employees have the right to:

•   Be informed of the background check

•   Provide consent for the background check

•   Review information pertaining to their personal and financial information

•   Correct any inaccuracies the report may contain

•   Appeal decisions if the applicant feels the decision was made unfairly

Laws in your city or state may impact whether, or when, employers can ask about and run a background check for your criminal or credit history. Before you fill out an application, check the laws in your state.

Can You Get a Copy of the Background Check?

Yes, the Fair Credit Reporting Act states you have the right to a copy of the background check from the company that prepared it. The name of the agency was likely on the consent form you signed, but if you can’t remember it, ask the employer to supply it. The screening agency should be able to provide you with a complimentary copy in a timely manner.

The Takeaway

Background checks have become a pretty routine part of the hiring process. These screenings can include a simple ID verification, driving or criminal record check, and pulling your credit report. Although it can be worrisome to know your employer’s checking on your credit, they’ll see an overview of your financial picture but not your actual credit score. Since it’s a “soft pull,” your credit score number will not change.

By knowing where you might be most vulnerable, you can prepare yourself by maintaining good records, being honest about your work and education history, and conducting your own background check to clear up any inaccuracies or potential problems.

Getting your finances on track starts with your credit score. Free credit monitoring is available with SoFi’s money tracker app. All you have to do is sign up (it takes just minutes) and start getting insights into your financial health.

SoFi gives you the tools to monitor and impact your credit score.

FAQ

Can a job offer be rescinded due to bad credit?

Yes, an employer can withdraw the job offer for almost any reason, including your credit report. They can’t, however, rescind the offer due to discrimination based on gender, race, or disability. If you think this could be a reason, consider talking to an attorney. Otherwise, you can express your disappointment to the hiring manager and request more details on why they made their decision. This provides an opportunity to get a clear explanation.

What does an employer check show?

Employment background checks are typically performed to see an employee’s job history, if they have a criminal record, and to verify their identity. A screening may also include validating education and/or professional qualifications, driving records, and/or credit history.

Do background checks show up on a credit report?

When a company requests a credit check as part of employment screening, it’s considered a soft inquiry. Depending on the credit bureau, it may or may not appear in your reports. Since soft inquiries aren’t linked to an application for new credit, they’re only visible to you when you view your credit reports.


Photo credit: iStock/MissTuni

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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What’s a Credit Bureau? Examining the Top 3 Bureaus

What’s a Credit Bureau? Examining the Top 3 Bureaus

Credit bureaus are companies that gather and store credit-related information on just about every adult in the United States. There are three major credit bureaus, or credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

The information collected by the credit bureaus is used to make financial decisions that have a major impact on the lives of many Americans. While credit bureaus themselves don’t make lending decisions, lenders rely on the information that credit bureaus provide to judge individuals’ creditworthiness.

What Is a Credit Bureau?

A credit bureau is a company that gathers credit and debt information about consumers. The three major credit bureaus in the U.S. — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — also sell credit reports and credit scores to creditors, such as credit card issuers and mortgage lenders.

Credit bureaus keep a database of historical financial records about consumers. This may include information like the total number of credit or loan accounts you have open, your current account balances, and your payment history.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

How Does a Credit Bureau Work?

Credit bureaus work by detailing and cataloging credit and loan transactions. The bureaus get their information from a variety of sources, including public records and information reported by lenders.

Not all third parties report to each of the three bureaus, which is why you may see different information on credit reports provided by different bureaus. If a lender wants one report that has information from all three major credit bureaus, they’ll need to get a tri-merge credit report.

Why Are Credit Bureaus Important?

Credit bureaus serve an important role in the overall financial markets. While credit bureaus do not make lending decisions themselves, they provide historical financial information on consumers to potential lenders and creditors. This information is used by potential lenders when deciding whether or not to issue you credit, which is why it’s important to regularly review your credit report and dispute a credit report if there’s any incorrect information.

Credit Bureau Regulations

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates the credit bureaus and helps ensure that consumers are protected. One part of the FCRA states that information held by each credit bureau cannot be given to someone without authorization or a valid purpose. The FCRA also has a provision that gives every American the ability to see their credit report for free at least once per year.

The 3 Major Credit Bureaus

As previously mentioned, there are three major credit bureaus in the U.S. While not the only credit credit bureaus in the country, these are the three credit bureaus that dominate the collection and dispersal of information.

Equifax

Equifax was founded in 1899 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. With 13,000 employees in total, Equifax operates in 25 countries.

Experian

Experian traces its roots back to 1826 and is currently a conglomeration of several different companies. Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Experian currently has over 20,000 employees working in 43 countries around the world.

TransUnion

TransUnion was formed in 1968 by the Union Tank Car Company, a railcar leasing operation. Shortly afterward, they acquired the Credit Bureau of Cook County and got into the credit reporting business. TransUnion currently serves over 30 countries on five continents.

What Information Do the Credit Bureaus Monitor?

Generally speaking, credit bureaus monitor credit and debt information. For example, a credit card issuer might share the number of financial accounts you have, when you opened or closed them, your maximum credit line for each account, and/or your payment history. They may also collect information on debt collections and bankruptcies in your financial history.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

How Do Credit Bureaus Use Your Information?

The credit bureaus themselves do not use your information to make any lending or financial decisions. Instead, the credit bureaus simply store and catalog this information. Credit bureaus then sell access to the credit data, allowing lenders and other potential creditors to view information about borrowers for a fee.

When credit card companies report to credit bureaus, the information they provide is added to the credit report for that consumer. This is why credit reports are constantly changing and updating, leading to credit score updates. As such, companies often regularly purchase reports and scores for their current customers.

What Is a Credit Report?

A credit report shares information about how you as a consumer have handled your credit accounts. It contains identifying information about you, such as names you have used, places you have lived, and your birthdate or Social Security Number.

Additionally, a credit report shows information about the different types of credit accounts or credit tradelines that you have or have had. More specifically, this information can include details on payment history, account balances, and credit limits, as well as any derogatory marks, like late payments, civil lawsuits, or bankruptcies.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit

Information Included in a Credit Report

Credit reports typically contain the following:

•   Identifying information: This includes your name, address, phone number, birthday, and Social Security number. You may also find information on your current and previous places of employment.

•   Credit summary: This portion of your credit report details any accounts you have, such as credit cards, mortgages, or other loans. Information will include the date the account was opened, the account balance, the highest balance, the credit limit or loan amount, the payment status, and the payment history.

•   Public records: Your credit report also contains information pulled from public records, such as bankruptcies or debt collections. You’ll also see payment defaults and late payments noted.

•   Credit inquiries: In your credit report, you can also see any party that’s requested access to your credit report in the last two years. This could come from a credit card or loan you applied for.

When reading a credit report, it’s important to make sure that the information on it is valid and accurate. Incorrect or inaccurate information on a credit report can lead to higher interest rates or being denied for credit.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Who Uses Credit Reports?

Credit reports are primarily used by potential lenders or creditors. This might include banks, credit card issuers, or other lenders. Landlords and employers are two other groups that often pull credit reports.

Lenders and creditors use credit reports to assess how creditworthy you are, which may help them determine whether to extend you credit (and at what rate). In the case of landlords and employers, your credit report may help them determine whether to offer housing or an employment opportunity.

What Else Do Credit Bureaus Do?

The main role and responsibility of credit bureaus is to provide credit information to potential lenders and creditors, for a fee. In addition to this main business model, credit bureaus also provide access to credit reports to the consumers themselves. This is to remain in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Some Other Credit Bureaus

In the United States, the big three credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These three companies do also maintain credit information in other countries. However, outside of the U.S., there are also country-specific credit bureaus. For example, there is SCHUFA in Germany and UC in Sweden.

Credit Bureaus vs Credit Rating Agencies

Confused on what credit bureaus vs. credit rating agencies are? While both credit bureaus and credit rating agencies provide information on creditworthiness, there are some key differences to be aware of:

Credit Bureaus

Credit Rating Agencies

Primarily focus on individual consumers Rate corporations
Credit ratings use a 3-digit credit score Credit ratings use letters, such as AAA or BB
The top three credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion The major credit rating agencies are Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

The Takeaway

Credit bureaus gather, maintain, and collate credit information about millions of consumers throughout the United States and across the world. Lenders and potential creditors use this information to make decisions about whether to extend credit, as well as how much and at what rate. In the U.S., the three major credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Any new credit card that you open will appear on your credit report maintained by one or more of these credit bureaus.

FAQ

Do you need all three credit scores from the major credit bureaus?

Because each of the major credit bureaus uses different sources of information, you may have slightly different information on each credit report. Also, each credit bureau uses the information they have differently in calculating an overall credit score. Because of this, some lenders prefer what is called a tri-merge credit report, which is one report that has information from all three major credit bureaus.

How many credit reporting agencies are there?

There are hundreds of credit reporting agencies throughout the world, each with a different focus. In the United States, there are three main credit reporting agencies or credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Which credit bureau is used the most?

Although Experian is the largest credit reporting agency, Equifax and TransUnion are generally considered to be just as reliable and accurate. There is not one credit bureau that is necessarily used the most. Instead, it varies by geographical region and the preference of the lender or creditor asking for the credit report.

Why doesn’t my report show a credit score?

There may be a variety of reasons why your credit report doesn’t show a credit score. One of the most common reasons is that the credit bureau does not have enough financial information about you to make an accurate decision. When your credit information updates, your credit score updates as well.


Photo credit: iStock/damircudic


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.



Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.


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Understanding Taxes on Crypto Credit Card Rewards

Understanding Taxes on Crypto Credit Card Rewards

As crypto credit cards gain popularity, it’s becoming critical to understand how crypto credit card rewards are taxed. In some cases, crypto credit card rewards are considered a rebate on spending and therefore not taxable. But in other cases, the cryptocurrency you earn with a credit card may be taxable.

In either case, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll also pay tax on any gains you make when selling the cryptocurrency you earned as credit card rewards. Keeping good records is important to ensure you accurately pay taxes associated with crypto credit card rewards.

What Is a Crypto Credit Card and How Does it Work?

There are several different kinds of crypto credit cards, and each one might work differently. The most common type of crypto credit card is one that will earn crypto rewards instead of cash back or travel rewards. You might earn cryptocurrency as part of a welcome offer, or on every purchase, or both.

Outside of the involvement of cryptocurrency, crypto credit cards otherwise don’t diverge from how credit cards work usually. Cardholders are extended a line of credit they can borrow against, and they’ll pay interest on balances that carry over from month to month.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

What Are Crypto Credit Card Rewards?

Crypto credit card rewards are a type of credit card reward that you can earn with a crypto credit card. Crypto credit card rewards are similar to cash-back rewards or airline miles that you might earn with a different type of credit card.

With many crypto credit cards, you earn a certain cash percentage with each transaction (e.g. 1.5% back). But instead of getting the actual cash back, the rewards you earn are converted to the applicable cryptocurrency.

Recommended: Can You Buy Cryptocurrency With a Credit Card?

Are Crypto Credit Card Rewards Reported as Income?

The IRS has stated that income generated from any source must be reported on your tax return. That being said, the IRS has also given guidance that most credit card rewards are considered a rebate against spending rather than taxable income.

While most credit card issuers do not issue a 1099 form for credit card rewards, some may. If you receive a 1099 form, you will probably want to report the amount as income, or contact a tax professional for advice.

Are Crypto Credit Card Rewards Taxable?

The IRS has generally given guidance that most credit card rewards are considered a rebate on spending, and therefore not taxable. However, any gain you realize from the cryptocurrency that you earn as crypto credit card rewards is taxable.

If you receive cryptocurrency as a credit card reward, typically your cost basis will be the fair market value of the coins on the date you earn them. That means if and when you sell them, you’ll have to pay tax on the full crypto redemption amount minus your cost basis.

Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Crypto Credit Card Rewards?

Whether or not you have to pay taxes on crypto credit card rewards depends on how you receive your rewards. While the IRS has not ruled definitively on crypto credit card rewards, you may want to consider how the IRS treats non-crypto credit card rewards, like cashback, points or miles.

Generally, one of the credit card rules that the IRS has held is that rewards earned as part of spending are considered a rebate against that spending, and therefore not taxable. However, if you receive a reward (like a sign-up bonus) without having to make any purchase, that may be considered taxable income.

When Are Crypto Rewards Taxed?

In some scenarios, crypto rewards are taxable, while in other cases they are not. If you’re not sure if or how your crypto rewards should be taxed, consult with a tax professional.

When Crypto Are Taxable

If you receive cryptocurrency as part of a sign-up bonus where you did not have to make any purchase to earn that bonus, the cryptocurrency you receive may be considered taxable income.

You also will have to pay capital gains tax when you sell any cryptocurrency, even if you got it as a reward from a crypto credit card. The crypto rewards that you receive from a credit card generally will have a cost basis of the fair market value of the cryptocurrency on the date you receive the rewards. That means that when you sell, you’ll pay tax on any increase in the value.

When Crypto Rewards Are Not Taxable

Generally speaking, any credit card rewards that you receive after making a purchase are considered a rebate against that purchase. That means that in most cases, you won’t need to pay income tax on these rewards. However, you would still need to pay tax on any gains you make when you sell the crypto you earned as a crypto credit card reward.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

Can You Protect Yourself from a Crypto Tax Audit?

While there’s no strategy that will completely eliminate the chance that you’ll be audited, there are a couple things you can do to help minimize your risk:

•   Make sure that you include any income or information that you receive via an official IRS form, like a 1099-MISC form.

•   Keep detailed and accurate records of all of your cryptocurrency transactions. That will minimize your chances of being audited as well as any interest or penalties you might have to pay if you are audited.

How to Know If You Owe Taxes on Crypto Credit Card Rewards

If you receive cryptocurrency as a bonus without a purchase as a credit card requirement, it will almost certainly be classified as taxable income.

Another indicator to know if you owe taxes will be if you receive an official IRS form like a 1099-MISC. Any income on such a form is reported to the IRS, so you’ll want to declare it on your return or indicate with your return why you are not declaring it.

Finally, remember that you will owe tax on any gains you make when selling cryptocurrency, including crypto that you got as a credit card reward.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

The Takeaway

Generally, the IRS has provided guidance that credit card rewards earned as part of a purchase are considered a rebate related to that purchase. Rebates on purchases generally are not considered taxable income. On the other hand, any cryptocurrency that you receive as a bonus without making a purchase in order to earn it may be considered taxable income. Consult your tax professional for advice if you’re not sure whether you should pay taxes on crypto credit card rewards.

If you’re looking for a new credit card, consider the SoFi credit card. You can earn unlimited cash-back rewards, which you can use to invest in fractional shares, redeem for a statement credit, or meet other financial goals you might have, like paying down eligible SoFi debt. Learn more and consider applying for a rewards credit card with SoFi today.

Apply for a SoFi credit card!

FAQ

Are crypto credit rewards payouts or rebates?

Whether or not crypto credit rewards are considered a payout or rebate depends on how you earn them. Generally, the IRS has held that credit card rewards received as a result of spending are considered rebates. On the other hand, if you receive crypto credit rewards or any other type of credit rewards without making a purchase, that may be considered income.

Are crypto credit rewards considered virtual currency?

IRS Notice 2014-21 does mention that cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin) is considered a convertible virtual currency. There are certain tax laws and regulations that deal with virtual currencies, so you’ll want to be aware of that if you receive crypto credit rewards or purchase crypto with a credit card.

What will the IRS do if I do not get audited for my crypto credit card rewards?

The IRS manages tax compliance primarily through taxpayer audits. While the IRS does not publish the criteria it uses to determine who gets audited, there are a few things that you can do to minimize your chances of being audited. But even if you haven’t been audited yet, you may not be out of the woods — the IRS can go back several years in the past. The best thing to do is make sure you keep good records and fully record and report any income that you earn.


Photo credit: iStock/Delmaine Donson



Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.



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What Happens If You Don’t Use Your Credit Card?

What Happens If You Don’t Use Your Credit Card?

There may come a time when you end up not using one of your credit cards anymore. This can happen because you’ve amassed multiple cards and now have one that offers better rewards, or maybe you have a retail card for a store you no longer frequent. Whatever the reason, it’s valid to wonder what happens if you don’t use your credit card.

In many cases, nothing will happen. However, there may be some instances where not using a credit card will carry consequences. That’s why it’s important to know what happens if you don’t use a credit card.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

Is It Bad to Have a Credit Card and Not Use It?

Typically, no, it’s not bad to have a credit card that you don’t use regularly. Not using a credit card for a few months is usually not that big of a deal as long as you keep making any necessary payments on any credit card charges you’ve made. However, there may be some unintended consequences of not using a credit card for a longer period of time.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card

What Happens If You Don’t Use Your Credit Card?

If you’re wondering, ‘Is it bad to not use a credit card?,’ here’s a look at some of the potential consequences.

You Might Overlook Fraudulent Charges and Activities

If you don’t use your credit card, you may end up missing transactions that you otherwise would have noticed on your credit card statement. For instance, if your credit card information were to get stolen and used for unauthorized purchases, you might not spot that activity if you’ve stopped checking your statements. The longer the issue continues, the more damage that can be done, given what a credit card is.

You Might Miss Payments

Another possible consequence of an unused credit card that you’re not checking in on regularly is missed payments. If you need to pay an annual fee for the card, for instance, you could forget that you’ll be charged if you’re not often using the card. Missing a payment can have severe financial consequences, which is why making on-time payments is one of the cardinal credit card rules.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

Your Card Issuer May Close Your Account

If you don’t use a credit card for a long period of time — say, at least a year — your issuer may close your credit card. What’s more, credit card issuers don’t have to give you notice when they’re about to close your credit card, so you may only find out when you go to use it.

Exactly what counts as inactivity and the length of time before an account closes will be up to each credit card issuer. If you’re concerned about your card being closed due to inactivity, contact your issuer to find out when they may close your account.

Your Credit Score May Go Down

If your credit card issuer closes your credit card, your credit score could be negatively affected. This is due to a couple different reasons.

For one, the closure of your account will cause your overall credit limit to go down. This could drive up your credit utilization ratio — the percentage of the overall amount you use across the credit limit of your credit cards — which accounts for 30% of your credit score. The higher this ratio, the lower your score can go because creditors tend to take this as a sign you may have issues with handling debt. If the closed credit card had a high credit limit, it could affect your credit utilization even more.

Secondly, the closure of your credit card could impact the length of your credit history, which accounts for 15% of your credit score. Closing a credit card you’ve had for a while could result in a negative impact on your score, marking another way that not using a credit card can hurt your credit score.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit

You May Lose Your Rewards

Depending on your credit card, any unused rewards will expire after a certain period of time. What’s more, if your issuer ends up closing your credit card due to inactivity, any rewards you’ve earned on your card up to that point could be lost.

How Long Can You Go Without Using a Credit Card?

How long you can go without using a credit card will depend on your issuer. Some may close your credit card after six months of inactivity, whereas others may only close the card after a year of inactivity or more.

Again, it’s important to check your credit card’s terms and conditions to learn more about how a credit card works. Or, you can contact your issuer to find out what can happen if you don’t use your credit card for a while.

Closing a Credit Card You Don’t Use: What to Know

If you have a credit card you no longer want to use, it might make sense to close it. While the previously mentioned consequences may happen — such as losing your rewards and facing impacts to your credit score — it is still possible to close a card.

Before doing so, determine whether your credit card has a high credit limit and consider how long you’ve had the card. Closing a credit card you’ve had for a while could have a negative impact on your score. Same goes for a credit card with a high limit, since it could significantly raise your credit utilization.

If neither of the above are of concern, then think carefully about whether you’ll likely use the card again in the future. Does this card not help you earn rewards, whereas other ones you own do? Or is this a secured credit card and you can now qualify for an unsecured card?

If there’s no potential major financial impact to closing the card, and you’re sure you won’t use it anymore, then you might consider moving forward with closing it.

Does Not Using a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

The effect that not using a credit card will have on your credit score depends on whether the issuer closes your account. If the credit card is still open and you’re otherwise responsible for credit that you do use, like making consistent on-time payments, then your credit score most likely won’t be affected.

Keeping Your Cards Active Without Hurting Your Credit Score

Keeping a credit card active is as simple as using the card every few months for regular, small purchases. You might consider using the card to cover a subscription to a streaming service, for example. Or, you could use it to cover another monthly bill.

If you’re worried about checking in frequently enough, you might set up autopay for that credit card. That way, you’ll ensure you’re paying on time.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

The Takeaway

It’s normal to not use a credit card if you have other ones that are a better fit. But before closing the card or letting it get shut down due to inactivity, consider making small purchases on it to keep it active. Otherwise, you’ll want to determine whether your credit score can handle potentially taking a dip.

Looking for a credit card with perks you won’t want to lose? Consider the SoFi credit card, where you can earn cash-back rewards on all qualifying purchases, and pay no foreign transaction fees. See what other benefits the card offers and apply for a credit card today with SoFi.

Learn more today about the SoFi credit card!

FAQ

Will I be charged if I don’t use my credit card?

If your credit card typically charges an annual fee, that fee will still apply even if you don’t use your credit card.

What happens if I don’t use my credit card for a year?

Some credit card issuers may close your credit card, even without your knowledge, due to inactivity. This may occur if you don’t use your card for a year or more, though the exact length of time will vary depending on the issuer.

Should I get rid of my credit card if I don’t use it?

You can get rid of your credit card, but know that it may affect your credit score. It’s a good idea to research the potential consequences of closing a credit card before actually doing so.

Do unused credit cards affect your credit score?

Unused credit cards may affect your credit score if you or your credit card issuer closes the account. The account closure could result in an increased credit utilization ratio since your overall credit limit will go down across all of your cards. Plus, if the close credit card is one of your oldest ones, it could diminish the length of your credit history, therefore affecting your score.


Photo credit: iStock/kohei_hara


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .



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