Automatic payments are either beneficial or risky, depending on a person’s financial habits. For some Illinois consumers, signing up for auto pay is a great way to never miss a due date on a bill. On the other hand, Illinois consumers Illinois residents who plan their budgets poorly often run into trouble with automatic payments. Unfortunately, a surprisingly high percentage of Illinois consumers accidentally sign up for auto pay on a regular basis. This is often problematic even for responsible bill payers because it’s hard to plan a budget around a payment you don’t know you’re making. In fact, if the automatic payment is large enough, it can lead to credit score damage down the road.
How Illinois Consumers Accidentally Sign Up for Auto Pay
Any time you provide your bank account information or credit card details while signing up for a service with recurring payments in Illinois, you might unknowingly agree to auto pay. This is, of course, when it is important to read the details of a contract before signing. However, it’s clear that many consumers overlook the fine print in the contracts to which they commit. This is how one out of every three Americans have unknowingly signed up for automatic payments at some point in their lives.
Popular subscription services offered online have pulled a lot of Illinois consumers into auto pay commitments. This is fine if you know what you’re getting into, but shoppers frequently report that they thought they were making a one-time purchase while unknowingly subscribing to a monthly or bi-monthly service. Not surprisingly, they are shocked when the next month rolls around and their cards are charged for a purchase they didn’t realize they were making. Often, too, these subscription services are notoriously difficult to cancel.
Other Illinois consumers Illinois consumers get roped into auto pay by free trials. They sign up to try a service at no charge for 30 days or so, and then find that they’re paying for the service after the trial period ends. Many consumers who sign up for free trials simply forget to cancel the service in time. When this happens, something called a “negative option” applies. This means that, according to the free trial terms and conditions, the seller can assume that the buyer agrees to the continuation of the service because they’ve taken no action to end it. Many services that start with a free trial period are, like most subscription services, fairly difficult to escape.
How Accidental Auto Pay Leads Some Illinois Consumers to Credit Score Damage
For Illinois consumers who live paycheck to paycheck, accidentally signing up for auto pay almost always leads to problems. These unlucky consumers might not have enough money in their accounts to cover the “surprise” payment. Then, those with overdraft protection overdraft their accounts. This causes them to incur fees, making it more difficult to pay other bills.
When Illinois consumers Illinois consumers miss payments, their credit scores drop. Obviously, consumers who are already struggling financially don’t need the added stress of bad credit. Therefore, anyone who signs up for anything should avoid accidentally signing up for auto pay. To make this a little easier, here are three rules to keep in mind:
- Read your contracts carefully when you sign up for gym membership, cell phone service, or anything that involves monthly payments.
- Only sign up for online subscription services if you’re willing to make a long-term commitment that comfortably fits your budget.
- Avoid signing up for free trials if you’re asked to provide payment information.
Illinois consumers can protect their credit scores in other ways too. For example, paying all bills on time is the first step toward building a good credit score. It’s also a good idea to keep credit card balances low, and to always have money set aside for emergency expenses. Finally, all Illinois consumers should regularly check their credit reports. By monitoring your credit, you can catch identity theft early and look for errors and mistakes that might unnecessarily bring down your credit score.
How Credit Repair Lawyers of America can Help Illinois Consumers with Mistakes and Errors on their Credit Reports
Illinois consumers who find inaccuracies on their credit reports don’t have to handle the dispute process on their own. By contacting Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Illinois, you can get an experienced credit lawyer to get you clean credit reports quickly and for FREE.
Don’t let errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in settled cases. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (404) 591-6680 or sending him a message through our contact page.