When you have a bad credit history, getting financial aid can be a little problematic. Therefore, you shouldn’t mess with the credit bureaus as you may have to pay a greater price for skipping any payments or installments.
So if you’re a workout enthusiast and trying to improve your finances, you may ask, do gym memberships affect your credit?
Yes, gym memberships do affect your credit. If you fail to pay your membership fees for several months, the gym can send your account to collections. Though your gym account is non-credit, frequently missed payments will be reported to the credit bureaus.
So the question is, how do you successfully deal with your gym membership and stop it from ruining your credit reports? Let’s take a look at that now, shall we?
How Can a Gym Membership Affect Your Credit Score?
“Paying your gym membership late once or twice won’t hit your credit. It is only consistent, permanent non-payment that can result in the debt becoming a collection, and thus hurting your credit score“, says Shiva Bhaskar, Attorney, Credit Expert, Tier One Credit.
When it’s about your credit report, your gym membership isn’t the biggest threat out there. However, this situation may vary from gym to gym. Every institute has its own rules and regulations in its membership agreement.
Many gyms offer a trouble agreement to lure fitness enthusiasts. They claim that their subscription comes with the highest flexibility; thus, the membership fees won’t burden you. But when you sign a contract with them, they can put a clause related to penalties if you miss your gym membership payments.
So if you sign those papers without reading carefully, the gym owner can go to the debt collection agency for missed payments, which will end up damaging your credit score.
Can a Gym Send My Account to Collections?
“You can get sent to collections by anyone who you owe money to; it doesn’t matter at all how you were paying them. You owed money to the gym, so they sent you to collections, and yes, this destroys your credit,” chimed in another expert.
The gym membership payments are just like any other recurring bill. Meaning when you fail to pay membership fees, they’ll stop giving service to you. For instance, if you miss payments of your electricity bills, you’ll no longer have lights in your house. There’s no significant difference between these two situations.
Some of us may think that non-credit accounts such as local gym membership or utility bills won’t matter on our credit report. And that’s not incorrect information. These payments aren’t reported to the three major credit bureaus. So if you miss two or three monthly payments, they’re less likely to ruin the credit score.
When you have passed several months with unpaid membership fees in your sleeves, the gym couldn’t convince you to pay the money; the owners can go to a debt collector. But before taking this step, the fitness institute will inform you about their actions.
If your checking account goes to the collection agency, they will retract the late payments from you. Now you may think, why the debt collections agency will do that?
Well, the equation is pretty simple. Your fitness institute will hire debt collectors to get back their unpaid gym membership fees.
And if you owe $200 to the gym, the collection agency will take a percentage from that amount after getting it back from you. This way, both parties will get their payments and live happily ever after.
How Will a Collection Account Ruin Your Credit Score?
A collection account is a major negative mark on your credit rating; there’s no doubt about that. Every collection agency has its way of taking money from the debtors.
And one of the most common tricks they use is to put a mark on your credit report. This indication of missed payments will affect your credit score undoubtedly.
When a credit rating agency goes through your credit report, they’ll check your previous payment records. If you didn’t miss any installments or payments, your report would be considered a good one.
Therefore, your collection account will surely be a black spot on your payment history, which will end up ruining your credit rating.
It doesn’t matter if you were paying with your credit or debit card; missing any monthly payments will mean that you’re not eligible for taking any loans or financial aid.
Hence, even if the gym membership sounds like an innocent expenditure, don’t get a subscription without enough money in your bank account. Just one collection account can ruin your image in front of the credit bureaus, and you don’t want that.
So does the gym membership ruin your credit report? Of course, it does when you mess with the payment schedules.
How Do I Keep My Gym Membership from Destroying my Credit Scores?
As you can see, your gym membership is capable enough to put your financial situation in jeopardy. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll stop going to the gym and put a stop to your fitness goal.
So to help you with the whole situation, we’re about to share some tips that you can use if you want to avoid collections agencies and build the physique of your dream at the same time.
Read Your Contact Attentively
In most cases, the gym-goer falls into payment-related trouble because they haven’t read the conditions properly. So before signing up for a gym membership, make sure you can deal with all their rules and are capable enough to handle the issues connected to the late payment.
If you don’t understand any clause, ask the authority for explanations. And also, do the queries below for a better experience.
- How long am I bound to the contract?
- What will happen if I cancel my gym membership contract early?
- Will I have to pay penalties for cancelation?
- What will happen if I stop paying?
- Can I put my gym account on hold?
Keep a Copy of the Documents
After signing the contract, don’t leave the gym right away. To protect yourself from future troubles, always keep a copy of the membership papers. In this way, you’ll have accurate information regarding your membership.
Get Everything in Writing
If you make any changes to your account, such as adding an emergency contact or putting your gym membership on hold, get everything in writing. Otherwise, the gyms can deny facts in the future as there’s no solid proof.
Know Your Rights
Just because you’ve signed legal papers doesn’t mean that you cannot get out of any situation on a technicality. If you get a collection account, you have the right to get notified by the collection agency to repay your debt. In this way, you can get rid of this issue without ruining your credit report.
If I Cancel Gym Membership, Will It Affect My Credit Score?
No, if you cancel your gym membership, it won’t impact your credit report. But you need to ensure that you’ve paid all the payments and cut off the ties completely.
Gyms will always try to lure you with some attractive offers when you’re about to cancel your subscription. Moreover, hidden clauses could keep you obliged to the contract even if you signed off. So to cancel your gym membership successfully, follow the tips below.
Get the Cancelation in Writing
Always get the confirmation of your canceled gym membership in writing. Or else, the institute may claim that you still have an ongoing subscription and you’re a debtor to them. And that’s not good news for your credit report.
Therefore, get the proof of your cancelation in writing to maintain a good reputation in front of the credit bureau.
Send a Notarized Letter
Suppose the gym isn’t giving you the confirmation of cancelation in writing. In that case, you can send a notarized letter to the authority. And make sure you’re sending the documents using a service that will get their signature when they receive the letter.
In this way, you’ll have solid proof of your cancelation, and you can avoid any trouble that threatens your credit score.
Have a Discussion with the Gym Authority
For ending your gym membership, you can talk to the authority in person. Just ask for the information on how to cancel the subscription and take action according to that. It will save you all the hassle, and there’ll be no issue with the unpaid fees whatsoever.
The Bottom Line
So, do gym memberships affect your credit score? Well, you have your answers now. As your gym membership is a non-credit account, paying the bills religiously or missing some installments will not build credit or badly damage your credit score.
But not paying the membership for several months will leave spots on your financial record, so be careful about that.
If you can’t handle the subscription, end your deal, and most importantly, read the contract line by line. Just follow this article as your ultimate guide, and the rest of the experience will be smooth like butter.