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Unpaid speeding tickets can ding your credit

If you are angered over a traffic citation, your initial inclination might be to totally ignore it. But ignoring traffic citations, like speeding tickets, won't make them, or the fines that accompany them, go away. In fact, if you fail to pay your fines, it could have an effect on your credit. Suddenly what appeared to be an inconvenient little fine could take a toll on your overall financial life.

When you are issued a speeding ticket or other traffic citation in South Carolina, it is treated like any other bill. You must pay it just like you would your electric or water bill. If you do not pay your traffic fines on time, they become debt and will be reflected on your credit report.

Often times, the municipality that issued the ticket can send it to collections like other creditors would. All this information is reported to the top three credit bureaus, which affects what goes on your credit report. With the new debt on your credit report, it will begin to drive down your credit score. This is especially dangerous because your credit score and report are determining factors in whether you can get an important loan or are eligible for other forms of borrowing.

When any debt is sent to collections, it can severely drag down your credit score. But, this opens a whole other can of worms -- dealing with debt collectors. Failing to pay off your traffic tickets would subject you to relentless phones calls and harassment by the debt collection companies.

These debt collectors could also subject you to a lawsuit if you do not pay the fines. These legal costs can be even more financially taxing. All things considered, it may be frustrating, but paying your speeding tickets and other traffic citations are simply in your best interest.

If the reason why you do not want to pay your ticket is because you feel that you were wrongly given the citation, it is better to contact an attorney to assist you in court than to ignore the ticket all together.

Source: CreditCardGuide.com, "Unpaid speeding tickets can crash your credit," Erica Sandberg, Jan. 17, 2012

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