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Common habits that can hurt your credit score, part one

Most of our Atlanta blog readers know how to protect and keep their credit scores high: pay credit card and loan bills on time, don't take out a lot of unnecessary credit and basically just act responsibly in all matters that are money-related.

Also, it is common knowledge that filing for bankruptcy or going through the foreclosure process can hurt your credit score. But did you know that there are several common habits, ranging from racking up library late fees and parking tickets to not filling out a moving form, that can significantly damage your credit score?

It is hard to imagine that a minimal fee for failing to return a library book on time can damage your credit score. However, as libraries have faced massive budget cuts, they have been forced to take extreme measures to make ends meet. One such measure is sending library patrons to collection agencies for their failure to pay late fees.

Similarly, parking and speeding tickets are considered debts to the city and county governments, and as such, unpaid fees are likely to be sent to collection agencies. This can be extremely damaging to your credit score.

Although many of us now do our banking and bill-paying online, it is important to continue to receive all financial-related mail so that you don't miss any bills or financial notices that may be sent via mail. Therefore, it is essential that you always change your address when you move to ensure that you receive and can take action on any important mail.

We will examine a few additional credit-damaging habits in a second blog post later this week.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "7 weird ways to hurt your credit score," Jim Wang, June 11, 2012