If you have customers that owe you money and are past due in their payments to you, you may want to consider reporting the delinquency to credit bureau agencies. The three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union maintain credit file reports on most American consumers. Therefore, by including bad debts owed to you or your company, you may have some additional leverage in convincing the customer to pay; however, notifying the credit reporting agencies about the bad debts requires that certain steps be taken.
Credit Collection Agencies
If you have only a few debts that you need to have collected or want reported on someone's credit report, you may want to consider simply using a collection agency. While collection agencies do charge a fee or percentage of the debt to be collected, almost all collection agencies are members of the three credit reporting bureaus. Therefore, the bad debt will generally be listed as a collection account on the customer’s personal credit report. In addition to collection efforts by collection agencies by the agencies, the appearance of the negative mark on a person’s credit report may serve as motivation to help convince the customer to pay the debt.
Credit Reporting Service Companies
There are companies that will help you establish accounts with the three credit bureau agencies. These types of companies are known as credit reporting service companies also provide a number of other services related to credit reporting. Most national credit bureaus require that information be submitted in certain formats, and these companies can help you in formatting the information to be submitted to the bureaus. Furthermore, these companies also often list bad debts from customers on behalf of client customers. In this capacity, the credit reporting service agency or company serves the client much in the same way that a collection agency does.
Joining a National Credit Reporting Bureau
If your company meets the minimum requirements for the number of customer payments histories to be reported or the number of debts to be reported, whether good or bad, your company may be eligible to apply for a membership directly with one of the national credit bureaus. In order to apply for membership, you should call the credit reporting agency that you would like to use and request a membership application.
However, you should be aware that most credit reporting agencies don't allow memberships for companies reporting only a few debts or payment accounts. In fact, typical requirements call for at least 500 debts or payments lines to be available for submission – before the national credit bureau will consider your business for membership. Furthermore, there will usually be annual fees and service charges associated with maintaining the membership account.
Regardless of the method you use to get non paying customer accounts listed with the three national credit reporting agencies, you should consider having the accounts listed. No one likes negative entries on their personal credit reports, and sometimes the mere inclusion of a negative entry will convince some to pay their debt to you. You can use the removal of the entry as a bargaining tool.