When an account goes into collection, it’s stressful and overwhelming for anyone. But debt collection can be especially troublesome for military service members. Financial trouble could result in negative consequences like loss or denial of security clearance.
Frequent moves and relocations can make it difficult for service members to keep up with bills and collection notices. Set up automatic payments when you can and always make sure to update your address to avoid missing bill payments.
If an account does go into collection, debt collectors often use shady tactics to try and collect payments. However, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits collectors from threatening to reduce a service member’s rank or security clearance. They are also not allowed to threaten to contact chain of command. Learn more about what debt collectors can’t do under the FDCPA.
Military personnel are also protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This legislation provides some protections against car repossession for those in the military.
Make sure to educate yourself on how to manage your finances and learn about the laws that exist to protect you. Learn how to get a free copy of your credit report, and how to dispute errors in your credit history.
Read this article from CBS News for more information on how debt and financial trouble affects service members.