Late Fees On Library Books Could Hurt Credit Scores

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Having a library card is an easy way to catch on the latest books for no charge, but some people take advantage of the perks.

Alisa Carmichael says: "It's the people who check out a number of items and lose them or damage them and don't settle that account. It is the folks who leave this area; they leave take looks that are no longer available to folks in our area."

Carmichael is the director of Bowling Green Public Libraries. She says it's gotten so bad the library is now turning the problem over to a collection agency.

Carmichael says: "With a collection agency, we resorted to that as deterrent. We are actually saying to those folks, you need to return these items so other people can enjoy can enjoy them."

Just to give you an idea of how quickly library fees can add up, we decided to check out my card and see if I have any late fees. I had $1.40.

The Bowling Green Library isn't alone. Libraries across the country are turning over their unpaid charges to collection agencies.

So what's that mean to you?

Tony Walker is a financial advisor. He says: "That's a serious issue for anybody to send you some kind of late notice. So my advice is contact them immediately and try to get something worked out."

Which means having a late library fee could affect your credit.

Walker says: "Your credit score is invaluable to you and all these types of late fees are getting more and more serious about them. It can greatly affect your ability to borrow money in the future."

Carmichael says fees aren't turned over to the collection agency until 25 dollars is accrued. So if you have overdue books or late fees you have some time before it can hurt your credit score. The library sends three notices to anyone with 25 dollars or more of late fees, before sending them to the collection. The fee for late books is ten cents per day per book. The library does have payment plans available.