When Corporate Cards Hurt Personal Credit

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How to Protect Yourself: While Using the Card

If you already use a corporate card, there are ways to find out if you could be subject to personal liability. Here are a few:

CLICK HERE to learn how to get your credit report and your credit score the right way. Check to see if the card is on the report.

Ask the "card program manager" at your company if you are personally liable for the card.

Get a copy of the contract from the credit card company and look for an individual or joint liability clause.

How to Protect Yourself: If You're Already Being Pursued for Corporate Debt

Demand Proof

If a debt collector contacts you trying to get you to pay off your company credit card, demand that they prove it is your debt.

Do this by sending a written letter within 30 days of the collection call. This is your right under the fair debt collection practices act. If your company credit card had a corporate liability arrangement, then the collector will not be able to prove you are responsible.

In your letter, also demand that the debt collector not contact you again in the future. That way, by law, they cannot contact you again, except to inform you of specific legal action they plan to take against you.

Clear Your Credit Report

If the bank or credit card company lists your corporate card debt on your credit report even though you are not liable for it, that is illegal under the fair credit reporting act.

You should dispute the presence of the account on your reports with the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Choose the "not mine" option.

If the credit card company cannot produce a document showing you agreed to have individual or joint liability for the account, the credit bureaus must remove it from your record.

This can be a thorny he said/she said process, though, so back up your argument by filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which regulates credit bureaus.

Get Your Company Involved

If your company is going out of business and will be unable to pay off its corporate credit card bill, often the company can negotiate a settlement agreement with its creditors where it pays less than the amount owed, but still pays something.

In exchange, the credit card company agrees not to pursue the debt with the company's employees. Encourage your company to try this, if you are in a position to do so.

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