6/29/2022 | By Rivan V. Stinson

Beginning on July 1, 2022, important updates to credit reports will begin to affect consumers’ credit, including medical debt reporting and BNPL (buy-now-pay-later) plans.

Information from buy now, pay later (BNPL) firms will now be added to consumer credit reports from the three major credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – and some medical debt information will be removed.

Updates to credit reports

Medical debt

Consumers with medical debt should see their scores increase. Starting in July 2022, medical debt that was sent to collection but eventually paid off will be removed from all three reports. Plus, any new medical debt you incur won’t show up on your credit reports until a year after it is sent to collection.

Currently, credit reports start to show an unpaid medical account 180 days after it is sent to collection, and it can stay on your credit reports for up to seven years after you’ve paid off the debt.

And starting in 2023, the three companies will no longer report medical debt under $500.

These measures are expected to remove 70% of medical debt from reports.

Related: Will Social Security pay for a caregiver?

Buy-now-pay-later plans

Key on computer keyboard with "BNPL BUY NOW PAY LATER." Two important updates to credit reports affect consumers’ credit, including medical debt reporting and BNPL (buy-now-pay-later) plans.

Meanwhile consumers’ use of buy-now-pay-later systems online will also make it onto reports, which can be good or bad for credit scores.

BNPL firms, including Affirm, Klarna, and Afterpay, offer you a loan at the checkout counter to cover your purchase. Until now, credit bureaus didn’t track such loans, and it’s not clear exactly how the BNPL information will factor into credit scoring formulas, says Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree, an online loan marketplace.

People who pay their installment loans on time could see their scores go up, and tracking the loans may give some people a score who didn’t have one before. However, if you miss payments or take out a lot of these short-term loans, the hit to both the payment history and credit history sides of the credit scoring algorithm could cause your score to drop, Schulz says.

Payment history counts for 35% of your FICO score, with length of credit history counting for 15%. And if your BNPL loans boost your utilization ratio – how much of your available credit you are using – that could affect your score as well.

If you plan on using a BNPL loan, it’s a good idea to set up automatic payments from your checking account or debit card to pay it off as soon as possible.

© 2022 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Rivan V. Stinson

Rivan V. Stinson is a staff writer at Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. For more on this and similar money topics, visit