If you do not pay a debt that you owe, you risk suffering not just financial penalties but damage to your credit rating — this can include not paying expensive gyms for memberships. A creditor reports the unpaid debt to a credit reporting agency, which will drop your score, making you look less creditworthy. This won't necessarily happen if you cancel your gym membership or end your contract early, however unpaid balances may go on your credit report. Following a gym's cancellation requirements is your best bet to avoid a negative mark on your credit.
How Gym Memberships Work
The terms of memberships vary depending on the gym. Some gyms require that people take out memberships for a set period of time, but allow them to pay in a monthly installment plan. Others, however, allow people to pay month-to-month for membership or to pay for a long period of time in advance. Once you join, a gym will usually take the money out of bank account automatically each month; however, if you signed a contract to pay a certain amount for membership and default on that payment in some way, the gym might take action to get its money, which may affect your credit score.
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Cancellation Options at Expensive Gyms
Gym membership contracts set out your cancellation options. If you stick to those, you shouldn't have any credit report problems. You may, however, have to serve out and pay a notice period, or you may have to carry on paying for membership until your contract is done.
If you break the terms of your agreement, cancel your contract, and do not respond to requests for payment, then the gym may ultimately report you to a credit reporting agency or hand your debt over to a collections service to recover the unpaid balance. Think of a gym membership as any other recurring bill — defaulting on payment after signing a contract could led to disastrous credit consequences, according to My Bank Tracker.
Considerations When Canceling a Gym Membership
Your credit report contains a record of all of your recent debts, both paid and unpaid. If you fail to pay back a loan on time or do not pay a bill, then this may end up on your credit report, causing your score to drop. For this to happen, however, the company to whom you owe the money has to report it to the credit reporting agency. This might happen in the case of a gym membership if you agreed to pay membership fees and then stopped paying them for no good reason.
Even if you cancel a gym membership and leave a sum of money unpaid, you may not see any adverse effects on your credit report. An unpaid debt will only show up if the creditor or a collections agency reports it. If the bill for the gym is small enough, the gym may not consider it worth its time to chase payments and may instead just write it off. Sometimes the gym will allow members to freeze their accounts for a number of months if they can't afford payments or under other circumstances, like some did during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Grow. Check with your gym to see what your options are.