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Credit bureau reporting

Based on federal and state requirements, Minnesota's Child Support Division and county agencies report parents with past-due child support, also called arrears, to the credit bureaus one per month.

A parent is eligible for credit bureau reporting if the following are true:

  • The parent is, or was, ordered to pay support by either a court or child support magistrate
  • For cases with monthly support obligations, the parent owes arrears equal to or at least three times the monthly support obligation and at least $500
  • For arrears-only cases, the amount of arrears is at least $500.

The division must follow Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) standards when reporting parents to the credit bureaus. According to CDIA standards, child support arrears are NOT the same as other debts, like a car loan or a home mortgage with a payment schedule. Parents must pay their child support in full each month. If they do not or cannot pay their support in full each month, the support they do not pay becomes arrears.

The division and county agencies refer each case individually for parents with more than one case. A case with an arrears balance is considered past due, even if the parent is making payments. The division's report to credit bureaus must include the amount of arrears, the age of the arrears as expressed as days past due, and information on payment history. The division continues reporting information to credit bureaus until the parent pays the arrears in full or the case closes. Credit reporting agencies record this information on a parent's credit report. The information can remain on a parent's report for up to seven years.

It is important for parents to pay their child support in full each month to avoid credit bureau reporting. A change in jobs can cause a lapse in payments. A change in the monthly obligation, either by court order or due to a cost-of-living increase without an adjustment in payment amounts can cause a parent to accrue arrears. Parents can monitor their case balance and payments using the Minnesota Child Support Online secure website.

How the division and county agencies report to credit bureaus

County child support workers review cases eligible for credit bureau reporting. If a worker determines the division should report the case, the worker will send the parent a Notice of Intent to Report Arrears thirty (30) days before reporting the arrears to the credit bureaus. The parent has 21 days from the date of the notice to prevent credit bureau reporting. If the parent does not take action to prevent the reporting, the worker instructs the division to report the case listed in the notice.

How parents can prevent reporting

To prevent reporting, parents can:
  • Pay the arrears balance in full
  • Enter into a written payment agreement with their county child support worker. Payment agreements are case specific. The division must continue reporting information to the credit bureaus for cases previously reported
  • Report pending bankruptcy actions
  • Report the receipt of cash-grant public assistance payments such as Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) or General Assistance (GA)
  • Provide documentation that there is a case of mistaken identity
  • Provide proof of a pending legal or court action that addresses credit bureau reporting or the arrears balance for the case listed in the notice
  • Provide documentation such as cancelled checks, money orders, or receipts to dispute the arrears balance on the case listed in the notice

If the parent does not prevent credit bureau reporting within 21 days, the division will report the arrears and payment information to two major credit bureau agencies:

  • Equifax
  • TransUnion

Disputing arrears after the division reports to the credit bureaus

Parents who believe the division is reporting inaccurate information may contact their county child support worker to discuss their case. If the information the division reported to the credit bureaus is accurate, the worker can NOT change the reporting. The worker can provide a statement for parents who need detailed arrears and payment information as verification for a creditor. If the parent and their worker determine there is an inaccuracy with the arrears balance on the case, the worker will update the case and the division will report the updated information to the credit bureaus in the next monthly report.

Each credit reporting agency determines how they use information reported to credit bureaus. Parents who believe a credit reporting agency is reporting inaccurate information may contact each credit bureau to dispute the inaccurate information or ask them to run an updated report. Sometimes there is a delay between what the division reports to credit bureaus and when a credit reporting agency updates their records.

Parents can dispute the information on their credit report online or in writing directly to:

Equifax Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740256 
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256

TransUnion LLC Consumer Dispute Center
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

Credit bureaus notify the division when a parent files a dispute. The division responds to the credit bureaus electronically.

If the parent believes the division reported information inaccurately, the parent may submit a Credit Reporting Direct Dispute Claim Form to the division and must include a current copy of the credit report in question. The division will review the dispute and respond to the parent.


The division cannot report the parent to credit bureaus if either of the following is true:

  • The case does not meet the criteria
  • A court order prohibits credit bureau reporting.


State laws are on the Minnesota Office of Revisor of Statutes website. Federal regulations are on the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations site.

  • 42 United States Code, section 666 (a)(7)
  • 15 United States Code, section 1681s-1
  • 15 United States Code, section 1681 et. seq.
  • Minnesota Statutes, section 518A.685
  • Minnesota Statutes, section 13.05, subdivision 4(b)
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