Do Traffic Tickets Affect Your Credit Score?

Do Traffic Tickets Affect Your Credit Score?

Written by Kale Havervold
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated February 22, 2022

The number of drivers in Canada has been steadily increasing since 1994. Today, there are around 26-27 million Canadians who are licensed drivers. Many Canadians drive during their day-to-day lives for work, school and other activities such as groceries. With all the driving, it is almost inevitable that they will get a traffic ticket at one time or another. 

That ticket could be for anything from a fine for speeding to parking in a location you are not permitted to. Traffic tickets are issued based on severity, there are minor, moderate, and serious infractions. These tickets can range in cost from around $50 for a standard infraction, up to thousands of dollars if you are caught doing something more serious such as driving under the influence or speeding in a school zone. 

Can Traffic Tickets Affect Your Credit Scores?

The answer depends on whether or not you’ve paid your traffic ticket on time. 

  • Paid On Time – Any traffic ticket that you get and pay on time, will not be reported to the credit bureaus and will not affect your credit. 
  • Not Paid On Time – While the health of your credit report and credit score won’t be affected directly by you getting a traffic ticket, problems do start to arise when you leave your tickets unpaid for longer and longer periods of time. When you don’t pay your traffic tickets on time, it may be sent to a collection agency, which has the potential to severely negatively affect your credit. 

How Do Traffic Tickets Affect Your Credit Scores? 

If you refuse or forget to pay your traffic ticket it may be sent off to a collections agency. When that happens it’ll show up on your credit report which may impact your credit scores. However, it usually takes a couple of months before an unpaid traffic ticket is sent to collections. 

In general, it is recommended that you pay for your traffic tickets by the due date. This will help you avoid any unnecessary negative remarks on your credit report. 

Find out how long information usually stays on your credit report

Can You Remove Your Traffic Ticket From Your Credit Report? 

If your credit scores are suffering as a result of unpaid traffic tickets, you may be able to mitigate the impact by removing the remark from your report.  To do so, you’ll first need to pay the overdue ticket and deal with any other fines or fees to the city. Then you can request that the public record be taken off your credit report by either filing a dispute or writing a goodwill letter.  

Commuting to Work in Canada

What Can You Do If You Get A Traffic Ticket?

While getting a ticket is an unpleasant and expensive experience that no one wants to go through, they are fairly easy to deal with. Any standard ticket will have all the details about what you are accused of doing, how much you owe and how to pay or contest the charge written somewhere on it.

Need a loan to pay off your traffic ticket?

When most people get a ticket, they simply pay it through one of the acceptable methods, such as online, by mail or in person at a designated city establishment. These are the easiest and quickest ways to solve the issue. 

How Fast Do Your Need To Pay A Traffic Ticket?

In general, traffic tickets must be paid off within 30 days to avoid further penalties. In certain provinces, some tickets even include a small discount if a driver pays the ticket off by an earlier date. So, if you are guilty and the ticket is just, you’re better off paying the fine as soon as possible and chalk it up as a learning experience.

What If You Want to Contest A Traffic Ticket?

If you think that your traffic ticket is unjust, there is the option of contesting it by filling in a specific section on the back and mailing it to a designated location. Doing this will often involve waiting a considerable amount of time and eventually attending court as a result. If you don’t want to (or don’t think you have to) pay the ticket, fighting it in court or inquiring about it can be worthwhile. However, it’s important to realize that you may not win your case and have to deal with court fees as a result.

Nevertheless, letting tickets go unpaid and simply forgetting about them is not the way to go, no matter what the infraction is for. 

Can Traffic Tickets Affect Your Car Insurance Premiums?

What about insurance? Many people are not only curious about whether or not a traffic ticket affects their credit score, but also if it can affect their insurance. Auto insurance is already expensive as it is, but can traffic tickets make it even pricier?

The answer is a resounding yes. Your car insurance rates can potentially be affected greatly by your traffic tickets. If you get pulled over for a DUI, distracted driving, or serious speeding charges, there is a good chance your rates will see a steep increase.

Find out if parking tickets can affect your insurance rates.

While parking tickets and a few speeding tickets here and there aren’t likely to raise your car insurance rates by a lot, they can still bump it up a little. Basically, everything included in your driving history has the potential to raise or lower your insurance costs, no matter what. How much these tickets affect your insurance will depend greatly on the severity of the offences, how frequently you are being ticketed and how soon you are paying your tickets.

The Bottom Line

Yes, traffic tickets can affect your credit scores and insurance if they go unpaid for too long or if you continue to accumulate them at a rapid pace. As a result, you should always pay for your parking, speeding, or other traffic tickets as soon as possible. Thankfully, most traffic tickets are fairly cheap and it isn’t so much that many people can’t afford to pay them, it’s that they forget about them or simply don’t consider getting a $50 ticket here and there to be very damaging. 


Rating of 4/5 based on 3 votes.

In his over six-year career as a professional writer, Kale has focused on writing about finance, technology, cryptocurrency, entertainment, and sports. Kale's work has been published on Yahoo, RentHop, the Regina Leader-Post, LoansCanada.ca, and ReboundFinance.com. Kale loves to create a wide variety of personal finance-related content. Including everything from how-to guides to featured articles, to advice pieces and everything in between. Whether he’s writing about the newest piece of technology or providing tips to help people with their finances, Kale is passionate about educating Canadian consumers and making sure they have the information they need to make the best decisions.

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