What Is Wage Garnishment?

Mature woman sitting on floor in empty house, counting money
Dear Experian,

I recently had a garnishment due to a medical billing and insurance coverage issue. The entire balance was paid in a matter of eight weeks. The collection agency agreed to remove it from my credit report, but told me I'd have to contact the county about getting the garnishment removed. How do I go about this? Any advice would be appreciated.

- TMW

Dear TMW,

When you are seriously past due on an account, your creditor may go to court and request a wage garnishment to collect the balance owed. Wage garnishment is when a creditor obtains an order from the court to have your employer withhold a portion of each paycheck to go towards paying off your outstanding debt.

How Does Wage Garnishment Affect My Credit?

Experian does not receive information from the courts on wage garnishments, so the wage garnishment itself will not appear as an item on a credit report. However, if the account that wages are being garnished for appears on your credit report, the creditor may add a notation to the account indicating that payments are assured by wage garnishment. That statement would then appear on your report as part of the account information.

Disputing Incorrect Information with Experian

You mentioned that the account in question has since been paid in full, but you weren't clear as to whether the creditor agreed to remove the entire account or simply update the account to show paid and remove the wage garnishment notation.

Either way, if you believe the account is appearing incorrectly, you can request that Experian dispute the information with the creditor. The quickest way to dispute information is online at www.experian.com/disputes. You can also submit a dispute over the phone or by mail using the information provided on your Experian credit report. Learn more about how to dispute credit information.

If your creditor has directed you to contact the county as well, you may be asked to provide proof documents to the court showing that the debt has been paid in full so that your employer can be notified to discontinue the wage garnishment. If you are unsure about the process, you should contact the court and your employer with any questions.

Thank you for asking,
The "Ask Experian" Team

The purpose of this question submission tool is to provide general education on credit reporting. The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team may include it in a future post and may also share responses in its social media outreach. If you have a question, others likely have the same question, too. By sharing your questions and our answers, we can help others as well.

Personal credit report disputes cannot be submitted through Ask Experian. To dispute information in your personal credit report, simply follow the instructions provided with it. Your personal credit report includes appropriate contact information including a website address, toll-free telephone number and mailing address.

To submit a dispute online visit Experian's Dispute Center. If you have a current copy of your personal credit report, simply enter the report number where indicated, and follow the instructions provided. If you do not have a current personal report, Experian will provide a free copy when you submit the information requested. Additionally, you may obtain a free copy of your report once a week through April 2022 at AnnualCreditReport.