How Will My Credit History Affect My Chances Of Joining The Air Force

Often it’s Not a Question of Should I Join the Military, But How Do I Join the Military. 

Well for the Air Force, one the requirements are that you must pass a credit check. If you’re not sure about your credit I suggest you get a credit check done from an online company first so you know what is on your report. The Air Force has always done credit checks for as long as I can remember, but they were only done on people who were over the age of 23 or who were married. Nowadays everyone has to have a credit check approved before joining the Air Force.

I have never had anyone not be able to join the Air Force due to having bad credit, but it has often been a somewhat lengthy process to get them approved.

Here’s what you need to know about joining the Air Force in regard to credit checks.

No credit is not bad credit.

If you don’t have any credit history than this Air Force requirement won’t hold you up from enlisting. You are not applying for a loan. So as opposed to trying to buy a car or a house, not having any credit history is actually a good thing.

If you have good credit than congratulations, obviously you are good to go as well.

Now if you have bad credit than we might have some issues.

The most common items on credit checks that I have seen that need attention are: Charge offs, and outstanding balances. Late payments aren’t really that big of a deal, although like most things, this could vary depending on where you are enlisting. Each squadron may have a variation of how strict they choose to be.

If you have charge offs you will need to write a letter basically explaining why the account was charged off. With a charge off the creditor has basically considered your account a loss and you aren’t actually required to pay anything.

If you have delinquent outstanding balances you will need to pay the balances off or start a plan to get them paid off. This will require you to write another letter explaining why you were behind on these bills, how much you owe, what your plan is to get it paid off, who you talked to at the company to set up
the plan and their phone number, and a copy of your first payment towards the newly proposed plan.

The copy of your payment could be a check made out to the company in the amount you planned to pay.

So to make it a bit simpler this is what you do if you owe $1500 to ABC Loan Shark inc.

1. Call ABC Loan Shark Inc and ask to speak with the billing dept.

2. Get the name of the rep you talk to and their number

3. Ask them if you can set up a payment plan (or you can obviously pay the whole thing off)

4. Annotate the terms of the plan and say thank you for not coming after me and breaking my legs to get the money back.

5. Draft the letter as stated above (your recruiter will likely be able to give you a template).

6. Give the letter and a copy of a check made out to ABC Loan Shark Inc in the amount agreed upon indicated in the letter you are providing to your recruiter.

That’s it and you should then be good to go.

But Wait!

I forgot one thing. There is also one other issue that could arise with Air Force credit checks. You may not be delinquent on any bills and you may not have any charge offs, BUT you might have too much debt. Meaning your debt to income ratio or potential income when you join the Air Force is out of whack.

The Air Force wants to ensure that you will be able to pay your bills and take care of your family when you join. So take this scenario for example

You’re credit check comes back and we determine that based on your $100,000 mortgage, $40,000 car loan, $5000 personal loan, $15,000 boat loan, and your $8,000 motorcycle loan, plus the fact that you have 3 kids and an unemployed wife, you will need to have a financial eligibility determination accomplished.

Next they come back and say that you are $50,000 too deep in debt to join the Air Force.

These situations are the worst and the most time consuming because the only options you have here are to somehow reduce your debt.

Payment plans and letters won’t work in this situation. You have to reduce your debt and try again. Go get a credit check done, take care of your bills and you should be just fine.

There you go, so if you want to join the military and the Air Force is your branch of choice than I hope this helps in regard to preparing for the credit check portion of the Air Force Requirements.

What’s your opinion on the correlation of military members with bad credit and national security? Click here to tweet this question.

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  2. ok, so I have a question about my own personal situation. I am about to be 27, I have 3 kids, no husband, student loan debt (thus not so great credit). I’m working on getting everything cleared up and taken off, but of course that’s a process. first of all, would I be able to join the air force without giving up permanent sole custody of my children and never being able to claim them as dependants? and would I need to get married? (although that works create another dependant) next, I have scoliosis, a heart murmur, and some kind if thyroid issue… (i know, it’s a lot) but none of it bothers me, no meds, or anything… could I get away that or would that be an issue? next, what would my credit score need to be or how might I be able to make my FED work for me? just make sure all of the negatives are off? I need help because I’m sick of the everyday civilian grind. I work at an army base part time and contacted so that’s no fun! now, I recently decided to get my associates degree so that can get a better job and go ahead and finish my bachelor’s degree in psychology….. so …. if I can get passed all of the dependant, financial, and medical issues, with three years of college and or an associate’s degree in business information technology. could I go in with a higher rank? if so, what might that rank possibly be? I know this is a lot, but thanks in advance!

  3. MSgt Reed says:


    You do have alot going on, and I will just let you know that your medical problems are permanently disqualifying. So no matter what you did about your credit and your dependants, you still would be unable to join. Scoliosis is disqualifying (depending on the degree of severity) and a thyroid issue is permanently disqualifying as well as a heart murmur.

    Sorry, Good luck to you.

  4. Cherese G says:

    Hi Im 20 yr old college student and I just started the process with my recruiter about a month ago I haven’t taken the asvab yet or anything but I have a question regarding the credit check. I have about 2800 in collections and I was wondering if he were to do a credit check will this effect the enlistment process and if it did and I got it taken care of can I still enlist? I don’t have any other credit problems besides the 2800 I owe from when I had my apartment. Any advise would be most helpful thanks.

  5. MSgt Reed says:

    Cherese, this is an easy fix for the most part. You will just need to set up a payment plan with the creditor. Have a written memo explaining the payment plan, have a copy of your first payment, could be a copy of a check. Also will need to include the contact name and number of the person you set up the payment plan with.

    Good luck.

  6. Thank you very much !

  7. Ashleigh R says:

    Hello, I am a 23 year old college student and am about 15,000 – 20,000 in debt due to college LANs but none are in default. Is this still a problem?

  8. Ashleigh,

    No this isn’t a big problem. As long as they are in deferred status you will be fine.

  9. I have $55,000 in student loan debt from my undergraduate degree and I have $20,000 in revolving debt (car loan and credit card). Is there a chance they would determine I have too much debt to join?

  10. Veronica,

    Yes there is that possibility, but you won’t know until you try. I’ve seen worse and student loans are normally not considered. Don’t let your debt stop you from going through the process. I think you will be fine.

  11. Another credit issue…
    I have defaulted on my student loan 10,000$
    I have collections against me as well from credit cards and a few hospital bills maybe worth 3,000 altogether. Is there any hope for me to join the Air Force? I didn’t have a job before which is why I couldn’t make payments, but my husbands job has helped us get back on track with savings and I can now afford to make payments on my debt. Can or will the airforce still allow me to enlist if I set up payment plans for my debt?

  12. Hello. I have 7,700 in cc debt and one in collection/ charge off status for 2,700 I am single no kids and am wondering how this situation could affect me and what advice you could give for success in enlisting. Thx in advance


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