Confident about credit? Not so fast. What many Americans consider to be solid financial activity, may actually be HURTING your score! ScoreShuttle uncovered the top 3 most common credit myths that could be shifting your score in the wrong direction.
Myth #1: Closing old Cards is Good for Your Credit
FACT: Closing out cards could decrease the amount of available credit in your name which may actually drop your score. Removing an old card from your report may also cause a decrease.
How? According to CreditCards.com, payment history, or the number of years you’ve actively been using credit, make up 15% of your overall score. By closing or removing an older card, you may also lose the years associated with that particular account. Another big no-no!
FIX: Pay down your balance until you reach $0. To keep the line of available credit active, make one purchase a month (i.e. gas, groceries, a utility bill etc.) and pay it off right away. For store cards that you no longer shop at, it’s usually best to pay the card down to $0 and leave it alone.
Myth #2: A Single Late Payment is no Big Deal
FACT: A single late payment could cause a hefty drop in your creditworthiness. Depending on your current score, amount owed, and a few other personal factors from your report, the specific dip you may experience from a late payment may vary; but will most likely do some damage.
FIX: Always pay your bills on time. 35% of your FICO score is based on payment history so keeping your bills current is crucial to score success. If you have a hard time keeping track of due dates, try auto-pay or schedule yourself calendar reminders a few days before each payment is due.
Myth #3: Scores are United in Matrimony
FACT: Your credit is yours alone. If yours or your spouse’s scores happen to go up or down, it has no bearing on the other person’s numbers. With that said, if you link accounts or co-sign a loan together, the financial activity from anything with your name on it (for better or for worse) will be reported to the bureaus separately.
FIX: Sometimes love, might not be enough. At least when it comes to your scores. You can always work as a team to learn ways to improve your finances together; but If your partner isn’t the best at fiscal responsibility, it probably isn’t wise to co-sign or jointly mesh accounts until both of you can stay in good standing on your bills.
If you’re not sure where to start, ScoreShuttle may be able to help! From financial coaching, to the latest tips in score improvement, ScoreShuttle can get help you achieve your goals, fast!