Confident about credit? Not so fast. What many Americans consider to be solid financial activity, may actually be HURTING your scores! ScoreShuttle uncovered 3 common credit myths that could be shifting your score in the wrong direction.
Myth #1: Closing old credit cards is good for your credit. NOPE!
FACT: Closing out any type of credit card could decrease the amount of available credit in your name – which may drop your score. Additionally, removing an older credit card from your report may also cause a decrease. How? According to Experian, your credit history length, or the number of years you’ve actively been using credit, makes up 15% of your overall score. By closing or removing an older credit 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, such as groceries or your utility bill, 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 – if there is no annual fee to consider.
Myth #2: A single late payment is no big deal. WRONG!
FACT: A single 30-day or more late payment could cause a hefty drop in your creditworthiness. Depending on your current score, the amount owed, and a few other personal factors from your report, the specific dip you may experience from a late payment may vary; but it 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 your score success. If you have a hard time keeping track of due dates, try auto-pay or schedule calendar reminders a few days before each payment is due.
Myth #3: Scores are united in matrimony. Yea… still NO!
FACT: Your credit is yours alone. If you or your spouse’s scores happen to go up or down, it has no impact on the other person’s credit profile. With this in mind, if you ever link accounts or co-sign on 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 credit 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 may not be wise to co-sign or jointly mesh accounts until both of you can stay in good standing on your bills.
Resources: [https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education/score-basics/what-affects-your-credit-scores/] [https://www.equifax.com/personal/] [https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/whats-in-your-credit-score/]
Disclaimer: The content above is general in nature and is not a comprehensive list of the many factors that could contribute to your credit score. This information is not meant to give credit advice or guidance on credit improvement. Always be sure to do your own research on which credit strategies are right for you.
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