3 Common Mistakes that Lower Credit Scores

Whether you know it or not, there might be things you are doing that can effect your credit score for the worse.   Even if you aren’t buying a home anytime soon, you don’t want to be surprised by your credit score when you want to buy a car or refinance, for example.

The decisions you make can hurt or help your score, and thats why its better to have an understanding of what can impact your credit score. Even decisions or actions you think will help your score can actually hurt it!

Sound confusing? Youre not alone since many borrowers dont know the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to building a good credit score.

Lets clear it up for you so you can avoid making these mistakes below:

Mistake 1: Paying late didnt hurt my credit since Im caught up now.

Its important to pay all of your bills on time, every time! Doesnt matter if youve caught up … you were late and your account knows that.

If you must pay late and want to avoid damage to your score, pay the accounts that report to credit bureaus first. You can find this information by getting a copy of your credit report.

For example, credit reporting agencies say their records are updated routinely,” but this does not mean instantly. It may take one to three weeks for your credit card company to report a payment or paid balance to the credit agencies, then more time for the agencys reports to reflect the update.

This is where your own credit report and the dates indicated can tell you which of your credit cards companies are more prompt in reporting and which ones may take a few more days.

Mistake 2: Dollar amounts matter in credit scores.

It may sound crazy but dollar amounts dont matter in FICO scoring. The effect on your score is the same for a $1 late payment as a $1,000 late payment.

So dont take the advice to pay the highest bill first if you can pay off smaller bills first.

Keep in mind that the fewer late payments on your credit report, the higher your score—regardless of their dollar amounts.

Another way to increase your score is to have a high credit limit but low balance. It signals that you are credit worthy and have paid your bills.

Call your credit card companies to increase the credit limit as high as possible but just dont use the credit and pay down the balance so that its about half of the credit limit or lower.

Mistake 3: Closing credit card accounts helps your score.

Dont do this!! If you cancel a card, you may have just thrown away your chance to increase your score by continuing to build on years of positive credit.

When you have a long-term and positive account history with an account, it can really boost your score.  Its better to keep your cards open and active, using them for small purchases. You can also do this to help build up your score if it isnt high enough.

Avoid these mistakes and keep your credit score high.  If you have any questions, email me anytime!