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Surprising Things That Lower Your Credit Score

Dec 9, 2020

You’re probably aware that paying bills late and maxing out credit cards can bring your credit score down. But sometimes we don’t know the not-so-obvious actions that can lower our credit scores. 

Errors in your credit report 

It’s important to keep an eye on your credit report because errors are more common than you might think. Luckily, you can check your credit report from each of these credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. You can receive one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of these agencies here

When you get the reports, go over them carefully to look for any errors and for any signs of identity theft. Dispute ones you find right away. 

Parking tickets and library books 

We may not think a slightly overdue parking ticket or keeping library books an extra week is a big deal, but if you rack up a bunch of little late fees, it’s possible that the city could send you to collections. This will show up on your credit report and stays on your report for seven years from the delinquency date.  

Avoid this harmless mistake by staying on top of your bills. If you think you will be late for a payment, try to reach out to the company you owe and explain your situation. Most times, this gives the company a heads up and will possibly be able to work with you on a new due date for your payments.  

Applying for more credit 

Each time you apply for credit, it prompts a hard inquiry into your report, and your score will take a hit. Unless it’s truly needed, avoid applying for new credit cards or loans if you want to keep your score up. 

Renting a car 

When you need to rent a car, you typically must pay a deposit. If you pay the deposit with a debit card rather than a credit card, some rental companies will pull your credit report. This hard credit check can ding your score without you knowing. 

Each of these steps can be minimal, but can truly be a hit on your credit score. Remember keeping a good credit score is important, especially when you’re ready to inquire for new credit!