Credit Scores: Small Mistakes that Spell Big Trouble
Most people are aware of the big actions that can cause your credit score to take a tumble: filing bankruptcy, having an account sent to collections,or being foreclosed upon. However, these are not the only actions that can decrease your credit score.
Here are some other mistakes a consumer can make with their credit. While not ‘major offenders’, these 5 missteps can still prohibit you from joining the credit elite.
Maxing out your credit card.
The balance to limit ratio is almost as important as paying your bills on time, accounting for 30% of your credit score. A good rule of thumb is to never charge over 30% of your credit limit . This means if you have a total of $10,000 as the limit on your credit cards, you should never have a balance greater than $3,000.
Consumers who think they are managing their finances wisely by only having one credit card, but are using over 30% of the limit are actually HURTING their credit score.
Missing a payment
Just one 30 day late payment can drop your credit score significantly. Payment history is the single most important factor in the calculation of your credit score, at 35%. A consumer who has no late payments on their credit history is gaining lots of points for their positive usage!
One late pay can change all that. It is possible for a good credit score to drop 80 points with just one 30 day late.
Whether you sign up for automatic payments through your bank, get an app that reminds you, or write the date your bills are due on your calendar, pay those bills on time!
Not checking your credit report.
It is estimated that over a third of credit reports contain some sort of error. These bits of erroneous information can be accounts showing late that were actually not late, collections that should have never gone into collections, or accounts that are not even yours!
By not checking your credit report, these errors linger on your credit history and can cause your score to take a dive.
Be sure you are checking your credit report at least once a year.
Review all accounts, balances, and payment history. Make certain to follow up on any information that looks erroneous, and get it removed from your report by filing a dispute.