Making your credit score higher requires knowing what can hinder your progress. Here are common mistakes to avoid when improving credit scores.
Are you having a hard time getting a new credit card or maybe you have a very low credit limit? If this is because of your past financial complications, no need to fear that this will taint you for the rest of your adult life. As long as you can keep improving your credit scores, and avoid the mistakes laid out below, you will be well on your way to getting back up again. Keep reading!
1. Don’t Balance Transfer Too Often
You might imagine that transferring your bills and balance to a new credit card with a lower rate would be great for your credit score, as it would lower your monthly payments and allow you to pay off your balance faster. And it would seem so on the surface. BUT, be wary of doing this too often.
Every action you take related to credit cards and balance transfers is recorded on your credit report, and it could negatively hurt your credit score in the long run. Also, whenever you apply for a new loan or credit card, the company will take a look at your constant balance transfers and be less inclined to give you a credit card or a high credit limit.
2. Don’t Leave Any Bill Unpaid
Do you have some bills that are lying around at the bottom of some drawer, unpaid and ignored? Even if it’s a small amount that you could pay off easily, but aren’t, it affects your credit score negatively. It’s important for you to pay off EVERY bill on time, no matter how big or small, or inconsequential you think it might be.
Your credit score is affected by any missed payments or unpaid bills. In fact, if you have a late payment, it will stay on your credit record for 6 years!! And it could take as much as 100 points off your credit score.(1) If your score is already low, you might not care much. But if you are working upon improving your credit score, avoiding missed or late payments is the biggest step you can take.
3. Don’t Avoid Checking Your Credit Report
Like the ostrich that sticks its head in the sand, many people stick their bills and account balance statements into a drawer and forget about it. It’s hard to look at notices of late payment or reports of poor credit scores when you are already down in the dumps, but it’s important to keep a check on your credit report by checking it every few months.
This way you will know if there’s something funky going on with it. If you notice something wrong, an unusual payment or account on it, it’s better if you deal with it sooner rather than later. This is especially true if you are working towards getting a high credit score in the future. Reading credit reports is easy and you can order them online without any issue.
4. Don’t Have Too Many Credit Cards
How many credit cards do you have? Do you really need all of them? The first thing to do is to figure out which credit cards are absolutely essential to your daily life and to close out the rest. The more open credit accounts you have on your credit report, the lower your credit score, as you are seen as a credit risk by lenders.
5. Don’t Close Out Good Credit Accounts
But this doesn’t mean that you should start closing out all your good credit accounts. If you have had a credit card for a long time and you have been pretty regular in paying it off, then you should keep that credit card, as it contributes to a high credit score. Using credit cards isn’t itself a sin for a lender, but it’s HOW you use it that matters the most.
6. Don’t Keep Applying for New Credit Cards or Loans
Are you addicted to getting more credit so you can buy those shoes or that purse you want? Do you see a new credit card with a low-interest rate and think that the low interest rate will help you with your bills? Whatever you are thinking, remember that the more applications for credit cards or loans you have on your account, the lower your credit score.
Every time you apply for a new credit card, the creditors will check your credit history, which lowers your average credit history. And that leads to a low credit score.
7. Don’t Become a Loan Cosigner for an Unreliable Friend or Family Member
You might want to do good for your family member by helping them out and really, it’s just a signature on a loan document. It shouldn’t matter that much, right? Well, to your family members it might not. But to a creditor, it matters a lot. Every time, you are a cosigner on a loan for a friend or family member, it shows up on your credit report and affects your score negatively.
If you can avoid becoming a loan cosigner, while you are trying to improve your credit score, do so. It might result in a few damaged relationships, but at least, you can count on a better financial future because of it.
Improving Your Credit Scores Requires Time and Patience
If you were thinking that you would be able to change your financial habits for a few months and your credit score would bounce up miraculously, you are living in la-la land. Improving your credit scores requires consistency over a long period of time.
Maybe you are thinking that you can’t manage to do it on your own. If that’s the case, then use a credit repair service. Until you have your credit score back up again, you might want to consider getting a loan from Minute Loan Center for those emergency repairs or cash needs.
You can get funded in minutes with great rates. And guess what – they don’t care about your low credit score! Register today to get started.
1. O’Shea, Bev. “How Does a Late Payment Affect Your Credit?” NerdWallet, 2 June 2021, www.nerdwallet.com/article/finance/late-bill-payment-reported.