5 Credit Score Myths Debunked: Knowing the Real Score
Credit scores are essential for financial health, especially when you want to take out loans or access credit. Unfortunately, many people believe myths that misinform them when it comes to sound financial practices, and these myths can negatively impact their credit report. Here are five credit score myths debunked to help you make educated financial decisions.
Myth No. 1: Closing your accounts will improve your score.
Some people believe that closing unused credit cards is a positive move for their credit score. However, the truth is that closing accounts can hurt your score by decreasing your overall credit availability. Instead, you should focus on paying down your balance and meeting your current financial obligations to enhance your credit score. Additionally, ensure that you maintain a low credit utilization ratio since a high ratio suggests that you may have accumulated more debt than you can handle.
Myth No. 2: Paying a delinquent loan will remove it from your report.
When you make late or missing payments or have delinquent loans or bankruptcies, these negative marks remain on your credit report for some years, even if you later pay or settle such accounts. Therefore, it’s crucial to prevent falling behind on payments in the first place since recovering will take some time. Ensure that you remain current with all bills and avoid getting reported to credit bureaus.
Myth No. 3: Settling your phone bill will increase your score.
If you had the misconception that paying your wireless phone bill builds up your credit score, you’re not alone. In reality, your phone bill usually doesn’t affect your credit score unless it’s left unpaid and gets reported negatively. To avoid this, pay your bill ahead of time, exercise caution, and avoid disputes with your provider. Suppose you experience a billing dispute with your operator. In that case, you may consider paying your bill upfront and negotiate a refund if the amount owed ends up being less.
Myth No. 4: A “hard” inquiry won’t affect your score.
While it’s common to believe that checking your credit report lowers your score, this is only true for specific inquiries when you apply for credit or loans. These types of inquiries can cause a temporary dip in your credit score. However, you don’t need to worry about checking your credit report on monitoring tools, mobile apps, or websites that offer your credit report for free once a year.
Myth No. 5: A debit card can increase your score.
It’s vital to know that debit cards, unlike credit cards, do not affect your credit score, even though they’re issued by your bank or credit union. Debit cards give you access to funds in your checking or savings account, but they don’t represent a credit card balance or consumer loan. Similarly, having a lot of cash deposited into your bank account won’t affect your credit score. However, if you bounce checks, you might have a negative balance at your bank, and it can be reported to credit bureaus.
Having inaccurate information about credit scores can impact your credit report, limiting financial opportunities and causing borrowers to pay higher borrowing costs. It’s essential to know the facts behind credit scores to make informed financial decisions, protect your financial health, and build a strong credit score. Knowing these five credit score myths debunked is a great start.