Credit report

I’m a credit expert – five common mistakes you make that will destroy your score

CREDIT scores impact nearly every aspect of your daily life, but these common slip-ups can ruin it beyond repair.

Most people know not to miss payments or max out their credit cards, but there are other very important steps to take to ensure a good credit score.

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Credit scores can affect many aspects of daily life

Equifa has shared a list of some of the most common errors and the impacts they can have on credit.

Late payments leave lasting damage

Contrary to popular belief, late payments can stay on an Equifax credit file for up to seven years. It will remain on your file even if you pay the outstanding balance.

Payment history can be a primary factor in determining your credit score. This means that it may have more impact on your credit score than other aspects.

Only make the minimum payment

Making only the minimum payment on your monthly credit card payment is better than missing a payment, but it’s still harmful.

The higher the balance on a credit card, the higher the interest. Keeping your balance high will increase the interest you pay, which will cost you more over time.

What is a good credit score and how can I establish mine?
How can I check my credit rating?

Over time, it’s best to make larger payments when you can to reduce the open balance and interest payment.

Leave your accounts open

Once a credit card is paid, you must leave the account open.

It seems logical to close the account, but it could increase your debt-to-equity ratio and ultimately lower your credit score.

Account closure can also change the variety of credit accounts, which lenders typically look for when reviewing applications.

If the account has been open for a long time, closing it could also lower your account average, which could also lower your score.

Check your credit score monthly

Regardless of when you last applied for a new card or mortgage, you should check your credit score monthly.

Scores can fluctuate for a number of reasons and it’s important to know where you stand. Assuming your score hasn’t changed, it can lead to big surprises and a lot of hard work to get it back up.

When applying for a new credit card, make sure you understand how and when introductory interest rates will change.

If you’re not sure, you might end up paying more than you can afford after the first few months.

How can I check my credit rating?

There are plenty of ways to check your credit score – and you don’t have to pay for it.

For example, many credit card companies, banks, and lenders have started providing credit scores to their customers.

It may appear on your statement or you can access it online by logging into your account.

There are also other free credit scoring websites, such as Credit Karma, Creditwise, and Credit Scorecard.

What is a good credit rating?

FICO, the most well-known credit scoring system, and its rival VantageScore, both use a range of 300 to 850 points.

The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get the best deals.

Below we list what is considered good and bad credit, according to the two systems.

FICO

  • Poor: 300-579
  • Fair: 580-669
  • Good: 670-739
  • Very well: 740-799
  • Exceptional: 800 or more

VantageScore

  • Very poor: 300-499
  • Poor: 500-600
  • Fair: 601-660
  • Good: 661-780
  • Excellent: 781-850

VantageScore was developed by the three national credit rating agencies.

While FICO has created different scoring models for each credit bureau.

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Millions of Americans may get an unexpected 100 credit score boost this summer thanks to a recent report update.

Consumers can combine this with simpler tips for getting their credit in a healthy place.