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5 Unobvious Things That Hurt Your Credit Score

By Janet Lacey
Published: Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Anybody who knows something about credit scores knows that these numbers are negatively influenced by late payments, delinquencies, bankruptcies, charge offs, collections and defaulting on your loan payments.  However, in spite of not having any of these in your credit report, you may still find that your credit score is not as high as you expected it to be. This is because there are a number of other things that most people are not aware of, which may still negatively influence credit scores. 

Let us take a look at all the unobvious, unknown little things that pull down credit scores. 

  1. Itsy Bitsy Fines: Small little fines are adding up and getting reported in your credit report nowadays. Getting a parking ticket, not paying your library’s late fees or getting fined by a traffic inspector can pull down that well maintained credit score. Make sure that you pay up any fines that are due right on time to save your credit score from going down. 
  2. Having Too Many In Store Cards: You think stores offer you their cards because you are a well paying, regular customer who defines good business for them. And while you are definitely right in your own way, credit bureaus do not take holding too many store cards in a good way. That’s because many of these store cards add up as new credit accounts which does not bode well for your credit score.   
  3. Canceling Old Credit Cards: You feel that canceling all your extra credit cards should take you up on the credit rating chart. Unfortunately, this ends up doing exactly the opposite. Canceling a credit card can influence your credit score in a number of ways. If you close a credit card with a balance still on it, the card gets listed as one that you have maxed out and not paid. If it is your oldest credit card, then your credit history gets shortened. If it is just any card with a limit, then it brings down your available credit limit. All three lead to a lowering of your credit score. 
  4. Not Having Any Loans Or Credit Cards: You would think not having much credit would be a positive factor on your credit report. Wrong again! Unfortunately, you get points for the variety of credit that you have. So if you have only credit cards, or if you have only mortgages or loans, then your credit score would not benefit as much as it would if you had both. 
  5. Having High Credit Card Balances: You have been told that as long as you are not exceeding the credit limit on your card and making your payments on time, then your credit score should be great. However, your credit score takes into consideration a factor known as credit utilization, which is the ratio of total credit used to the total available credit. A credit utilization ratio of more than 33% will start bringing down your score, so if your credit limit is $10,000, then stop borrowing the moment you reach $3,300 for a good credit score.

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