3 credit score myths debunked
Never assume a good credit score is out of reach.
Your credit score is just one of the many factors including your income, employment history etc. that determine the amount of debt you can handle. That being said, having a good credit score does give you more options. The great news is that low scores can be improved over time.
Contrary to popular belief, a “bad” credit score is a not terminal diagnosis. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, that’s not the only myth that needs to be cleared up. Here are just a few:
Closing a credit card improves your credit score: Actually, the opposite is true, especially if you close the card with a balance. Why? Credit bureaus and lenders look at how long accounts have been open, and the amount of credit being used to the amount of total credit available (also known as the credit utilization ratio). If you close an account with a high credit limit, that has a longer positive history and a balance, it could result in lowering your score not raising it.
Checking your credit lowers your score: It’s not only good to check your credit, but highly recommended. You are not penalized for checking your own credit. It’s the best way to stay on top of any errors in reporting and identity theft. You have to be aware of what’s on your credit report to know which steps can be taken to improve your scores. You are entitled to a free annual credit report from all three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Since you don’t know which bureau lenders use, it’s best to check all three.
Building a good credit score = going into debt: Just because you need to use credit products, doesn’t mean you need to create more debt than you can afford. Simply opening a credit card and having monthly charges that you pay off in full each month will give you the history needed to build a good credit score.