Your credit score is an important number. It’s how creditor and lenders quickly decide if you are creditworthy. Find out which actions hurt your credit score so you can stay away from them.
1. Paying late
Thirty-five percent of your credit score is your payment history. Consistently being late on your credit card payments will hurt your credit score. Pay your credit card bills on time to preserve your credit score.
2. Not paying at all
Completely ignoring your credit cards bills is much worse than paying late. Each month you miss a credit card payment, you’re one month closer to having the account charged off.
3. Having an account charged off
When creditors think you’re not going to pay your credit card bills at all, they charge off your account. This account status is one of the worst things for your credit score.
4. Having an account sent to collections
Creditors often use third-party debt collectors to try to collect payment from you. Creditors might send your account to collections before or after charging it off. A collection status shows that the creditor gave up trying to get payment from you and hired someone else to do it.
5. Defaulting on a loan
Loan defaults are similar to credit card charge-offs. A default shows that you have not fulfilled your end of the loan contract.
6. Filing bankruptcy
Bankruptcy will devastate your credit score. It’s a good idea to seek alternatives, like consumer credit counseling, before filing bankruptcy.
7. Having your home foreclosed
Getting behind on your mortgage payments will lead your lender to foreclose on your home. In turn, the late payments will hurt your credit score and make it harder to get approved for future mortgage loans.
8. Getting a judgment
A judgment shows you not only avoided your bills, the court had to get involved to make you pay the debt. While they both hurt your credit score, a paid judgment is better than an unpaid one.
9. High credit card balances
The second most important part of your credit score is level of debt, measured by credit utilization. Having high credit card balances (relative to your credit limit) increases your credit utilization and decreases your credit score.
10. Maxed out credit cards
Maxed out and over-the-limit credit card balances make your credit utilization 100%. This is least ideal for your credit score.