When was the last time that you checked your credit score? Has it been awhile? Maybe you are afraid to see how bad it really is, or perhaps you mistakenly believe that checking your credit score can damage your credit rating. That is not the case, and it is actually a very good idea to check your scores regularly so you can be aware of any changes or errors.
Why do people think checking their credit will lower their scores in the first place? It's likely because credit inquiries from potential lenders like banks and credit card companies can take your score down a few points and will show up on your report for a couple of years. However, that doesn't include periodic checks by the individual.
There are some actions (and inactions) which can adversely affect your score. They include the following:
- Being late with your payments. If you are the proverbial day late or a dollar short, it will "ding" your credit rating accordingly. This applies to credit cards as well as utility bills.
- Acquiring too much debt. Many credit card accounts and large sums of unsecured debt signal that you might be too cash-strapped to meet all your financial obligations.
- Maxing out a single card. This can cause your score to dip precipitously. It's better to keep a low balance on several cards than it is to max out one.
- Not making minimum payments. In addition to finance charges and late fees, making less than the minimum payment amount hits you where it hurts -- your credit rating.
If you are struggling financially with your debts, help is out there. It might be a good idea to look into filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization in order to get back onto firmer financial footing in 2019.