Home » Autos and Cars

The 5 Easiest Ways To Ruin Your Credit Rating

Jul 17, 2008
It's tough to keep a good credit rating, and even the best of us can accidentally damage our score. There are a myriad of credit risks everywhere, from credit cards, home equity and auto loans, to a dubious health insurance system, and it's easy to make a mistake somewhere along the line. These are the top 5 mistakes, from easiest to hardest, that you might be making to damage your credit score:

1. Closing your account:

Many people close credit card accounts as soon as they pay them off, making this the easiest and most common way that credit ratings are damaged. In fact, I've seen credit scores drop one-hundred points in as little as two months because a misguided consumer closed a couple of credit card accounts. Closing an account hurts your rating because it decreases your "percentage of credit available." Credit scores are based on many factors, but this percentage is one of the most important. The more available (or open) credit you have, the higher your credit score will be. Unless your credit card has an annual fee, NEVER cancel it. In fact, make sure you use it at least once a year to maintain your account -- just don't buy anything that you can't pay off as soon as the bill comes.

2. Spending to the max

Banks like to see credit cards with high limits and minimal balances. These "open" cards are a sign of a financially responsible borrower they're likely to get their money back from. A maxed-out card, on the other hand, creates doubt about whether the card holder can afford their purchases, and leads to lowered credit scores. Applying for new credit cards and requesting higher limits on existing cards can help to fix this problem.

3. Medical Debt Collections

Health insurance is not exactly known for its reliability - it's not uncommon for patients to receive a bill for something they think their health insurance covers, then discover their insurance company won't pay it. By then, the doctor's office has turned the debt over to collection, and your credit score has taken the damage. Protect yourself against this by checking every bill with both your doctor and insurance company to make sure it's paid. That extra bit of time you put in could save your credit score 50 points.

4. Co-signing Gone Wrong

You've probably had family or friends ask you to co-sign a loan for them, and it might sound like a great idea. After all, why not help out someone you care about? But co-signing a loan is dangerous territory, credit-wise. You assume equal responsibility for the debt, and if the other person doesn't pay up, you're expected to. And if your co-signer files for bankruptcy, that'll show up on your credit report, even if you don't file anything yourself. Even if you can prove that the unpaid bills are your co-signer's fault, your credit rating will still suffer. Don't co-sign for anything, no matter how close the friend, unless you can afford to pay it yourself.

5. Overdue Payments

Can't remember to pay your bills? It could be the only thing keeping you from perfect credit! There are tons of people out there who do everything else right, but have poor credit simply because they pay their bills late. To make sure your bills are paid on time, every time, visit your bank and ask about an automatic bill payment program. Once you enrol in this, your bank will automatically send a payment to your creditor each month from your account. This will improve your credit by making sure you're never late with a payment again, and can save you money by preventing late fees!
About the Author
Author Jason Lancaster, an auto business veteran, created AccurateAutoAdvice.com. You'll find accurate car advice and car buying tips.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 111
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources