Things You Probably Don’t Know Affect Your Credit
As one would expect, the most important causes of credit success or failure will always be payment history and total debt owed. Although together these factors account for about 65 percent of your credit, there are several other aspects of your credit report that lenders look at to determine your credit-worthiness. Many of these factors are not obvious even to the most intuitive of minds. Here are 5 of the most overlooked factors that influence your credit.
1. The number of recent inquiries on your credit report. To most people this is not self-evident, but to lenders it makes perfect sense. If you have a lot of recent inquiries from lenders who are looking to determine your credit worthiness, then chances are you may be overextended and short of cash.
2. The proportion of your balances to their credit lines. If you’re maxed out on your credit cards, then lenders may consider it a sign of one of three things: a) you’re overextended and relying on your credit to make ends meet; b) you’re addicted to credit and overuse your credit lines; or c) both.
3. Closing credit card accounts. Closing an account has the effect of lowering the credit limit on your credit report. Since you no longer are charging anything to that account whatever your current balance is also happens to be the credit limit. This being the case the credit scoring companies only see that a consumer is utilizing 100 percent of the credit line, thus affecting your credit negatively per point number 2.
4. Closing your oldest credit card account. Closing accounts affects your credit negatively, but since the impact is relatively minimal, it may be a necessary step to help get your finances under control. If you’re forced to make a decision about which account to keep open (assuming they have the same interest rate and fees), you should always hang on to the oldest account. The length of your credit history is actually about 15 percent of your score, and having an account with some longevity can be a big boost.
5. Enrolling in a debt counseling service. The only way to maintain a positive credit picture is by paying your bills on time and in full every month. Any time you seek outside assistance in managing your finances whether through credit counseling or debt negotiation, future lenders will be inevitably turned off. Unfortunately, there is no way to get around it since your enrollment is reported to the credit bureaus by your creditors, not by the debt management company. This is a source of debate, but to be conservative, you should assume that you won’t be credit worthy until you’ve established some positive credit history after completing your program. I know the last sentence sounds a bit contradictory. After all, how can you rebuild your credit history if no one will extend you credit? The answer is simple: gas cards and secured credit cards. These are very easy to obtain, and on top of that, you’re debt free. A lot of lenders will gladly extend small amounts of credit to someone who has income and no other financial obligations. Depending on the lender, it might take some time to qualify for the bigger loans, more specifically, a mortgage.
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