15 Things That Do Not Affect Your Credit Score

So, we’ve shared how your credit score breaks down in the article Your Credit Score Broken Down. However, the CGS Team hasn’t spent much time explaining the things that don’t actually affect your credit score. We recently came across an article from Cheapism that explains 15 things that have zero effect on your credit score. Most people aren’t familiar with exactly what a credit score entails, so we want to share what it doesn’t! We’re sharing Cheapism’s 15 things that have no effect on your credit score. Rest easy knowing that the following items don’t matter when it comes to you credit score.

Checking a Credit Score or Report.

Accessing a free credit score is becoming a commonplace add-on for financial products such as credit cards and checking accounts, and there’s no negative impact if a company, or user, checks a score. Everyone is entitled to three free copies of their credit report each year (one from each bureau) by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com, and requesting those reports won’t impinge on the score.

Age, Race, Religion, Marital Status, or Sex.

The federal CARD Act of 2009 made it harder for people under age 21 to get a credit card; they now need a co-signer or proof of independent income. But age is not a factor in determining a credit score, and neither is race, religion, marital status, or gender.

Where You Live or Work.

Jobs, employers, employment history, and home address generally are not factors that affect credit scores. They may be important to insurance companies and lenders, though.

Income.

This one can be confusing, because loan and credit card applications almost always ask about income. Lenders do consider income and an applicant’s debt-to-income ratio when deciding whether to extend a loan, and credit card issuers may also base credit limits partly on this data. But it has no role in determining a credit score.

Avoiding Borrowing.

Some people believe that as long as they do not apply for credit, their credit history will be clean and they’ll have a good credit score. But doing nothing generally doesn’t affect a credit score. To improve their scores, consumers need to show they’re trustworthy borrowers. If they have no credit history, lenders don’t have anything on which to base their decisions.

Credit Counseling.

Credit counseling services can help people who are having trouble making monthly payments, juggling multiple loan payments, budgeting, or understanding credit. Free credit counseling services are provided by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and Financial Counseling Association of America, as well as independent offices associated with one or both. Use of these free services generally doesn’t affect credit scores — although it appears on credit reports and may make loan approvals more difficult in the future.

Debit Cards.

Even though most debit cards have a Visa or MasterCard logo and can be used for purchases wherever credit cards are accepted, the funds come directly from a bank account and the activity isn’t reported to credit bureaus. As a result, debit card use doesn’t affect credit scores.

Insurance Premiums and Utility Bills.

Many people assume their credit scores must be good because they always pay bills on time. Insurance companies, utility providers, and mobile phone carriers often check new customers’ credit scores, but credit rating agencies generally don’t take insurance, utility, or cellphone bills into account. The exception is if someone falls behind on payments and the account gets turned over to a collections agency; that will be reported to credit reporting and rating agencies.

Child Support.

According to FICO, any item listed as child or family support in a credit report is not considered when calculating a credit score. As with other financial obligations, though, late or missed payments can have an impact.

Interest Rates.

While a credit score helps determine whether a borrower is offered the best interest rates, the converse is not true. High or low interest rates on current credit cards or loans don’t factor into a credit score.

Medical Debt.

This one is partially true. Most lenders use FICO scores, and while the latest version (FICO 9) doesn’t weight medical debt as heavily as past versions and similarly erases past-due debt and overdue payments that have been paid off, medical debt remains a factor. Even worse, lenders are slow to switch to new versions of the FICO scoring system, and many still use versions that do look at medical debt.

Bank Account Overdrafts.

Writing a bad check or incurring overdrafts on an account doesn’t generally affect a credit score (although if the bad check is for a credit card bill, there can be cascading effects). Some banks have internal rating systems, though. Overdrafts may be reflected on a customer’s bank profile, which could make it more difficult to open a credit card or take out a loan from that bank.

Small Debts.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of small debts, such as a $15 late fee. The good news: Even if a debt goes into collections, the two latest versions of FICO don’t consider debts less than $100.

Shopping for a Loan.

Opening a credit card often comes with a temporary drop in credit scores, because the issuer does a “hard inquiry” (a deep look into the applicant’s file). When you shop for a loan, each lender is likely to do one. But that doesn’t necessarily hurt a credit score. For the newest FICO scores, multiple inquiries for mortgages, auto, or student loans are considered to be a single inquiry if made within a 45-day period.

Having Many Credit Cards.

Credit scores don’t directly take into account the number of credit cards a consumer holds. However, there are many scenarios in which multiple cards can have an effect. The hard inquiries that accompany most credit card applications can lower a score. Having multiple cards can also affect the average length of a person’s credit history and the percentage of available credit being used — two factors in many credit scores.”

As Seen In: 15 Things That Do Not Affect Your Credit Score by Cheapism

 

Very interesting, right? It’s great to know what goes into your credit score, as well as what has no effect on it. What do you think of the 15 items listed above? Were you surprised to learn that they have no effect on your credit score? We want to know what you think about it! Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

-The CGS Team

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4 thoughts on “15 Things That Do Not Affect Your Credit Score”

  1. Wow, what an interesting article. It’s easy to think that your current interest rate or the number of current credit cards you have affects your credit score. I like that this article shows what’s not included, so you can rule these things out!

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