It doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that missing a payment on your loan will affect your credit score, but did you know that many other seemingly innocent actions can also have an effect on your score? We strive to do everything right; never missing a payment, not maxing-out cards, but more and more of us are finding that we still have bad credit.
So, here are some actions that may seem benign but can actually cause serious damage to your credit rating.
Having No Credit
If you’ve been one of those unusually lucky people who has managed to avoid student loans and credit cards, you’d think the bank can clearly see that you’re good with money – wrong! Lack of financial history means there is no evidence to prove you’re suitable to handle credit. This can make your life very difficult in the future when it comes to buying a car or home.
Avoid this issue by obtaining a credit card for the key reason of building your score. The trick is to use the card little and often, by spending small amounts and paying them back at the end of the month. These small actions will show the bank that you can reliably pay back what you owe and will help build your credit score.
Cancelling Your Paid Off Cards
It would be easy to think that once a credit card is paid off and cancelled, you will be able to close the account and never think of it again – nope. Your credit history is of vital importance to your credit score. If possible, it’s better just to put the card away once it’s paid off and not use it. Having available credit on a card with no balance will help to improve your credit score, plus it could also come in handy for a rainy day.
Late Payments for Rent
Paying your rent hasn’t usually been taken into account when it comes to your credit rating, but recent reports have stated that millions of tenants across the UK could see a boost to their credit score if they have a history of positive rental payments. This, of course, also works in the opposite way as well where late payments will result in a drop in your rating.
Renting A Car
Renting a car doesn’t build credit for you; in fact, it can affect your credit score negatively. Using a debit card instead of a credit card to rent a car, may result in some car rental agencies reviewing your credit report, or a ‘hard enquiry’ as they are known, which can have a knock-on effect on your score.
Your credit could also be impacted if you end up owing the rental company any money. This could be caused by damage to the car that you can’t afford or something simple, and easily done – like losing your card after the rental has been paid for and being unable to pay any fees, like cleaning.
Probably the most shocking issue that will affect your credit score – seemingly harmless library fines. These small fines can build up and in the worst-case scenario can result in being sent to a collection agency, which can then be reported to any of the three major credit bureaus.
The same applies to parking tickets. If left unpaid you can be taken to court, and if you fail to pay the county court judgements that incur as a result of this, this will appear on your credit report.
It is vital that with there being so many things that can affect your credit score, that you are checking and making improvements to your credit score regularly. There is a wealth of advice online to advise you on you improving your credit score and, if you feel like you need it, there are financial advisors and institutions that can help you with your credit report and financial decisions.