|7 ways to be a dolt about credit
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Also, applying for credit causes a hard inquiry on your credit report. The alternative to a hard inquiry is a soft inquiry, which is what would happen if you pulled your credit report.
Inquiries aren't extremely damaging
to a credit score, but multiple hard inquiries in
a short period of time can raise lenders' eyebrows,
because of that whole reeking-of-desperation-thing,
or possibly being up to something illegal. Most banks
or credit card companies try to avoid consumers in
However, credit scores do take smart loan shopping into account. When shopping for products such as auto loans or mortgages, consumers are not dinged for each individual auto or home loan-related inquiry within a 45-day window.
Experts recommend doing all comparison shopping within that period of time if possible to minimize credit dings.
pay fines or non-credit-card bills
Skipping out on overdue book fines at the library
can hurt more than your book-borrowing privileges.
It actually can negatively impact your credit score,
as can other seemingly meaningless hassles, such as
"These days, public institutions and
municipalities will use credit to get people to pay
their fines and fees. So if someone has an old library
fine that they never paid, it could be killing their
credit score without them knowing it -- which is why
it is essential to check your score regularly," Opperman
Other business relationships that don't
normally report your good payments can turn around
and bite you if you decide not to pay as agreed. Any
business, from garbage collectors to cell phone companies,
can turn to the dark side when it comes to getting
what's owed to them, and that means sending your account
"Normally when you have an account with
a merchant that doesn't report directly to the credit
bureaus, there is a difference between positive and
negative reporting. A lot of service providers don't
report positive information. But the minute you do
something wrong, they can outsource that debt to a
collection agency who will report it," Ulzheimer says.
"If I have a Verizon cell phone and pay $79 every single month for the phone, that information is not on any of my credit reports. But if I was on a contract that required that I pay every month and I don't -- it's really only a matter of time before they send it to a collection agency and then the collection agency will report the past-due debt, or the collection debt, on my credit report," he says.
Ignore mistakes on your report
Say what you will about credit bureaus: They do make it easy to dispute inaccuracies on your credit report.
Sure, they may not fix them and it may be nearly impossible to ever speak to a live human being. But sometimes, probably more often than not, it works and it's easy.