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Five Myths that can Harm your Credit Score

Five Myths that can Harm your Credit Score

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    The average U.S. household carries $5,700 in credit card balance, according to 2016 data by the Federal Reserve. Unfortunately, a few myths persist that misinform consumers when it comes to sound financial practices and these misperceptions can have a negative impact on your credit report. It’s important to have a good profile with the three major reporting agencies because a low credit score can increase your borrowing costs, prevent you from accessing loans, and even diminish employment opportunities.

    Here are five myths when it comes to personal credit.

    Myth No. 1: Closing your accounts will improve your score.

    This is a common myth. Nearly one-third (31 percent) of Americans surveyed think that closing unused cards is good for credit according to an Oct. 2016 Capital One Credit Confidence Study. It can actually hurt your score by lowering your overall credit availability. What improves your score is paying down your balance and meeting your current obligations. Moreover, make sure you have a low credit utilization ratio. A high ratio can inform potential creditors that you may be over your head in loans.

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    You aren’t born with a credit score. You have to build it and maintain it. It measures your financial dependability.

    The whole purpose of paying your cards properly is to show potential and/or future lenders that you’re a low-risk borrower who makes payments on time. Doing so can give you access to a low-interest mortgage or car loan. Your credit-based transactions form part of your records with the credit reporting agencies. If you only pay with cash, you won’t have any payment history to show. Cash payments do not leave electronic proof of reliability as a borrower or consumer.

    Myth No. 2: Paying a delinquent loan will remove it from your report.

    A late or missing payment, a delinquent loan, accounts in collection, and bankruptcies aren’t removed from your credit report even if you pay or settle such accounts. In other words, negative marks will remain on your credit profile for seven years. Also, some bankruptcies stay on your report for up to ten years.

    It’s more important to not fall behind in the first place than it is to fix a delinquent account. Adverse information sticks to your report for a long time, so stay current with your bills and avoid items getting reported to the credit bureaus.

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    (The article continues below.)

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      Myth No. 3: Settling your phone bill will increase your score.

      Wireless is either neutral or bad when it comes to personal finances. Paying your cellphone bill on time won’t build up your credit profile, but a delinquent payment will show up as a negative item. More than half (53 percent) of U.S. respondents incorrectly believe that paying their cellphone bill builds their credit score, according to Capital One’s study.

      If you go on vacation, pay your cellphone company ahead of time. You should exercise caution whenever you have a dispute with your provider. An inaccurate statement or a bill that incorrectly charges you for unwanted services could lead to a lengthy resolution process. During the dispute process, it’s possible that your payment could be classified as late.

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      If you have a dispute, consider paying your bill upfront and ask for a refund if the amount owed ends up being less. Alternatively, work out a plan with your wireless provider so you can avoid having a delinquent payment show up on your credit report.

      Myth No. 4: A “hard” inquiry won’t affect your score.

      Yes it can. An inquiry involving card applications, credit checks, and employment background inquiries can cause a temporary dip in your score. However, “soft” inquiries such as monitoring your credit score won’t have an adverse impact. About 27 percent of Americans incorrectly think that checking their credit report will reduce their score, according to the same Credit Confidence Study.

      There are monitoring tools and mobile apps, such as CreditWise, that allow you to check your score. There are websites that let you check your score for free once a year with Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.

      Myth No. 5: A debit card can increase your score.

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      No it won’t. A debit or check card such as those you use at groceries and gas stations are issued by your bank or credit union but they do not impact your credit report. They simply give you access to cash that you already keep in your checking or savings account. These plastic cards do not represent a credit card balance or consumer loan.

      A good credit report isn’t affected by how much money you have deposited into your bank. A credit score doesn’t measure how much paper currency you have stored. “Only by signing up for a credit card and proving that you can use it responsibly will you improve your credit score simply by paying for things,” writes Lauren Gensler at Forbes. However, if you bounce checks or have a negative balance at your bank it can be reported to credit bureaus.

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        Marvin Dumont

        Entrepreneur, Disruptor

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        Published on November 20, 2018

        The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

        The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

        The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

        Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

        In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

        Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

        Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

        If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

        I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

        It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

        For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

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        How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

        Stop manually tracking your spending.

        Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

        When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

        Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

        The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

        Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

        Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

        Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

        If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

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        Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

        Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

        1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
        2. Only buy nice things after saving
        3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

        These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

        How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

        Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

        So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

        By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

        This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

        For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]

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        Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

        A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

        Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

        You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

        What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

        Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

        Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

        During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

        Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

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        Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

        Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

        By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

        The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

        Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

        Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

        What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

        Reference

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