If you are wondering why your credit score is so low, you might want to take a look at your financial habits in your 20s. This is the time when many people make the biggest mistakes, which linger on for a long time. As you will see, most of the mistakes people make when they are young are due to lack of knowledge regarding the credit score. It’s important to inform yourself on what increases your score and what harms it, as soon as possible, so you can start building your score.
A couple of mistakes in your 20s, and you won’t be able to get a loan for a house later in life, so here are all the things that harm your score.
1. Closing old cards
When you pay off your loan you will be tempted to close the credit line. Well, this is a huge mistake! Your credit score is being calculated based on the age of the credit lines and the debt-credit ratio. This means the older a credit line is, the better it is for your overall credit score.
If you want to increase your credit score, make sure you keep your credit cards open for as long as possible. This way, when you will apply for a loan, you will look more reliable, and the lenders will see that you are financially-wise.
2. Helping friends
Probably the biggest mistake you can make is co-signing a loan. Many 20-somethings make this mistake, thinking they are helping their friends, but what are you doing? When you co-sign you accept to pay the loan if your friend won’t be able to pay it. When you think of it from this point, you’ll see it’s a bad idea from a financial point of view, friendship point of view and credit score point of view.
3. Maxing out the credits
Having multiple credit lines is good, but they have to be kept around 30% of your total credit limit. If you are maximizing your credit lines, your credit score will drop significantly. If you can’t stay below 30% of your maximum limit, you should call your oldest lender and ask for a limit increase.
4. Not knowing what happens with your credit score
There are more and more hackers out there, and literally, anyone can become their victim. However, if you do check your credit score on a regular basis, you can spot unwanted activity on your accounts. Learn how to get a credit report on yourself and check it letter by letter – if you spot something suspicious, call the authorities. The number of people who don’t know how their credit score looks is overwhelming; don’t be one of them.
5. You apply for too many credit lines
Each time you apply for a new credit line you are lowering your credit score. This is because each time you apply for a new product, the lender is going to request a hard inquiry on your finances. Too many hard inquiries in less than one year are going to lower your score. To prevent this from happening carefully consider each new credit line and make sure you’re not applying for too many, too frequent.
6. Delaying your payments
As you would expect, late payments are going to lower your credit score. Even if you are not penalized for this, your credit score will drop, so it’s a good idea to have reminders for your payments or automatize them.
As long as you know what are the things that harm your credit score, you are able to avoid them and work on increasing your score. Keeping an eye on your credit score also helps you stay safe from identity theft and fraud, which are now growing in frequency.