Everyone desires a perfect credit score, and you are no different.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to repair past credit mistakes and improve your credit health.
After all, a good score opens many doors. From better interest rates on mortgage loans to higher credit limits to finding the car you want at a price you can afford.
Great credit has its rewards.
However, when you venture out to repair your credit, you might be tempted to give in to those common myths floating around. Some give you a false sense of hope, while others douse your dreams. Therefore, as an educated consumer, you need to dispel those myths and make sure you are working with the right information.
Myth 1: Opting Out of Credit Offers Improves Your Score
According to Janna Herron at Bankrate.com, too many consumers assume that if they opt out of credit offers, they will have fewer inquiries on their credit report. Too many inquiries can lower a credit score, but not devastate it.
Those offers you receive in the mail are considered soft pulls, and they do not affect your credit score. If you are tired of the endless junk mail, opt out, but do not assume that will build your credit.
Myth 2: Closing Out Credit Cards Will Improve Your Score
Time.com points out how all too often consumers close credit cards to improve their score. The mistake, however, is that you are removing open credit lines. When you have large available credit lines and small balances, your score improves.
Also, closing out old cards can reduce the amount of positive credit history you have on your report.
So, keep the cards open. You do not have to use them, but you should at least keep them open to keep your score up.
Myth 3: A Higher Income Leads to a Higher Credit Score
Your income has nothing to do with your credit score. In fact, your income is not reported on your credit report what-so-ever.
Myth 4: Once a Debt is Settled, It Removes Itself from Your Report
This is profoundly untrue. Debt, including ones with negative payment histories, will remain on your credit report for as much as seven years from the date of the infraction. If you have a judgment or bankruptcy, those will stay in place for as much as ten years.
Myth 5: Credit Scores Take a Long Time to Lower
It only takes a few months of negative activity to lower a credit rating. Multiple collections, late payments, and charge-offs will do more harm than good. Also, it takes longer to repair a credit score than it does to bring it down.
Myth 6: You Only Have One Credit Score
The reality, you have multiple scores. It depends on which system pulls that score, and each credit scoring model will come up with a different score.
Myth 7: Paying Off Delinquent Accounts Improves Your Score
It will help, but it does not boost your score. Instead, the delinquency remains on your credit report for those seven years. However, the zero balance and showing it is paid in full shows prospective lenders you are serious about your debts.
Myth 8: Paying with Only Cash Improves Your Credit Score
You need to use credit to build credit. If you do not show positive payment history, revolving accounts, and any activity, your score will not increase. Without any activity, a company cannot gauge your ability to pay a debt. Therefore, using cash-only could harm your chances of credit in the future.
Myth 9: The Number of Credit Cards You Have Hurts Your Score
People are inclined to close out credit card accounts because they assume too many cards can hurt their score.
This is not necessarily true. If credit cards have a relatively small balance or no balance at all, they will not hurt a score. The only time they will is when they are first opened, but that slight dip returns.
In fact, some credit card experts have dozens of cards under their name to have a better FICO score, per Time.
Myth 10: Credit Reports are Accurate
This is untrue. There are numerous inaccuracies on a credit report. That is why each year you should request a free one to review it for errors. Correcting those errors could raise your score.
Myth 11: Any Negatives on Your Report Keep Your Score Low
While a negative account on your credit report hurts your score, the more time that passes and the more positive credit history you add, the less that negative activity impacts your score.
Recent information, according to Bankrate.com, is weighed heavier than past information. So, a negative report from five years ago will have little impact when you have had excellent history the last two years.
Bottom line, know the facts before you attempt to repair your credit. By understanding those common myths and misconceptions, you can help raise your score faster and more efficiently.