Finance, Get Out of Debt, Save Money

Common Credit Score Questions ANSWERED!

This is one of those topics that I really wish was taught in school. Credit scores can affect your entire financial future and they start the second you turn 18, but who understands credit at the age of 18? Definitely not a good system for developing good credit scores for young people!

I’ve compiled a list of 7 super important questions that a lot of people ask about credit, and I’ve answered them just for you guys. I really hope you learn something and if you want to save this post for future reference be sure to save it on Pinterest for later

 

If you have any other questions about credit cards/credit scores be sure to leave them in the comments and myself and the community will get back to you! If you need a little refresher on the basics of credit scores and how they work, be sure to check out the in-depth article we wrote all about credit

7 Things You MUST Know About Credit Scores

Q1: What is a credit score and why is it important?

A credit score is a number that takes into account all of your historical credit (both positive and negative). Your credit scores hows any possible lenders whether or not you’re going to be a risk to lend money to! So basically, it shows them whether or not you’re likely to pay back their money.

Your credit score is super important because any lender you ask for money is going to see it. If a lender thinks that you may default on a loan, they’re going to give you a higher interest rate so they can squeeze money out of you while they have the opportunity. A bad credit score can really cost you money. 

Q2: Who can see my credit score?

Your credit score is seen by any company you ask for money. This could include credit card companies, car companies, mortgage firms, and more. Your credit score is calculated by Equifax and Transunion separately and they do some minor monitoring of your score as well.

When a lender checks your credit score, it’s considered a hard inquiry and can actually decrease your credit score by a few points. This is why you should try and not ask for too much credit close together because it can seriously impact your score.

There are also companies like Credit Karma where you can see your own credit score for free, and this is only considered a soft inquiry and won’t hurt your score. 

credit card rules

Q3: Does my income impact my credit score?

The amount of money you make will not affect your credit score directly, but your income can be used by lenders to determine if you’ll be approved for a loan, to begin with.

Your credit score is based on your ability to spend and use money intelligently, but it has nothing to do with how much money you have/make. A person with a yearly income of $100,000 can easily have the same credit score as someone who makes $25,000. It all depends on if the person uses their money intelligently!

There is one small percentage of your credit score that may be slightly impacted by the amount of money you make, and that’s your debt-to-income ratio. This means that if you have double the amount of debt that you have compared to the amount of money you make, your score will be hurt. 

Q4: Should I close old card accounts that I no longer use?

The answer to this question depends on whether or not it’s a positive or negative account!

If your balance on a card now is 0, and you’ve never missed a payment, keep that card open! There’s a part of your credit score that takes into account your length of credit history. This means the longer you have credit open, the better your score can be!

The only time I’d recommend closing a credit card account is if you’ve had a history of missing payments or paying late.

One thing you need to realize is that the more credit you have available to you, the lower your credit utilization rate will be. This means if you have a ton of credit available to you but only use some of it, your credit score will improve. If you keep your accounts open and are at least active a little bit, you can increase your score. 

Q5: Why is my credit score different on different websites?

There are a few different websites out there where you can find your credit score without performing a hard inquiry. If you’ve checked a couple places you can usually see that the score is off by a few points.

This happens because different companies use different credit reporting companies to get your score, and these different companies use slightly different algorithms to apply weights to the five different sections of your score. Once a year you’re allowed to get a free credit report from Transunion and that’s the number that you should give the most weight to, but don’t worry too much about the variance in scores. 

Q6: How long will a negative item stay on my credit report?

A negative item will stay on your credit report for 7 years. I really like this amount of time because it’s also the amount of time it takes for the cells in your body to regenerate! I just like comparing the too because I’m a huge dork haha. Every 7 years you get to be a bit of a different person!

This means that the financial mistakes you make at 23 will only affect you until your 30, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t the worst thing to ever happen. At least they won’t follow you forever.

The only thing that stays on an account longer than 7 years, is if you file for bankruptcy. In that case, you’ll be stuck with it for at least 10 years. 

Defeating boredom is a great tip to stop overspending

Q7: What category impacts my score the most?

The category of your credit score that impacts it the most is your payment history. This means that the best way you can keep your credit score consistent is by making sure you make at least the minimum payment every single month. The second you start missing payments, your score will drop super fast. 

Final Thoughts

Credit scores and credit cards don’t have to be confusing. With a little help from yours truly, we can work through this and get you in that coveted 800+ credit score club.

I really hope I’ve been able to clear some things up for you and answer some of the most important questions about credit scores. If you learned something let me know in the comments and if you have any questions, ask them and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible! 

Hey! My name is Taylor O’Halloran and I’m a huge fan of saving money any way I can.I’m obsessed with dogs and I love all kinds of cheese even though my stomach hates it.  I’m a recent university graduate who just wanted to do her own thing and see what happens! Follow me on the journey!

Taylor O'Halloran

Hey! My name is Taylor O'Halloran and I'm a huge fan of saving money any way I can.I'm obsessed with dogs and I love all kinds of cheese even though my stomach hates it.  I'm a recent university graduate who just wanted to do her own thing and see what happens! Follow me on the journey!

25 Comments

  1. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100 certain. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    1. notquiteanadultbiz@gmail.com says:

      It didn’t cost me too much, I only spent like $80 for my web hosting for the year and I used a free wordpress theme. You can do a lot with a blog for under a hundred dollars. If you want more information you should check out Elna @ http://www.twinsmommy.com she writes a bunch of posts about starting a blog and that’s where I got a lot of my information.

  2. You can definitely see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

    1. notquiteanadultbiz@gmail.com says:

      Aw thank you! Thanks for reading

  3. This is an awesome post! My husband and I are looking into buying our first home within the next year or so and these tips are very helpful.

    1. notquiteanadultbiz@gmail.com says:

      Get your credit score up and the interest will be lower! Congrats on looking for your first home! That’s exciting 🙂

  4. While I don’t really believe in a credit score (I follow Dave Ramsey and was raised and told that everything needs to be paid in cash), I LOVE this. If you ARE going to have a credit score and try to build it, you need to do it right, and soooooo many people don’t. Thanks for sharing!

    1. notquiteanadultbiz@gmail.com says:

      It’s pretty hard to avoid having a credit score in the modern world so it’s good to know how it works!

  5. This is informative. Thanks for sharing – really helps a lot 🙂

  6. I never understood why we have a ‘credit score’ you can pay your monthly bills and late one day bam its messed up

    1. notquiteanadultbiz@gmail.com says:

      It’s just another way for banks to justify charging us more money! It’s all crazy how it works but you just have to work with what the system gives us, I guess.

  7. I wish I had this when I was just starting out! This a great resource for college kids especially. Thanks for sharing!

    1. notquiteanadultbiz@gmail.com says:

      Thank you so much!!

  8. This is great and educational! I think it’s a good reference to pass around! Thanks for the effort of putting it together!

    Sincerely,
    Ophelia

    NYC Petite Fashion Blogger

    1. notquiteanadultbiz@gmail.com says:

      Thank you so much! 🙂

  9. Currently going through a credit score dilemma and this was extremely helpful. This is not what I had in mind when I wanted to start living an adult life. haha

    1. notquiteanadultbiz@gmail.com says:

      Ahhh, I don’t think any of us are prepared for what real adulthood brings. Good luck with your dilemma!

  10. I love how you remember how long “bad” things stay on your credit. I’ll never forget that now. Great and helpful info. Why don’t they teach up this stuff in school?!

    1. notquiteanadultbiz@gmail.com says:

      Haha! I have tons of weird ways to remember all sorts of weird things! You get to be a whole new person in 7 years!!!! It’s exciting.

  11. This is really informative! Thank you so much for sharing it.

    1. notquiteanadultbiz@gmail.com says:

      Thank you so much!

  12. It so sucks that missing a credit card payment will drop your credit score so much. Life happens and I have missed a couple times, boy its so hard to get it back up as well. Its good to have credit cards and then it isn’t.. Why is adulting so hard? LOL!!!!

    1. notquiteanadultbiz@gmail.com says:

      Haha! “Why is adulting so hard?” is the exact question that pushed me to start this blog! I just always make sure that I pay my minimum payment at least the second I get the bill, no matter what. I’ve managed to never miss a payment! Woot!

  13. Credit scores can be so confusing so this is a great resource! Thanks for sharing!

    1. notquiteanadultbiz@gmail.com says:

      They really can be, but once you’re able to understand them it makes everything so much easier for you!

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