If you are confused about your credit score, then the best place to start is to understand your credit history.
Simply put, this is a record of all your credit transactions. Take note that it does not record all your financial transactions. It will only record credit that is under your name. So no matter how much money you have in your bank account, it will not matter in your credit report. All it will really care about are the debts that are piling up and being borrowed under your name.
Although this is not the end all and be all of your financial situation, whatever is on your credit history will have a huge impact on your personal finances. This is why it is very important that you take care of what is placed in this report. You need to make sure that there is adequate information and that it will show how you are responsible with your credit accounts.
Unfortunately, there are statistics that show how illiterate some people are when it comes to their credit report and everything connected to it. According to CreditCards.com, the survey done by the American Bankers Association revealed how people are confused about their credit report and credit scores. They think that they are the same.
Well they are not. Your credit history and your credit report can be likened with each other but a credit score is an entirely different concept. Your credit report contains the history of your debts. Whatever is on your history will be the basis when computing for your credit score. This score will determine the financial opportunities and products that you can avail.
It is very important that you educate yourself about your credit report, because any confusion that you may have about it might jeopardize the credit score that will be derived out of it. There are many things that you need to know and let us start with the financial habits that could be ruining your credit history.
These little mistakes may be bringing your credit score down
When something ruins the history stated in your credit report, you can bet that it will affect your credit score. Although the bulk of the information you will get from the Internet involves credit card debt and how it can ruin your credit history, you should know that it goes beyond that. There are so many other causes of your credit downfall. So let us identify the entries that could be viewed as credit report problems. Knowledge of what they are could help you avoid committing these mistakes.
- Late home rental payments. Although they are not required to submit reports to the major credit bureaus, they are not banned from it. If you are regularly late on your rent, your landlord might report you – that can taint your credit history.
- Making car rental reservations. When you plan on renting a car, one of the requirements that will be asked of you is your debit or credit card. Either of the two will help guarantee that any damage that you will inflict on the car can be covered. However, you need to know that using any of the two have different effects on your credit history. If you use your debit card, the rental company will be prompted to conduct a credit inquiry on you. The same is not true if you use your credit card. An inquiry on your credit report will have an effect on your score so be careful about this. The best way to go about this is to reserve the vehicle using your credit card and then settle the bill with your debit card.
- Unpaid medical bills. This is actually not a small mistake but given the frequency of this debt, it deserves to be mentioned. According to WashingtonPost.com, 43 million Americans are currently burdened with delinquent medical bills. This data came from a report released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It revealed that one out of five credit reports are tainted by outstanding balances on medical debt. This type of debt is something that you cannot avoid when you need it the most. But despite that, it can be just as destructive as an unpaid credit card debt. Do not ignore this debt and try to negotiate how you can pay it off.
- Unreturned library materials. This may come in as a surprise. If you borrow a book or even a DVD from the library and you fail to return it, you will be charged with penalties. Some people know about this penalty but do not think twice about it because it is actually quite small – $0.25 a day. However, if your fine reaches $25, it will be fined further with $7.95. Most people, by the time it reaches this amount would have forgotten about it. But the library will make sure you will not because this is about the same time that they will forward your account to a collections agency. That could end up being a bad mark on your credit history. Think about it. If the lender sees that you cannot even pay a small amount, how do you think they will feel about lending you a bigger loan?
- Delinquent tax payments. We all know how aggressive the IRS can be when it comes to collecting taxes. You can be sure that even if you run from your tax obligations, the IRS will track you and make you pay. Not to mention the record that they will place on your credit report. It can really take a downward spiral very fast.
- Unfulfilled gym memberships. When it is time to cut back on expenses, one of the most common suggestions include gym memberships. If you fail to fulfill the terms of this contract, you will just be opening another way for your credit history to be tainted. Just pay off your obligations from this membership contract and cancel it. There are so many ways to stay fit without having to pay anything.
- Ignored traffic tickets and violations. Whether it is a traffic violation or a parking ticket, these can be a cause for your credit report to receive bad marks too. While it will not be a devastating downfall, it will still reflect a great deal about your credit behavior.
How to rebuild your credit report
A lot of us have gone through financial hell in the past few years and we have our ruined credit reports to show for that. The good news is, this is one problem that you can recover from. Here are some tips that we can give you to help build, or rebuild a good credit history.
- Choose the type of credit you will use. If your intention is to work on having a good credit history, then you need to use the right credit accounts. One of the accounts that you can use is an affordable secured credit card.
- Understand the simple rules of good credit behavior. When you start using credit again, you need to implement the right credit behavior. This includes paying on time, paying no less than the minimum requirement, etc.
- Be selective of how you use your credit. If it is not necessary, then do not buy it using your credit card. Also, make sure that you can afford to pay your dues and able to minimize the interest that you will pay on it.
- Monitor your credit report every now and then. According to MyFICO.com, your credit repair should begin with this. Make sure you get a copy of your credit report and check if there are errors on it. If there are, you need to dispute it. Sometimes, you exhibit the right credit behavior but after becoming a victim of identity theft, you end up with a botched credit history.
Here is a video from the Bank of America to help you with tips on how to build your credit from scratch.