So what exactly CAN affect your credit score?
There are things that we know would be reported on our credit reports such as credit cards, financed vehicles, a mortgage. However, there are certain items that CAN appear on your credit report that you may not be aware of that can affect your FICO score.
Business Credit Cards: Many times when opening a business credit card, there needs to be a personal line of credit as a reference for extending credit to a business. This is usually more common with start-ups or other small businesses. Having a business card is both a good and bad thing to have. On the positive side, making your payments on time will help with the credit score associated with the business. However, any negative activity or missed payments affect not only the company, but also the personal credit of the card holder.
Getting a brand new cell phone: When a person is in the market for a new phone, one of the first steps prior to walking out with the latest Samsung Galaxy (or iPhone if you must) is to get a credit check and see if the customer is able to open a phone line and/or be eligible for any promotions available. When a phone company checks your report, it does so as a “hard inquiry,” which could lower one’s FICO score.
Unpaid parking tickets: It might seem like such an innocuous thing to have to pay, and many people seem to even forget they have an outstanding parking ticket, until they find out by checking their report of FICO. More and more municipalities, including Chicago and New York, have started to send unpaid parking violations to collection agencies. Having an account in collections greatly affects a person’s score negatively.
Ex-Spouse’s joint accounts: Just because the divorce decree said you’re not responsible for the debt, the creditor doesn’t legally have to remove you from the account. If your ex doesn’t pay their bills on time and a record of late payment history occurs, it will show on your credit report. For you to be removed from the situation they need to actually refinance the account, or close it and transfer the balance to an account that was not opened with you as a responsible party.
Overdue library books: With many local communities being on tight budgets, it’s no surprise that libraries are starting to get creative in regards to alternate forms of income. By collecting the overdue fees from patrons, a library can easily make a good amount of funds. Many ignore library fines; but now, libraries are holding families accountable for their overdue accounts by pursuing these individuals that owe money as well as even going through a collections agency, adding to that delinquency collections fees and penalties. Having an account go to a collections agency can significantly drop someone’s score by 20, 50, or even as much as 100 points.