As they say, tis the season! But for many, the season comes with some major credit score declines. Lower credit scores lead to higher interest rates and denials. Credit scoring is complicated and many consumers cause damage to their credit score without even knowing it. It is important to understand some basics to ensure you don’t end up hurting your score.
1. Will that be cash or charge? Paying for your purchases with a major credit card has some advantages over cash. Many credit card companies provide extra protection or extended warranties on items you purchase using their card. Using credit allows you not to carry large sums of cash which will prevent you from losing it or becoming a victim of theft. The downside to using credit cards is it causes an increase in your credit utilization rate which leads to a lower credit score. Another downside is that it is harder to stick to your budget leading you to big bills come January. We all know how fast those charges add up.
2. Would you like to open a new credit card and take 5% off? Let’s face it; all retailers want you to use their cards allowing them to make more money. Opening new credit cards, for most, is not healthy to their credit score. New credit cards come with credit inquiries and lower your average age of credit both of which lower your credit score in the short run.
3. How did I forget to pay my car payment? We all live busy lives but this time of year seems to be the busiest. A simple mistake of forgetting to pay a bill can lead to a 30-day late payment which will cause havoc to your credit score. Keep your bills organized and avoid this mistake at all cost.
Follow these tips and stick to a budget this holiday season to avoid worrying about a lower credit score or excessive debts in the near future.