3 Common Myths About Your Credit Score
For something so important, there seems to be a great deal of misinformation about what can hurt or help your credit score. Here are three big things we've heard, and the truth behind the fiction.
1. Close Extra Accounts to Improve Your Score
This is a huge misconception that is all too frequently dispersed. Did you know that closing accounts can actually hurt your credit score? It can. Now, it's true that too many accounts can negatively affect your score, but once you've opened them it's best to keep them in good standing. Credit scores are measured by comparing your available credit against what you're using. If you close accounts, your available credit decreases—which can actually bring down your score.
2. Peeking at Your FICO Score Will Hurt Your Credit
Again, not true. Let's clear the air about what inquiries harm your score. Applying for new credit can have a negative impact on your score. Requesting a copy of your own credit report or investigating your score does not. But it's all about timing. If you're buying a house, your FICO score will treat all inquires in a 45-day period as just one inquiry. Keep that in mind when shopping for a mortgage and you'll be no worse for wear. Check out www.Myfico.com for more on your score.
3. All Unfavorable Blemishes Can be Removed
By all means, if there's inaccurate information on your credit report, dispute it! Credit agencies are required to investigate inaccuracies or remove information within 30 days of notification. That said, be wary of so-called credit-repair agencies that can remove unfavorable, yet accurate, strikes on your credit report. Credit agencies see these scams from a mile away, so don't be taken in by someone preying on your desperation. Fixing your credit is like getting fit; it can be a slow and arduous process. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.