Your Credit History is More Important Than Ever, and Protecting It Should Be a Priority

Published On: October 18, 2023640 words3.2 min read

In today’s financial landscape, maintaining a healthy credit history is paramount. Many individuals only realize the significance of credit when there’s an immediate need, which often leads to hurried efforts to correct errors or enhance credit scores. Rectifying mistakes on credit reports or improving credit scores isn’t an overnight task, and a subpar credit score can notably escalate your auto loan or mortgage rate. This increase leads to additional expenditures ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Given that it can take up to 90 days to meaningfully alter credit scores, proactive monitoring of both your credit scores and reports is non-negotiable. Each of the three big credit bureaus utilize different scoring software so scores can vary, and many creditors do not report to all three credit bureaus, perhaps only one or two, causing additional variance in scores. Fortunately, individuals are entitled to one free report annually from each bureau without affecting their scores.

Debunking Credit Myths and Misconceptions

Myth: “Disputing a Bill Means Delayed Payment is Okay”

Contrary to popular belief, failing to meet minimum payments due to dispute will negatively affect your credit. Bureaus are unaware of your dispute, their systems only track payment histories and a late is a late. It’s advisable to pay the disputed amount and seek a refund upon resolution. This approach is especially crucial for medical disputes as unpaid bills often get sold to collection agencies after 30 days.

Myth: “Services Like Credit Karma Provide My Only Score”

This notion is false. Services like Credit Karma provide scores based on data from one bureau over the last 12 months, potentially omitting a great deal of credit history both good and bad. For instance, the mortgage industry requires a seven year history and a public record search from all three bureaus, often resulting in slightly lower scores than those provided by Credit Karma.

Myth: “Credit Report Inquiries Lower My Scores”

This depends on the scenario. While applying for multiple credit cards within a short time frame can substantially lower scores, multiple inquiries from an auto dealer or a mortgage lender typically has minimal impact.

Myth: “Consolidating Credit Card Debt is Beneficial”

This is generally not true. Carrying balances on several cards that are below 50% of their maximum limits is better for your credit than maxing out a single card, even if the latter has a lower interest rate.

Myth: “Co-signing Doesn’t Affect Me Unless There’s a Default”

Though technically accurate, co-signing will affect your credit history if the primary borrower carries a large balance or misses payments, potentially hindering your ability to borrow in the future.

Understand the Influencers

While timely payments enhance credit scores, it’s crucial to understand various factors influencing your score, including:

  • Payment History: It’s vital not to miss due dates.
  • Credit Card Balances: Keeping balances below the regional average is beneficial (check your State).
  • Credit Limit Usage: Maintaining a balance under 50% of your credit limit is recommended to avoid severe credit scoring penalties.
  • Credit Limit Exceedance: If necessary, request a limit increase before exceeding your existing limit.

Understanding and navigating your credit doesn’t have to be complicated. By debunking common myths and staying informed, you can ensure a healthy financial future.

Still Have Questions?

If you’re contemplating a significant financial decision like purchasing a home, your credit score will undoubtedly play a pivotal role. At Summit Mortgage we understand the nuances and intricacies of credit management and its impact on your mortgage options. If you have any uncertainties or simply wish to explore the best mortgage plans aligned with your credit standing, our dedicated team at the Summit Mortgage and Investment Company is here to guide and support you every step of the way. Feel free to reach out to us for a no-pressure conversation about your financial future and let’s pave the way for your secure and informed home investment journey together.

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