What’s the scariest thing about a good horror story? It’s not the ending. It’s the mounting fear of what potentially could happen!
Our imaginations conjure up worst-case scenarios anytime we feel out of control – like with personal finances. That anxiety fuels ridiculous myths that float around for years.
To ease your mind, here are a few bad credit myths that aren’t as spooky as they seem once you know the truth.
1. The feds own the credit bureaus.
The three credit bureaus in the U.S. are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. They are for-profit, publicly traded businesses that collect and sell your financial information under guidelines established by the FTC.
2. Education affects credit scores.
Your credit score doesn’t take into account if you got your GED or went on to get a bachelor’s degree.
It also doesn’t look at gender, race or nationality. It’s simply a measurement of your risk, calculated to help lenders determine how likely you are to pay back a loan based on payment history and debt.
3. Multiple inquires hurt your credit score.
While it used to have some merit, shopping for the best rates within a 30-day window won’t change your credit score anymore.
Inquiries will appear on your credit report, but multiple requests in a short period of time are often treated as single inquiry and have little impact on your score.
“It’s not uncommon to
have anxiety over finances.”
4. Checking your credit report hurts your score.
Checking your own report directly through the main credit reporting agencies is a soft inquiry. It does not show up on your report and does not impact your score.
However, if you go through a third party, like some credit monitoring service, it could show up as a hard inquiry because they are the ones pulling your report.
5. It costs money to see your credit history.
You can get free credit reports every year by going to AnnualCreditReport.com. You can get reports from all three agencies at once or space them out.
FICO credit scores will cost you $20 for each reporting agency. There are many other credit scores compiled by different companies, but FICO is generally the only one used by lenders.
6. Credit counseling hurts credit scores.
Getting help from a credit counselor does not impact your score. In fact, a counselor can help you budget and get your finances on track without involving lenders.
However, some actions they take may show up on your credit report, like if the counselor negotiates with your lender to reduce your debt, so know what you are getting into before you agree to anything.
7. It takes years to change FICO scores.
Your FICO credit score is calculated from your credit report, which updates every 30 days. It factors in your total debt, payment history and type of debt, among other things.
Since it is updated monthly, you always have new opportunities to boost your score.
It’s not uncommon to have anxiety over your finances, especially if you are struggling with bad credit. Knowing the truth about how it works will help you think clearly and work your way out of debt.
Photo source: pennycrazy.com.