Managing your credit score is a huge responsibility. Even if you think that you’re the most conscientious owner at ensuring that your credit score is healthy and well, there’s still a chance that you unknowingly take a hit to your credit score.
Of course, everyone knows that missing a credit card payment has the biggest impact on your credit score, but there are other ways you can damage your credit score in Singapore.
Here are 3 ways you can unknowingly hurt your credit rating:
Applying for too many credit cards at once
It’s easy to get sucked into applying for several credit cards at once, especially when credit card companies throw some great sign up rewards at you – like immediate cashback, vouchers, or bonus miles/points. But what you may not know is that when you apply for several credit cards within a short period of time, you’re actually hurting your credit.
Because when you apply en masse for credit cards either to get the sign up rewards or to see who will approve you (shopping around) – credit card companies will believe either you had multiple rejections, or your applications were unsuccessful.
Regardless of the result, the credit bureau will lower your credit score if you make too many enquiries within a short amount of time. Because asking for several lines of credit at the same time makes the credit bureau suspicious.
If you’re applying for several credit cards at once, going after 1 or 2 at one time is a much safer bet.
Applying for numerous personal loans or a mix of loans and credit cards can have the same credit score reducing effect.
Cancelling the wrong credit card(s)
No one can blame you for wanting to cut down on the amount of credit cards you have. And if you’re looking for the right number of credit cards to have, credit card expert Serene Anne says 3 is the magic number.
But before you begin to cut your credit cards, make sure you choose the RIGHT credit cards to cancel. Otherwise, you could end up hurting your credit score instead of helping it.
When cancelling your credit cards, make sure you keep your scissors away from the following:
- Credit cards with the longest credit history
- Credit cards with the largest credit limits
You should avoid cancelling these cards for two important reasons: 1) cancelling credit cards with great long-term credit history removes any good work you’ve done to keep that good rating and, 2) cancelling credit cards with large credit limits can reduce your available credit and may affect your debt-to-credit ratio.
Using too much credit
Not monitoring how much credit you’re using on your cards is about as dangerous as driving to Johor Bahru with a broken fuel gauge – you’re basically pulling the lion’s tail hoping that it won’t turn around and take a swipe at you.
When it comes to using too much credit, the formula is quite simple – if you’re using 50% or more of the available credit on your card(s), you’re already taking a hit on your credit score.
That means if you have a credit card with a $20,000 limit and you’re using $10,000+ on it, get it under the $10K mark to reduce the damage to your credit score. So keep up to date on how much credit you’re using, and remember that the less credit you utilize on your credit cards, the safer your score will be.
On a final note, stay AWAY from maxing out any credit card! Next to missing payments, nothing will drop your credit score worse than cards that are maxed out.
Already committed some of the above actions? Read how to get your report and remedy your credit score.
Has your credit score dropped because of these or other actions? Share your experience with us below!
Header image credit: JudeanPeoplesFront via Flickr