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Reviewing Your Credit Report: Factors That Negatively Impact Your Credit History

Reviewing your credit by regularly checking your credit scores and reporting is smart. But do you understand what factors contribute negatively to your credit report and overall credit history?

There are a number of factors that can adversely impact your credit standing. To effectively monitor your credit, you should be aware of what things are bad for your credit report and overall credit profile and history.

Negative credit activity may impact your ability to secure new lines of credit, open new credit accounts, or secure better interest rates. That said, keeping regular tabs on your credit reporting and scores is important to your overall financial well-being.

Poor payment history

How you pay your bills is a key component of your credit history. Creditors want to see responsible habits when it comes to managing your current and past debt. The following payment behaviors could negatively affect your credit:

  • Late payments
  • Missed payments
  • Non-payments/ignoring bills completely

Too many credit cards and not enough available credit

Numerous recent credit inquiries and new credit accounts may flag you as a credit risk. Multiple credit card accounts that are maxed out or have little available credit could also hurt your credit.

Skewed debt-to-credit ratio

Similar to maxed-out credit cards (but on a larger scale), a bad debt-to-credit ratio may signal bad credit use. Basically lenders will look at how much credit you have used as compared to how much credit you have available. High balances on your credit lines could damage your credit history and profile.

Liens and foreclosures

If you cannot pay your mortgage and the bank forecloses on your home, it could leave a negative mark on your credit report.

Liens, which may be levied on your home by a creditor that you haven't paid, are also red flags in your credit report.

Bankruptcies

A bankruptcy can be a clear signal to potential lenders that you overextended yourself and could not manage your credit. Until a bankruptcy drops off of your credit report, it could hurt your your credit score.

Know what's in your credit report

Don't wait until you need to apply for new credit to find out what's in your credit report. Take a proactive role and monitor your credit reporting and scores regularly. Checking your credit data based on information at the 3 major credit bureaus - Experian, TransUnion and Equifax - will provide the most accurate assessment of your credit profile.

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