Top 5 Things That Don’t Hurt Your Credit Score

February 13, 2024

With many real estate and economy experts predicting mortgage rates could continue to fall into 2024, that could mean an increase in home sales. Many more people will soon be paying closer attention to their credit score as they look to apply for mortgages.

A person’s credit score plays a key role in their financial health by serving as an indicator of their creditworthiness. The score impacts a person’s ability to access credit cards, mortgages, car loans and more. 

There's more than one credit scoring model available and more than one range of scores. However, these are the most common credit scores ranges:

  • 800 to 850: Excellent

  • 740 to 799: Very good

  • 670 to 739: Good

  • 580 to 669: Fair

  • 300 to 579: Poor 

The average credit score in the United States is 698, based on VantageScore® data from February 2021. You can find the average credit score by state here

You may already know that certain behaviors – such as paying your bills on time, every time – can reflect positively on your credit scores. But it’s also important to know that not every action will directly impact your credit scores at all, either positively or negatively.

Here are five things that don’t hurt your credit:

  1. Using a debit card instead of a credit card. When you pay with a credit card, you’re essentially borrowing the funds to pay back later. With a debit card, you’re using money you already have in an account. No borrowing is involved and debit card information doesn’t appear on your credit report or in credit scores.

  2. Getting a pay cut. Your income generally isn’t a factor used to calculate credit scores and it isn’t included in your credit report. However, some lenders and creditors may consider your income information – with your permission – when evaluating a request for credit, like an application for a mortgage or an auto loan.

  3. Getting married. If you get married, you’ll still have your own individual credit reports and scores, and so will your spouse. However, if you open joint credit accounts, those will be visible on both you and your spouse’s credit reports. 

  4. Having a credit application denied. A denied credit application won’t affect credit scores. Keep in mind that if you were applying for XYZ, the application itself may result in a hard inquiry - when the bank looks at your credit -  which may negatively impact credit scores.

  5. Having high interest rates. Interest rates and annual percentage rates (APRs) on your credit accounts don’t appear on your credit report and aren’t a factor used to calculate credit score.

It is important to remember that these are just general guidelines and some factors may affect your credit score differently depending on your individual circumstances. If you are concerned about your credit score, you should talk to a credit counselor or a financial advisor. 

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