You might be surprised to find out what factors can’t hurt (or help) your credit scores—so stop worrying about them!
If you’re like most people, you want squeaky clean credit so you can borrow money at low interest rates and pay less for insurance and security deposits. While it’s important to focus on factors that raise your credit scores, it’s also important to know what has absolutely no affect on them, so you don’t sweat the small stuff.!
Here are 9 factors that can’t hurt (or help) your credit scores:
Factor #1: Your Personal Information
Personal information—like your name, current and previous addresses, Social Security number, and birth date—is included on your credit report with each of the 3 nationwide credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). However, none of it has any bearing on your credit scores.
Instead, the information that’s used to calculate your credit scores includes:
- account information, like payment activity on your loans and credit cards
- public information, like a recorded tax lien or bankruptcy
- inquiries from lenders in response to your application for new credit
That means your marital status, gender, race, education level, and age are not used in any way to determine your credit rating.
Factor #2: Changes to Your Income
You may be surprised to know that your income isn’t included on your credit report and therefore earning less has no negative effect on your credit scores—as long as you continue to pay your bills on time. Of course, losing your job or business could severely affect your ability to do that. Even receiving unemployment or another type of public assistance will not hurt your credit scores.
Creditors generally get your income information from an application you submit. So, making less money could be a stumbling block to getting new credit because in addition to your credit score, your income, expenses, and job stability are taken into consideration by a lender.
Factor #3: Using a Debit Card
Debit and credit cards look alike—but that’s where the similarity ends. Your bank activity isn’t listed on your credit report. So while using a debit card or a prepaid debit card is convenient for making everyday purchases, it won’t help you build credit.
Factor #4: Getting Turned Down for Credit
If you’ve been turned down for credit, you may be worried that this can hurt your credit scores. Don’t. Your credit report doesn’t show whether an application for a loan or credit card was approved or declined. So, it may hurt your feelings but it definitely won’t hurt your credit scores.