Credit has its fair share of myths, legends and misinformation. Pile on top the proprietary nature of credit scores, the formulas for which are closely guarded secrets, and navigating the credit waters becomes even more confusing.
It's time to dispel some common myths about credit reports, credit scores and credit cards:
1. Pulling your credit will hurt your credit score.
When you pull your credit report for your own educational purposes, it’s considered a “soft inquiry” and will NOT affect your credit score. On the other hand, when a creditor or lender pulls your credit report for the purpose of extending you credit or a loan, it’s a “hard inquiry” and may negatively impact your credit score.
2. Your income is factored into your credit score.
Your salary has nothing to do with your credit report and credit score. You may earn a solid income, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have good credit. They are separate.
3. Closing a credit card account will help your credit score.
When you close a credit card account, you may be affecting your “credit utilization.” Credit utilization is simply how much credit you use (total of all balances) compared to how much credit is available to you (total of all credit limits). When you close an account, you’re lowering the amount of credit that’s available to you, which may increase your credit utilization percentage. A higher credit utilization may negatively impact your credit score, as it suggests to a creditor or lender that you’re a higher risk.