6 Surprising Things That May Lower Your Credit Score

Lindsey Skinner
August 15, 2013



So you’ve been paying off those cards, practicing healthy money management, and doing a yearly credit check. But is your score as high as it can be? You’d be surprised at what can lower your credit score. Don’t let these three unexpected practices negatively affect your financial standing.

1. Overdue Library Books

If you’re someone who still rents library books, beware of overdue items. Racking up overdue library charges can put a ding in your credit score. Don’t try to get away with a free book, just download it on your phone or tablet instead.

[More from Manilla.com: 10 Steps to a Financially Organized Life]

2. Parking Tickets

Dusty old books aren’t the only things out to get us — ignoring minor tickets, like parking violations, are also sometimes reported to the credit bureaus, so make sure not to let those tickets live in your glove compartment for too long.

3. Gym Fees

You have finally achieved those rock-hard abs and feel your gym membership is no longer necessary, make sure to correctly cancel your membership rather than simply ending payment. Everybody knows what a pain it is to visit the gym (and a blow to the self esteem with all those muscular bodies around!), but simply instructing your bank to stop monthly payments can be detrimental to a healthy credit score.

4. Late Rent Payments

Everybody hates it: the beginning of the month and a new bill to pay. If only we could live in a land where rent could be paid whenever we want! Sadly, rent payment is not usually flexible, and it needs to be paid on time. Landlords and property management companies have recently started to report payment history to some of the major credit bureaus, so slip that check under your landlord’s door on time to avoid a drop in credit scores.

[More from Manilla.com: 4 Financial Mistakes You Don't Know Until You Make Them]

5. Overdue Utility Bill Payments

Late utility bill payments may be affecting your credit score, as well. From unpaid electric bills to late internet payments, household utility bills can be an issue when they are ignored or are perpetually late.

6. Closing Credit Card Accounts

There is no better feeling than finally paying off a credit card and being completely debt free! And though it may feel right, closing those accounts may be damaging to a credit score because it could increase your credit utilization ratio. Rather than cutting all ties with lenders, find a way to use a credit card responsibly. Give yourself a spending budget and pay off the amount you use. Holding onto those old cards and using them here and there has a much better impact on a credit score than closing accounts altogether.

Lindsey Skinner works as a writer and editor for several websites devoted to helping understand personal loan agreements, giving good credit tips, and taking out an emergency cash advance loan. She is dedicated to helping with money management and budgeting, and making financial issues understandable to the general public. Lindsey just moved back from being abroad in Chile and is excited to be working and living in California.

More from Manilla.com: