Your credit score is a powerful number based on how you pay certain bills, like credit cards and loans. But, there are some financial transactions you make in daily life that have no effect on your credit score — good or bad. Here are 10 of activities you don't have to worry about hurting your credit score.
Overdrawing your bank account can get expensive, especially if you have multiple overdraft transactions in a short period of time. Fortunately, those overdrafts won't hurt your credit score as long as you clear them up before they go to collections.
However, if your account remains overdrawn for several weeks and your bank ends up sending your account to a collection agency, your credit score will take a hit. This is because of the debt collection stemming from the overdrafted account, not the overdraft itself. The same goes for closing a bank account.
Information about your employer may be listed on your credit report, but your actual income is not. Creditors and lenders also use your income to decide whether to approve your application and how much you can afford to borrow. But having a high or low salary won’t directly impact your credit score. For example, a high salary won’t boost your credit score, nor will a low salary drag your score down.
Your salary might influence how you pay your bills, and payment history is included in your credit score.
Insurance companies check your credit score to decide whether to insure you and to calculate your insurance premium. Even though they use your credit score to make decisions about you, they don’t report your timely or untimely payments to the credit bureaus, so insurance payments won’t affect your credit score.
If you miss too many insurance payments, the insurance company will likely cancel your policy rather than send an unpaid balance to collections.
Child Support and Alimony
Child support and alimony payments won’t usually affect your credit score unless you fall behind on your payments and a collection agency has to get involved. In that case, your credit score could drop significantly. Not only that, you could be arrested and sued for the payments you missed.
Utility and Cell Phone Payments
Like insurance companies, many utility and cell phone providers check your credit score before extending service. But these businesses don't routinely provide your payment information to credit bureaus. Your credit score isn’t helped by timely payments on your utility or cell phone bills. However, if your account becomes past due, it may be passed on to a collection agency who would then list the account on your credit report leading to a credit score drop.
In most cases, paying your rent on time won’t help your credit score. In fact, the FICO score would ignore the rental trade line even if it appeared on your credit report. On the other hand, falling behind on your rent could lead to an eviction which would hurt your credit score and your ability to rent or get credit cards and loans in the future.
There is an exception: some landlords may report payments to Experian RentBureau. In those instances, rent payments can help your Experian credit score.
Checking Your Own Credit
You can check your credit report or score as many times as you’d like and your credit score won’t drop a single point as long as you check it through a reputable source, like AnnualCreditReport.com, the credit bureaus, FICO, or a legitimate third-party. However, having a lender check your credit score for you would appear as a hard inquiry, which would affect your credit score the same as an inquiry for a new application.
Your Interest Rate
Your credit score influences your interest rate and not the other way around. Having high interest rates on your credit cards and loans won’t hurt your credit score. Neither will low interest rates improve your credit score. But, there could be a correlation between credit scores and interest rates since lenders typically give the best rates to borrowers with the best credit scores.
One of the myths about credit counseling is that it’s just as bad for your credit as Chapter 13 bankruptcy. That’s not true. Though credit counseling may be reflected on your credit report, it won’t hurt your credit score. If a credit counselor is managing your credit card payments, you must make sure your creditor is getting your payments on time. Late payments hurt your credit score even if they’re coming from a credit counselor.
Your age isn’t included in the credit scoring calculation, but there could be a relationship between your age and your credit score. If you’re young, chances are you don’t have much experience with credit, which could limit your credit score. Someone older with more credit history has time for early credit mistakes to drop off their credit report, so they could have a higher credit score.
- At Jacara, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
- Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
- How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
- What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
- Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
- For every review on Jacara, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.