5 Money Matters That Won't Affect Your Credit Score


You already know that your credit score is a key number. Lenders use it to determine if they'll approve you for financing, and at what interest rates. But you might be surprised to learn what does and does not impact this critical number.(See also: 5 Financial Mistakes That Won't Hurt Your Credit Score)

If your goal is to boost your credit score, read on. It's important to know what factors you don't have to worry about.

1. Your salary

You might think that how much money you earn each year is an important figure when applying for a loan or credit. And lenders will ask you to verify your income whenever you apply for a mortgage or auto loan. But your salary has no impact on your credit score. This score measures how well you pay your bills and manage your credit. It doesn't measure how much money you earn. Getting a raise or taking a job with a bigger salary will not cause your score to budge up or down.

2. Your job history

Currently unemployed? It won't affect your credit score. Have you worked steadily for the last two decades, with no gaps in your employment history? This won't boost your score past any other consumer. Again, credit scores rise or fall depending on how you pay your bills and how you handle your credit. Credit score keepers are unconcerned with whether you've been fired multiple times or if you've been a model employee.

3. Marital status

Your credit score won't rise or fall because you're married or single. Your credit score is separate from your partner's. If your partner has bad credit, this will have no impact on your own score.

A partner with bad credit, though, could hurt you when you're ready to apply for a loan together. Lenders will look at all three of your credit scores, and all three of your partner's credit scores — each maintained by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — then use the middle score of whichever partner has the lowest scores.

For instance, if you have credit scores of 780, 750, and 790 from the three credit bureaus, and your partner has scores of 640, 680, and 700, your lender will use your partner's middle score of 680 when determining whether you qualify for a loan you are applying for jointly. (See also: 8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married)

4. Where you live

You probably know that where you live can cause the premiums you pay for homeowners or auto insurance to rise or fall. But where you live has no bearing on your credit score. You may live in the most expensive subdivision in the most expensive community in your state. This, however, won't automatically give you a higher credit score.

5. Your age

You might think you've become financially wiser as you age. You might even be right. But your age also has no impact on your credit score. However, if you have gotten better at paying bills on time and reducing your credit card debt as you've gotten older, this will improve your score.

What does hurt

Missing credit card, mortgage, or auto payments will send your credit score tumbling. If you are 30 days or more late on these revolving payments, you can expect your score to fall by 100 points or more. (See also: 5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment)

The same holds true if you declare bankruptcy or lose a home to foreclosure. These financial missteps can cost you 150 credit points or more. (See also: 3 Terrible Things Foreclosure Does to Your Credit)

Missed payments generally stay on your credit reports for seven years. Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings and foreclosures also remain on your report for seven years, while Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings remain for 10 years.

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