Ask the Money Coach: How Do Small Collection Accounts Impact Your Credit Score?

Pay your bills; protect your credit

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You May Be Deemed “Risky” Based on What You Buy and Where You Shop

So what exactly are they watching? In a word: everything. They’re looking to see whether you accept credit card offers, online, in the mail or via telephone. They’re gauging whether or not you’re likely to take a balance transfer offer for the initial low interest rate – only to toss the card when the offer expires, or when a better deal comes along. They’re looking at the types of stores you frequent, and whether you spend money (that is, use your credit cards) at “risky” establishments, like bars, clubs and casinos.

They’re also poring over all manner of data regarding your housing, and that includes both renters and homeowners. For those of you who rent, they’re looking at whether you’ve consistently paid your rent or time, whether you’ve been delinquent, and whether you’ve ever been evicted.

For homeowners, they’re looking at how much overall debt you have, whether or not your mortgage is a fixed-rate or adjustable loan, whether or not you have a home equity loan or line of credit, and if so, how much you typically tap and how often. If it seems as if the credit industry has got a spotlight on you, it’s because they do. But you don’t have to be blinded by it – or blind-sided – if you manage your financial affairs properly.

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