When my son was 16, I made a decision that many of my friends with teenagers thought was a little "out there": I let him have his own credit card.
Even when you practice good fiscal fitness, your credit score can suffer a knock-out. Sometimes the steps you think make financial sense can actually harm you, even if you pay your bills on time, keep your debt to reasonable levels, and make purchases that are responsible, not frivolous.
That’s all good stuff and goes a long way toward establishing a solid financial footing. But there are things you may be doing — often with the best of intentions — that you could hurt your credit score.
Check out these five ways your actions could hurt your credit score.
I have a confession. I’ve worked in financial services for the past four years, but I haven’t checked my credit score in over a decade.
I’ve been a member of Hanscom FCU that entire time, but it wasn’t until I started working here this summer that I realized how risky it was to be in the dark about my score. I checked it once when I was about 20, and have basically just closed my eyes and hoped things worked out.
We regularly offer free classes to the public, called Lunch and Learns, on a variety of money topics. One of the most popular is our seminar on credit scores. The class takes the mystery out of understanding a credit score, and people have an opportunity to get their questions answered.
If you’re not used to reading them, credit reports can make about as much sense as a restaurant menu printed in a foreign language. At least in a restaurant, you can point to what someone else is having.
But if you don’t know how to read your credit file, you could make mistakes that could lead to your financial life being harder than it needs to be.
Here are some common misinterpretations people make with their credit reports and how to understand what you're seeing.
Hanscom Federal Credit Union offers free credit report and score evaluations because we know how much money they can save our members. More importantly, our credit report experts will give you specific actions you can take to improve your credit report, raise your credit score, and avoid credit problems in the future.
If you've never reviewed your credit report before, here's a peek at what will happen during the meeting: