1. Skip the Rent. If your landlord decides that he or she is sick of your slow payments, you can be reported to the credit bureaus. On top of that, your landlord can ask a collection agency to attempt to collect on your delinquent payments. Once that happens, the credit bureaus find out and report it.
2. Failure to Pay Medical Bills. With the rising costs of health care, even those with health insurance can find themselves facing high medical bills. Don’t ignore these bills, though. Health care service providers can decide to report your unpaid bills to the credit bureaus or send your account to collection. Collection accounts look especially bad on a credit report.
3. Ignore Library Fines. For many people, the idea that a $5 library fine could be harmful to their financial situation seems silly. However, not paying could cost you even more than what you owe. In order to collect more money and help ease strained local budgets, some libraries have been sending unpaid fines to collection agencies. Once your library fines go to the collection agency, it appears on your credit report. On top of that, the collection agency might add its own fees to the fine. Your $5 library fine could easily balloon into a $20 or $30 cost — and bring down your credit rating on top of it all.
4. Rack Up the Back Taxes. Your unpaid back taxes aren’t just a matter between you and the government. If you end up racking up unpaid taxes, the government can place a lien against you. A tax lien is one of those public records items that appears on your credit report and can drag down your score.
5. Miss Utility Payments. Make sure you pay your utility bills on time. And, if you move, make sure you are completely settled with the company. Even an address forward might not be enough to catch all your final bills; 30 days after your move, call the utility companies and make sure everything is squared away.
6. Buy a New Cell Phone. Increasingly, cell phone providers are checking your credit when you sign up for a contract. In some cases, the company performs a soft inquiry, and your score isn’t damaged. Other times, though, the provider runs a hard credit check. It looks as though you are applying for credit — even though you don’t think that you are.
7. Open a Bank Account. Not all financial institutions check your credit before you open an account, but some banks and credit unions do. Indeed, one of the reasons that your checking account might be denied is due to your credit report.
8. Cancel Your Gym Membership Improperly. When you sign your gym membership agreement, make sure you understand what actions you need to take in order to cancel your gym membership — and find out what the gym will do if you don’t follow proper procedure.
9. Disregard Traffic Tickets. If you have unpaid parking tickets or you ignore speeding tickets and other violations, your credit score could suffer. Don’t think that a violation in another state can be safely ignored . Whenever a ticket is written out, your license plate number is recorded, and it is run. They know who you are, and they aren’t afraid to report you. It may take a little longer, but unpaid tickets will eventually catch up to you.
10. Close Unused Credit Accounts. When you aren’t using your credit accounts, it makes sense to close them, right? After all, it’s not like you are borrowing money with those accounts anymore. Unfortunately, closing those unused credit accounts can have a negative impact on your credit score. Before you close an old, unused credit card, reconsider. Think about how long you’ve had the account, and how it has been helping your credit history length.
These are just a few of the ways that you can have a negative affect on your credit score. I advise you to do your research before you do anything to see how it will affect your credit score. What other ideas do you have that could be a negative affect on your credit score?