At Michigan First, our goal is to help you become money smart. Why do we care so much? Because healthy finances mean our members can breathe easier and plan for the future instead of living paycheck to paycheck. Credit mistakes aren’t limited to the very young – plenty of adults damage their credit without even knowing it. Here are a few mistakes that anyone can make – and reasons to avoid them at all costs.
Paying Bills Late
This happens in every age group, from college students to working parents to the elderly. It’s always a bad idea, though. Timely payments make up 35% of your credit score and can make getting loans in the future very difficult.
Your credit capacity, which is the ratio of the amount you owe on your cards compared to your credit limits, makes up a big chunk of your credit score. For example, if you have an $1,800 balance on a card with a $2,000 limit, this is bad news. Even with available cash to pay for it, a high credit card utilization rate can drag your score down considerably. Keep the ratio below 30% and you’re in good shape.
Old accounts with zero negative information are actually very good for your credit history and your credit score. Keep your oldest account open unless you absolutely have to close it – even if you don’t use it. A credit card you don’t use that carries a $0 balance can increase your available credit, helping your credit capacity ratio explained previously. Remember, Michigan First is here to help you with any credit questions you may have. If you’re looking for a great card that earns awesome Michigan rewards, check out our Experience Michigan First Rewards® VISA® – and give back to your state while building a solid credit history! For financial education regarding credit, savings, or general money tips – check out the rest of our blog.