Credit scores are often a case of out-of-site, out-of-mind for many Americans. In fact, some will never check their score or only wait until they need to borrow to check it. But since it takes time to improve your credit score, it’s important to check it frequently. If you’re wondering whether checking your credit score lowers it and what the advantages are, here are four benefits:
It’s difficult to know what is and what is not working if you’re not checking in often. This is especially true when it comes to your credit score and financial planning. To put yourself in a great financial position, you’ll need to know what your credit score is and how your actions are influencing that score.
For example, if you’re repeatedly going over a 30% credit utilization ratio and knocking off points from your score month-to-month because of this, you wouldn’t know without checking on your score and history. In the same way, credit scores can often include your debt-to-income ratio, and a high ratio may result in a lower score. Armed with this information, you can create a detailed plan to target debt and other areas affecting your score and lower the overall score.
Changes and financial emergencies are unavoidable in life. And even if you have a robust savings account and liquid investments that can cover any and every cost, you may need a loan at some point. You may have to pay an unexpected medical bill, or lose your job. In these cases, getting a loan can act as a safety net in times of need.
Because of this, checking your credit score to see how much borrowing power you have keeps you knowledgeable of all types of loans that may be available to you. Knowing this, you can make swift, educated decisions on funding in times of need.
There may come a time when an invoice or payment will be misplaced, and a service that you use may record your account as delinquent. For example, if you submit a final water bill payment for your home before moving and they, for some reason, do not mark the payment received, they can ding your credit score as you have not fulfilled your obligation of payment.
Mail can get lost, and communication can fall through, but one place that will keep all of those issues in a single place is your credit report. By monitoring your score, you can resolve any issues early on rather than letting them sit for years and continue to harm your score.
When you check your credit score, you perform a soft inquiry on your score. A soft credit inquiry is when you use a third-party site to check your credit score, including breakdowns on credit utilization, credit age, borrowing history, and more. Soft inquiries don’t have any affect on your score, and won’t lower it.
On the other hand, a hard inquiry or hard pull is when a lender or credit card issuer will perform when deciding whether to approve you for a loan or credit card. Unlike soft inquiries, hard inquiries can lower your credit score. Avoid too many of these and utilize soft inquiries to understand your credit history without lowering your score.
Notice: Information provided in this article is for information purposes only. Consult your financial advisor about your financial circumstances.