6 Silly Ways to Wreck Your Credit Without Realizing It

Shocked woman with credit card
gpointstudio / Shutterstock.com

Seeing your credit score drop is rarely a laughing matter. A low credit score can prevent you from getting a decent loan, might keep you from landing a job and can even prevent you from renting a decent apartment.

So even though a tumbling credit score is deadly serious, the way you arrive at such a free fall can be downright silly. Following are six ways some careless behavior can cause your credit score to drop — even if you aren’t aware it’s happening.

Opening a credit account for the sign-up bonus

Credit card application
karen roach / Shutterstock.com

Buy a sweater, and the clerk will offer a 15 percent discount if you sign up for a store credit card. Stroll through the airport, and an airline representative will pledge to give you 50,000 free miles in exchange for signature on a credit card application form.

That sign-up bonus may look great now, but the credit card company almost surely will do a “hard pull” on your credit report to check your creditworthiness. And when that happens, your credit score will dip.

Failing to pay your library fines

Sad lady in library
Lipik Stock Media / Shutterstock.com

Yes, that book is due back at the library. But you’re busy. You’ll do it tomorrow.

Let too many of those tomorrow’s pile up, though, and it could ding your credit score. As Money Talks News contributor Allison Martin reported in “11 Surprising Ways to Wreck Your Credit Score“:

My local library assesses a fee of 25 cents per day for each outstanding item. Once the account reaches $25, an additional fine of $7.95 is tacked on, and the entire account is forwarded to a collection agency.

Not bothering to pay taxes

Woman hides money
Vladimir Gjorgiev / Shutterstock.com

Do you burn with indignation every time you read how much the U.S. spends on defense? Does all that government spending on social programs send you into a tizzy?

Don’t use your righteous anger as an excuse to lodge a protest by stiffing Uncle Sam at tax time. As the good folks at TurboTax remind you, failing to pay a large tax bill could end up hurting your credit — and worse — if the IRS files a tax lien in court:

A tax lien can give the federal government a legal claim to every asset you own — including your home, your cars, or other property. And if it reduces your credit score, it can become more difficult for you to obtain credit in the future.

In 2017, the nation’s three largest credit-reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and Transunion — began a policy removing many — but not all — tax lien and civil judgment data from consumers’ files.

So, you could technically try to hoodwink the government and see if you can get away with it. But it’s a strategy that Money Talks News does not advise.

Ignoring your utility bills

Cold young woman by electric heater
Katerina Morozova / Shutterstock.com

Fail to pay your electricity or water bill, and you could find yourself being unable to power your toaster or to draw a warm bath.

Your credit score might take a hit, too. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

Most utility companies don’t report to the big three consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) whether or how regularly you pay on time. However, if you fail to pay a bill and it is sent to a collection agency, that debt could show up on your credit reports from any of the big three CRAs.

Forgetting to cancel a gym membership

Man points to bicep
Cookie Studio / Shutterstock.com

The holidays are right around the corner. Millions of Americans who pack on the pounds during those year-end festivities will wake up in January with bulging waistline — and a newfound determination to join a gym and start exercising.

Alas, many of those folks will end up throwing in the towel on their fitness routine after a couple of months. But that doesn’t mean they can just forget about their gym membership obligations.

Fail to pay your obligation as stated in the gym contract, and the fitness club could send your account to a collections agency — which in turn could eventually result in a dent in your credit score.

Closing unused credit accounts

anythings / Shutterstock.com

Under the heading of “no good deed goes unpunished” is a decision to close a credit account that you no longer use. This sounds sensible, even downright responsible. Close the account, and you no longer can ring up debt with it.

However, closing a credit card account means the total amount of credit available to you will drop. And when that happens, your credit score will fall too, according to the CFPB.

Do you know of additional silly ways you can hurt your credit score? Share them in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

8 Ways to Snag Extra Savings at Walmart
8 Ways to Snag Extra Savings at Walmart

Are you aware of all these ways to boost your savings in Walmart stores and at Walmart.com?

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom in Minutes
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom in Minutes

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

17 Home Maintenance Tasks That Save You Money
17 Home Maintenance Tasks That Save You Money

Here’s how to cut household costs and maintain your property’s value.

12 Things Everyone Should Stop Buying This Year
12 Things Everyone Should Stop Buying This Year

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

Do This With Your Mask Before Thanksgiving Dinner
Do This With Your Mask Before Thanksgiving Dinner

Before you sit down at the year’s biggest feast, make sure to properly care for your mask.

Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card
Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card

Credit cards offer many conveniences and protections, but sometimes it’s simply smarter to keep the plastic tucked away.

13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

8 Surprising Household Items You Can Sell for Fast Cash
8 Surprising Household Items You Can Sell for Fast Cash

Sometimes, the humblest household items are worth the most money.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.