Can I accidentally damage my credit report?

Avoid hurting your credit score without even realizing it.

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When it comes to negatively affecting your credit score, some problems are obvious — like defaulting on a personal loan or declaring bankruptcy.

But sometimes it’s not so obvious. For instance, you might find that your “very good” credit score has dropped to a lower range for seemingly no reason whatsoever. Here are a few issues that you might not be aware can affect your credit score and your overall credit history.

4 things you didn’t know could drop your credit score

1. Relocating

moving house

When you move, several steps in the process can affect the health of your credit report. For example, you could forget to forward your mail, rending a lender unable to reach you for six months or more following a defaulted payment. Among the chaos of moving, the default may not be on your radar in the first place.

When you move, make sure to update your new address with your creditors and financial institutions. Consider filing a forwarding address with USPS to make sure you receive your mail for months beyond your move date.

2. Attempting to open new credit

Lannister pays debts

Every time you apply for a loan, credit card or other credit accounts, it’s listed on your credit report. If you make too many inquiries in a short space of time, it could negatively affect your credit report and pull down your credit score.

Before you apply with a lender, find out whether they will check your credit report — what’s called a “hard pull” — as part of the process. When comparing your options, take into account whether you’re required to formally apply to receive the terms and conditions of your potential loan. Only apply if you’re looking to actually take on the credit account.

3. Not managing your autopay

managing repayments

Automated payments from your debit or credit card can be convenient and help you manage your bills and credit accounts more easily. But if your cards expire or get stolen, you’ll need to remember to set up autopay on the new cards to avoid late or missed payments. A negative payment history will end up on your credit report and could affect your overall financial standing for years to come.

Find out why your score may have changed

4. Paying a utility bill late

homer stealing pay bills

People often misunderstand the effect that utility accounts can have on a credit score. If you have an overdue or delinquent utility account, it can be listed on your account as a default.

Curious about your credit score?

Updated December 9th, 2019
Name Product Starting price Trial period Credit scores Credit monitoring Credit reports Update frequency
$19.99
30 days
TransUnion
Equifax
Experian
Yes
TransUnion
Equifax
Experian
Monthly
Annually
Get your credit report and FICO score for just $1 with enrollment in Experian CreditWorks credit monitoring. Cancel anytime.
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1 day
TransUnion
Equifax
Experian
Yes
TransUnion
Equifax
Experian
Monthly
Get quarterly access to your most widely used FICO® Scores and a 3-bureau credit report.
$24.95
No
TransUnion
Equifax
Experian
Yes
TransUnion
Equifax
Experian
Monthly
TransUnion credit score, monitoring and identity theft insurance.
$15.95
No
TransUnion
Equifax
Experian
Yes
TransUnion
Equifax
Experian
Monthly
Monitor your key business relationships to protect your company from losses.
$19.95
7 days
TransUnion
Yes
TransUnion
Monthly
$1 for a seven-day trial to get access to your credit score and credit report from TransUnion.

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated December 9th, 2019
Name Product Monthly Fee BBB Rating Customer Support Cancel Anytime
$25
A
Phone
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Online Chat
Yes
Save money and build credit with a secured-installment loan that you can access after 12 or 24 months.
$99.95
F
Phone
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No
Specializes in clearing your credit report of inaccurate items with all three credit bureaus.
$19
A+
Phone
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Yes
Get a free consultation to help identify erroneous items on your credit report.
$89.95
F
Phone
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Yes
Law firm that offers three tiers of credit repair suited to your situation.
Credit Firm Professional Credit Repair
Credit Firm Professional Credit Repair
$49.99
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Yes
Professional credit repair service that can help you create a step by step action plan. Cancel anytime.
$79
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Professionals work with you to clean up your credit and raise your credit scores. Cancel anytime.
$79
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Free credit report and monitoring that comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee.

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