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Don't Be Misled - 5 Common Credit Misconceptions

It doesn't matter if I miss a $10 credit card payment as long as I pay my higher dollar payments like my mortgage.

FALSE - Regardless of whether it's a $10 credit card payment or a $1,000 mortgage payment the impact to your credit score is the same.

I helped my child buy a vehicle but my credit won't be affected because I'm just a co-borrower.

FALSE - By signing the documents to secure the loan, you became jointly obligated for repayment. Any late payments your child makes on the loan will affect your credit.

A poor score will haunt me forever.

FALSE - Quite the opposite, your score is a snapshot of a particular point in time of your potential risk. Your score will alter with time and changes in your credit performance, with the heaviest weighting being given to your most recent credit activities. Past credit problems fade as time goes by and as recent positive data accumulates.

I have a $500 balance on one $500 limit card, so my score is high.

FALSE - Credit scores are partially determined by your capacity to borrow. Even though you only have a $500 balance, you have maxed out your capacity to borrow more. Another borrower who owes $500 on a $5,000 limit has a greater capacity to borrow and potentially a higher credit score.

To improve my credit score I opened a low-introductory-rate credit card and paid off and closed my older credit cards.

FALSE - You may save money in the short term, but by opening a new account and closing older accounts you could adversely affect your "Length of Credit" criteria and thus your overall credit score.

Keep track of your score each year - Did you know you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year from each of the three major credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. For more information visit*.

*THIS NOTICE IS REQUIRED BY LAW. Read more at FTC.GOV. You have the right to a free credit report from or 877-322-8228, the ONLY authorized source under federal law.