1. Late library books.
Libraries turn over unpaid balances or late fees to collection agencies, which in turn may report those balances to the major credit reporting agencies.
Bottom line: Return your books on time!
2. Renting a car with a debit card.
Many car rental services include a clause in the rental agreement that states the company has the right to pull your credit report if you use a debit card as opposed to a credit card. This type of hard inquiry on your credit report can cause a small drop in your credit score.
Bottom line: Pay with your credit card.
3. Getting a new cell phone.
Opening a new cell phone account could cause a hard credit inquiry from the mobile provider. This won’t drop your score too much, but still smart to be aware of.
Bottom line: If you’re opening a bunch of mobile accounts, beware — these could add up!
4. Using a business credit card.
Many major credit card issuers require a “personal guarantee” when applying for a business credit card, putting you as the co-signer with your company on the card. Your credit could suffer if you or your company fails to keep up with the paperwork or payments.
Bottom line: If you need a corporate credit card for work expenses, find out if you’ll have to provide a personal guarantee.
5. Unpaid parking tickets.
Some municipalities turn in unpaid parking tickets to collection agencies. Having an account in collections can significantly hurt your credit score.
Bottom line: Avoid parking infractions, but if you slip, stay on top of your parking tickets and pay them off ASAP!
6. Buying a new motorcycle.
Motorcycle loans are often reported to the credit bureaus as “revolving credit” which make them look similar to credit card debt. This could lower your credit score, since such loans look no different than substantial credit card debt.
Bottom line: Think twice before you roll out on your new wheels.
7. A single late payment.
If a credit issuer reports a late payment on your account, it will affect your credit score. Note that most issuers don’t report missed payments until the account is 30+ days past due.
Bottom line: Pay your bills on time!
8. Ordering TV channels.
Some cable companies will run a hard inquiry on your credit when you sign up for cable. This type of inquiry only slightly negatively impacts your credit score.
Bottom line: Go outside and get some fresh air instead!