GREENSBORO, NC -- NOOOOO! Don't close all your credit cards. This is not a gimmick. This is not a joke. And no, I'm not trying to lead you down the road of debt. Having open lines of credit actually helps your credit score.
Depending on your credit score, you can get you turned down for a apartment, a job or that store credit card But more often than not, your score won't keep you from getting that card or loan, however it could have you paying more for it.
Check out the cost of at the bottom of the graphic. It is a low credit score. That person will pay 9.3% interest on a loan. But the person with a credit score in the 700's would only pay 5.5% interest. The difference in dollars and cents is about $103,000 for the life of a 30-year mortgage loan.
Before you think, it's over and it's done. The good thing is, you have control of your credit score. Check out the factors that make up your credit score: 35% is your payment history. How often do you pay your bills on time or late? We're talking everything from your rent to your utility bills to credit card bills.
The next biggest portion, 30% is how much credit versus debt you have. The lower your debt and the more credit available, the better. Which means if you have a bunch of credit cards, don't go closing them all at once.
Certified Financial Planner Matt Logan made that mistake. "When I got married and was the responsible husband, I went and closed out all my wife's cards to Belk and Sears. And what I realized is I actually hurt her credit score." He decreased her available credit and therefore her credit score took a hit. You do want to pay off your credit cards, but you don't want to close them all.
The next biggest credit score factor is your length of credit history. Now this gets a lot of people under the age of 30 and folks who like to use cash. If you have a short credit history, they say you have a 'thin file'.
"A thin file is actually bad. It means you haven't borrowed money and they don't have a history on you, " explains Logan. "It's hard for them to put a number on you as far as risk level."
How do you fix that? Start borrowing money. Logan isn't saying you should charge a bunch of stuff and create debt. His recommendation is to get a card and charge your gas on it all the time and pay it off every month.
That will help build your credit. (Oh, and pay the rest of your bills on time, really!)
DISCLAIMER: Matt Logan Inc is an independent firm with Securities offered through Summit Brokerage Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC. Advisory services offered through Summit Financial Group Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Summit Brokerage Services, Inc., its affiliates and Matt Logan Inc. do not give tax or legal advice. You should consult an experienced professional regarding the tax consequences of a specific transaction. These are the views of Matt Logan Inc, and not necessarily those of Summit Brokerage Services, Inc. and any of its affiliates and should not be construed as investment advice.