5 Life Events That Could Impact Your Credit Score
Did you know that certain milestones in your life may impact your credit score? Here is a list of five life events that could have a positive or negative affect on your credit and finances.
1. Applying for Credit
When you apply for any kind of credit, including an auto loan, mortgage, or credit card, your credit report will reflect a hard inquiry from the potential lender. Your credit score, in turn, will likely drop a few points from this hard inquiry.
The good news is that, if you are granted credit and make consistent, on-time payments, your credit score should recover, and may even rise, relatively quickly.
How you managed your credit prior to getting married will only show up in your credit report. However, once you get hitched, any joint credit accounts you open—such as a home mortgage—will show up in both of your credit reports, as you are both responsible for the debt. And how you and/or your spouse manage these accounts will have a bearing on both of your credit scores.
If you go through a divorce, you’re still legally responsible for joint accounts from credit cards and loans you opened when you were married until the account is closed and paid off or your name is legally removed from the account. If these joint accounts are neglected while you go through your divorce—as in minimum payments are made late or not at all—this could negatively affect your and your soon-to-be-ex spouse’s, credit scores. So, while the two of you sort out finances, it is important to keep making at least minimum payments on joint, and all other, accounts.
4. Death of a Spouse
When a spouse passes away, just like with a divorce, you are legally responsible for credit card and loan debts on joint accounts. To help keep your credit score from going down, be sure to keep making on-time payments of at least the minimum amount due while you sort things out with your creditors.
5. Attending College
Attending college can affect your credit score in several ways. The first way is if one or both of your parents decide to add you as an authorized user to their credit card account. Depending on the credit card company, once you’re added to the account, activity on the account will be reflected on your credit report and affect your credit score.
The second way your college years could affect your credit score is if you open your first credit card during college. Because it’s your first, you must ensure that you make consistent payments of at least the minimum amount due on time in order to start building a good credit history.
Finally, if you take out student loans while you’re in college, this will be reflected in your credit reports and will affect your credit score. While student loans can be a great way to help offset the financial burden of getting an education, it’s once again important to make sure that, once payments need to be made, they are consistently made on time to avoid any negative impact to your credit score. If you should experience financial hardships and can’t make the payment, instead of defaulting on your loan, which will almost certainly negatively impact your score, reach out to the loan issuer to discuss repayment plans.
How you live your life can certainly affect your credit score. But did you know your credit score can also affect how you live your life? Check out this infographic to get a better understanding of what influences your credit score and what your credit score influences.
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult your own attorney or seek specific advice from a legal professional regarding your particular situation. Please understand that Experian policies change over time. Articles reflect Experian policy at the time of writing. While maintained for your information, archived articles may not reflect current Experian policy.