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6 ways to kill your credit score

Lenders, insurers, landlords and others will charge you more or flat-out reject you if you show up with a low FICO score. Here's how you may be doing yourself harm.

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Be too tidy
The bigger your balance relative to your credit limit, the lower your score.

But while it may be tempting to close out a credit card account when you transfer the balance to a lower-rate card, you may inadvertently hurt your score. That's because your total balance stays the same but your credit limit goes down when you close an account.

Say you have three credit cards with a combined credit limit of $24,000 ($8,000 each) and you owe $6,000 total. Your balance represents 25% of your credit limit. If you then close out one of your accounts, your credit limit goes down to $16,000 but your debt is still $6,000, which now represents 37.5% of your credit limit.

To boost your score: Don't close unused accounts when you transfer debt.


Be a bad-timing big spender

Be a slacker

Be too thin

Be too young and eager

Be too tidy

Be too nonchalant
Saving and spending aren't the only factors affecting your net worth. How you manage (or don't manage) your assets and liabilities can make a big difference, too. (more)
You don't have to spend a lot of time to put your financial house in order. (more)