3 Ways You May Be Accidentally Ruining Your Credit

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As a country, we have not-so-perfect credit. Taking a page from the book of Chris Rock, other nations may actually decide to stop taking our cash. All kidding aside, in 2013, Standard & Poor’s gave the U.S. a credit rating of AA+ over the long term and A-1+ for the short term. This was a reduction that ranked the U.S. lower than several other nations, like Canada, France, and the United Kingdom (to name a few).

Individual households do not have perfect credit, either. According to the website Governing, the average credit score for individual consumers is 687. In states like North Dakota and Vermont, the average credit score is a bit higher: in the low 700s. In yet other states like Texas, Georgia, and Mississippi, the average score is 15 to 20 points below the national average. A score lower than 680 crosses the border, going from a decent score to a score that is only fair, which may impact your ability to take out a loan.

Many of your financial behaviors and decisions impact your credit score. Of course, major life purchases like a home or a car affect credit. Paying bills on time impacts a score, as well. Paying all of your bills as scheduled renders you ahead of the game (and many Americans), but does not guarantee you a perfect credit score. The impact of some financial decisions is not as plain to see but can still lower or raise your score. Here are a few things you may be doing that could be destroying your credit without you even realizing it.

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