Your credit score can affect your ability to get a credit card, personal loan, or low interest mortgage. Everyone knows you should pay your bills on time to keep your credit score healthy. However, some aspects of credit scores can be confusing. Here, we’re busting seven common myths about your credit score.
Myth #1: Having a good job boosts your credit score
Common factors determining your credit score include credit usage, balances due, and length of credit history. Your occupation and income, however, don’t affect your credit score. While having a steady income always looks good when meeting with a lender, it won’t change your credit score, which focuses on credit behaviour, not earning potential.
Myth #2: Spouses have the same credit score
Your credit score is in your name only—you don’t share a credit score with your spouse, children, or other family members. If a debt is in your name and you fail to pay on time, your credit score will be the only one affected.
Myth #3: Each person has one credit score
TransUnion and Equifax are two trusted credit bureaus in Canada. The information each reporting agency receives for how you have used credit in the past may differ. Therefore, they may produce slightly different credit scores.
Since you can request a free credit report from each bureau at least once a year, you should order your report from one then the other every six months. That way, you can spot any issues with your credit report and fix errors in your information. However, it is important to note that each lender will have their preferred credit reporting agency with whom they trust, or they may weigh your creditworthiness with a system of their own.
Myth #4: You can only get credit scores from Equifax and TransUnion
The information on your credit report from Equifax and TransUnion will include full summaries of your credit history, such as your debt payment history, debts sent to collection agencies, and registered liens. Regardless of the credit bureau, each reports your credit score as a three-digit number based on your full credit report.
While you can get a credit score from Equifax and TransUnion, you can also receive credit scores from other providers, like Credit Karma and some financial institutions. Parties like Credit Karma or your bank might use different algorithms, so your credit score might be slightly different from the one you receive from Equifax and TransUnion. Unlike Equifax and TransUnion, other companies do not produce complete credit reports — they only provide the three-digit credit score.
Myth #5: Co-signing doesn’t affect your credit score
When you co-sign a loan, you become responsible for the debt. Failing to repay the debt on time can negatively affect your credit score as well as your co-borrowers’ scores.
Myth #6: Having no debt gives you a perfect credit score
Your credit score is based on your ability to manage debt. While living debt-free is a great way to stay financially responsible, it won’t give you a perfect credit score. In fact, if you’ve never taken out any credit at all, you won’t even have a credit score.
Myth #7: Asking for your credit score harms your score
Your credit score might be negatively affected if too many third parties inquire about your score within a short timeframe. These requests are called hard inquiries. However, requesting your report from a reporting agency won’t impact your credit score because it is a soft inquiry.