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8 Explanations for a Credit Score Decrease

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Have you ever checked your credit score one day then checked it again and your score dropped? Because the credit score calculation is so complex, it could be hard to pinpoint the reason for a credit score drop, but these are some of the known causes of a loss of credit score points.

1. Your credit card or loan payment was more than 30 days late.

Your payment history has the most significant impact on your credit score. Payments that are more than 30 days late are reported to the credit bureaus and reflected in your credit score. Once the late payment shows up on your credit report, your credit score could drop.

2. You made an expensive credit card purchase.

Another important factor in your credit score is how much of your available credit is being used. If you make a big purchase on your credit card one month, you could see a credit score drop even if you pay the balance in full by the end of the month. That's because your balance could be reported before your payment was received.

3. An unpaid account was sent to collections.

To protect your credit score, it's important for you to pay all your accounts, not just your credit cards and loans. If you fall behind on your non-credit payments, they could be sent to a collection agency and included on your credit report.

4. Your last collection dropped off your credit report.

When calculating credit scores, FICO places people in different buckets, known as scorecards. Your credit profile is compared to other people in your scorecard to come up with your credit score. While you may have been at the top of one scorecard with the collection on your credit report, you may fall to the bottom of a different scorecard when certain negative information falls off your credit report. This type of credit score drop may only be temporary. Keep doing the right things and your credit score will improve.

5. You made a new application for credit.

New credit report inquiries count for 10% of your credit score. Any time you put in a new application, your credit score is at risk. Inquiries only affect your credit score for a year, so if that's the only inquiry you have, your credit score should rebound in 12 months.

6. One of your credit limits was lowered.

A lower credit limit has a similar impact on your credit score as charging an expensive item. If you have a balance on the credit card, your credit utilization goes up, and your credit score will go down.

7. You closed a credit card (or had one cancelled).

Closing a credit card is will likely hurt your credit score, especially if the card has a balance. Credit card issuers can also cancel your credit card, which also impacts your credit, not necessarily because the creditor closed the account, but because it was closed at all.

8. Your bankruptcy fell off your credit report.

When bankruptcy falls off your credit report after ten years, you'll likely move to a new credit scorecard. You could see a drop in your credit score because now your credit performance is being compared to other people who haven't filed bankruptcy.

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