Credit Score Myths: Things That Actually Don’t Hurt Your Credit

We spend a lot of time on this blog offering credit best practice tips and suggestions, and telling you what not to do if you want to maintain a good credit score. However, credit can be a confusing topic — and whenever there’s a confusing topic, there tends to be a lot of misinformation out there on it. As it pertains to credit, there’s a lot of bad information out there about just what can and cannot hurt your score. We thought it would be fitting to take a closer look at some of the common credit score myths regarding things that people often think hurt their score, yet actually won’t. Here’s a closer look:

Fact vs. Fiction: What Won’t Hurt Your Credit Score

You might be surprised at just how silly some of what we’re about to share are, yet there’s information out there that suggest that they can have a negative effect on your credit score. Let’s dive in:

  • Library fees: Worried that any unpaid library fees will come back to bite you? Don’t. While such fines can be considered debt, they aren’t reported in the same way that unpaid bills or late payments are. Instead, library fines are reported through the municipality that they are due in. If they go unpaid for long enough, the fees may go to collections — but it won’t appear on your credit report.
  • Unpaid parking, traffic tickets: Like unpaid library fees, these are also reported via municipal records, so you’ll have to settle up with the body of government that the citation occurred in. You won’t get dinged on your credit report for this.
  • Getting married: Worried that your spouse’s sub-par credit score will haunt yours? Don’t fret — each of you have your own credit report, and while your spouse’s may be in rough shape, it won’t impact yours in any way. You don’t share a credit report, each of you have your own. It is true, however, that your spouse may have a more difficult time getting approved for a loan or may have to pay higher interest rates if both of your names are on a loan.
  • Getting laid off: Losing your job can be frustrating enough and create new kinds of worry. But a lower credit score due to an employment situation isn’t one of those worries. However, it is worth noting that job loss can make it more difficult to get a new line of credit. This is because lenders look at employment and employment history as factors to determine if you have a viable income stream to repay loans. If you don’t have a source of income, lenders will be hesitant to work with you.
  • Overdrawing your bank account: Bounce a check? Overdraft an account? In addition to any overdraft fee you may be on the hook for, rest assured that you won’t get dinged on your credit score because of this. This is because any personal banking information isn’t included on your credit report. Seeing as how your credit report dictates your score, it’s impossible for this to impact it in any way.
  • Checking your credit score: This one is half-true, as there are instances where credit inquiries may cause your score to dip, albeit minimally. This occurs during “hard inquiries,” which happen when a lender pulls your information after you’ve applied for a loan or line of credit. “Soft inquiries,” or instances where you check your own credit, don’t impact your credit score in any way.

Have you worried about any of the above impacting your credit score?