Myths about credit, unfortunately, are extremely common, even among people who purport to repair credit. We’ve previously compiled a list of common credit myths, which you can find in our Knowledge Center.
In this post, we’re going to focus on the top three credit myths that just won’t seem to go away, according to credit expert John Ulzheimer in a Credit Countdown video on the topic. Check out the video version at the end of this post.
While the general category of how much debt you owe does contribute 30% of your FICO score, the specific metrics regarding revolving utilization are just part of that category, not the whole thing. There are several other metrics included in this category, which FICO lists on their website. These include:
Therefore, your revolving utilization must necessarily be worth less than 30% of your credit score, although it is true that it is a highly valuable metric.
Prominent sources in the credit arena often advise consumers not to close their oldest credit cards, claiming that this will cause consumers to lose the benefit of the card’s age. In theory, this idea makes sense because your credit age is worth 15% of your credit score and it is directly connected to your payment history, which is worth an additional 35% of your score.
However, the problem with this advice is that you actually do not lose the age of a credit card once you close the account. In fact, according to John, credit cards continue to increase in age and contribute to your average age of accounts even after they have been closed.
Still, it is important to remember that closing a credit card is not completely free of consequence. When you close a credit card account, you no longer get the benefit of the unused credit limit that was associated with the account, which was likely helping your credit score.
In truth, this myth likely exists because employers can check your credit reports, but credit reports and credit scores are not the same thing. Your credit report contains information about your credit accounts, while your credit score is a three-digit number that represents how creditworthy you are deemed to be by the credit scoring model.
Furthermore, the credit reports that employers receive are different from the versions that are provided to lenders, and these credit reports do not come with credit scores.