How can I find out which accounts are hurting my credit?
When you order your personal credit report from Experian, it will include all of the account information being reported to us. Any account that may be considered negative by your lenders or others viewing your credit history will be listed under the section called "potentially negative items." The key word in this section is "potentially." Experian doesn't make judgments about the information in your credit report, but based on experience, it identifies those accounts that are likely to be viewed as negative by your lenders.
For example, if you have an account that shows a delinquency, past or present, that account will be listed in this section so that you can identify it more easily.
Knowing Your Risk Factors Can Help You Improve Your Credit Score
Sometimes, however, the factors that are impacting your credit score negatively may not be so easily identified. For example, even if you always pay on time, your balances may be too high, or you may not have sufficient credit history.
For that reason, we recommend that you order your free credit score in addition to your credit report. The score will come with risk factor statements that describe the things that are having the most negative effect on your credit scores. You can use those risk factors to better understand how lenders might evaluate your risk and to identify actions you may take if you need to improve your risk position and get better scores, such as paying down balances on your revolving accounts.
Steps to Improve Your Credit Score
Although knowing your risk factors is key to improving your credit score, there are a few things that anyone can do to increase their scores:
- Bring any past due accounts current. Lenders want to see that you can manage the debt you have before taking on new credit. If you have an account that is past due, the first step is to bring that account current.
- Make all payments on time going forward. Making payments on time is the most important factor in credit scores. Even one missed payment can cost you in the form of late fees, an increase in interest rates, and a decrease in your credit score.
- Enroll in Experian Boost®ø. This free service allows you to get credit for your on-time utility and cell phone payments. It's fast, easy, and you'll get an updated FICO score once enrollment is complete.
Thanks for asking.
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist