Before your can repair anything that affects your credit score, you need to separate the often confusing difference between “scores” and “reports;” credit scores are not the same thing as credit reports. A credit report is a history of all your bill payments, loan balances and delinquencies. Scores are merely a compilation, by the three reporting bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, of what has transpired in those reports. Now that you understand how the players in the game operate, here are the top 10 things affecting your credit score not necessarily in any order of importance:

1. Credit reporting errors. A recent FTC (Federal Trade Commission) study said that five percent of all consumers using the three reporting agencies identified glowing errors on their reports that could lead to a lower credit score like paying more for vehicle loans, mortgages, and other financial items. It’s a fact that reporting inaccuracies often can sprout like poppies in a vacant field. It’s called “human error,” folks.
2. Having a history of delinquent payments. Whether you know it or not, past and current problems of missing or late payments (even if it’s 30 days or less) contributes 35 percent to your credit score. Ergo, these quickly become collection accounts that are not easily fixed.
3. Not knowing what’s in your credit report. It’s called “monitoring” and it should be addressed at least every six months. But you won’t know what’s in yours unless you have a copy and you get one free each year, courtesy of the U.S. government. There are companies who handle “monitoring” services, but verify their authenticity before signing any paperwork that exposes your SS number.
4. Heavy uses of credit cards can affect your credit score. Get a bank debit card instead and stash your credit cards away. Always leave your credit cards “open” and don’t cancel any as that will negatively affect your credit score.
5. Ignoring payments on bills. If you toss monthly bills in the trash sooner or later it will hit the reporting bureaus and marked as a “charge off” that will really affect your credit score.
6. A foreclosure, short sale, or defaulting on a personal loan of any type will be a glaring negative notice on your credit history.
7. All your credit cards where the high limits have been reached and you can’t make payments.
8. Filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will eliminate most all of your debts, but will be a “red flag” on your credit history and score for seven years.
9. Getting a court judgment against you proves you’re a “deadbeat” to the courts and your debtors. When it hits the credit agencies, you’re “toast.”
10. Credit scores are the “heart” of your personal life. A 600 FICO can put you in “borrowing jeopardy.” Therefore, your credit score is your life shadow; don’t step on it.