Home > Credit Score > 3 Accounts That Could Hurt Your Credit Score

Comments 0 Comments

If you ask most people what types of credit accounts can hurt your credit score, almost everyone will tell you that your credit cards have a huge impact. That is true – credit cards do impact credit scores (both negatively AND positively). Other accounts that impact your score that might typically come to mind are lines of credit, mortgages and car loans.

But you might not realize that there are other types of accounts that could impact your credit score, as well. Here are three of them, and the impact they can have on your credit:

Utility Bills

Everyone has utility bills – power, water, phone, natural gas, etc. – but not everyone realizes that these bills can potentially impact your credit. Many utility companies report to the three major credit reporting agencies, but typically only after the accounts have gone delinquent –which means that these bills will impact your credit if you do not pay your bill in full and on time each month. These accounts don’t extend credit so their presence on your report won’t impact your debt utilization (your credit limits compared to how much of those limits that you are actually using). But they will report if you default on the account and don’t pay your bill, and that impacts your credit score. Additionally, some utility companies may perform a credit check on you before giving you service, and that can add to the number of inquiries made, which will also have an impact on your credit.

Student Loans

College can be pricey, so fortunately there are student loans available to help pay for college. But did you know that missing a student loan payment can potentially have a huge impact on your credit? Your student loans might not be considered as one loan on your credit report, even if you make a single payment each month to the servicer. Rather, they are reported by the disbursement you got each semester. So if you went to school for three years (six semesters) and took out student loans for each semester, you’re looking at six loans, not one loan! Any late or missed payments on your student loan will impact your credit score. So when you graduate from school and have to start paying your loans back, make sure that you make student loan repayment a priority!

Medical Bills Covered by Insurance

If you have medical insurance, you may sleep easier at night knowing that you won’t have to foot a huge bill if you require hospitalization. However, what many people don’t realize is that they may end up with a credit-impacting medical bill (even if they have insurance). This could happen for a number of reasons – from clerical errors to hospital bills that exceed coverage limits. So if you have medical coverage, be aware of what it covers and what it doesn’t cover, and be sure to follow-up diligently with the hospital to ensure that the bill is being covered by your insurance company.

Your credit score is based on information derived from many sources. Even if you think you know many of the main sources, make sure that you aren’t blindsided by these three credit-impacting accounts. This is also why it’s important to monitor your credit score regularly.  Using a tool like Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card (to get your credit score every month along with a breakdown of the components of your credit score) can tip you off to problems with your accounts, so you can deal with the problems and work toward building stronger credit.

Image: Creatas

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team