If you have less-than-ideal credit, it’s no secret that it’s tough opening new lines of credit or applying for new residences. If you’re faced with rejection after rejection, you might be tempted to apply even more — but the truth is that repeatedly applying for a new credit card or a new home can worsen your score.

How Can Applying for Credit Worsen My Credit Score?
When you apply for a new line of credit, that’s good news for the lender involved. However, if you’re applying for many different lines of credit, a lender may become concerned. That’s why “hard inquiries” into your credit negatively impact your credit score. It’s a signal to other lenders that you’re looking to borrow from many different sources.

Understand the Difference Between a Hard and Soft Credit Inquiry
Hard credit inquiries occur when a lender has to check your credit score in order to determine whether you qualify for their financial product. However, when you check your own credit score, or apply for a single car loan, your credit score won’t be penalized the same way. It’s more like a background check, a simple review of your credit, so it’s called a soft credit inquiry.

So, how do you improve your credit score? Ease up on applying for credit and homes. Also, discuss your credit with landlords ahead of time to determine whether or not you can provide your own credit score to prove your credit.

If your credit score is preventing you from doing what you need to do, don’t despair if you’re an AFEUSA member. You can easily sign up for Take Charge America, a partnered company that gives complimentary and low-cost financial education and debt counseling services to help you eliminate debt, budget to meet daily living expenses, and save for the future. Additionally, you can also enjoy the benefits of The Credit Clinic, which will waive your set-up fees so you can start repairing your credit right away!

by: Charles Jackson,
AFEUSA President

Charles Jackson President AFEUSA