You probably know that once you pay your credit cards off, you're supposed to keep them open. Because closing them lowers your credit score. So you should keep them active . . . just don't use them. But here are three more things that can damage your credit score. And these three might surprise you.
#1.) Using Your Debit Card When You Rent a Car. It seems more responsible to use your debit card when you've got the cash to cover it. But if you do, a lot of rental companies do a soft credit check, which can lower your score. It's in the fine print on the rental agreement, and they won't even mention it. It happened to a writer for WalletPop.com, and her FICO credit score dropped by 14 points.
#2.) Saying Yes to a Department Store Credit Card. They usually offer ten or 20% off when you sign up for a store credit card. But to sign you up, they have to do a HARD credit check, which will definitely lower your credit score. And as you know, store credit cards have much higher interest rates. So there's no good reason to sign up for one.
#3.) Buying Furniture and Using the In-Store Financing. If you buy a couch from a furniture store, they'll offer to finance it. And they'll usually give you some deal so you don't have to make the first payment for a year. But when it comes to your credit score, a furniture store loan is seen as a last resort. And just signing up for one can lower your score.