Fast Fact: Credit Inquiries. Your FICO score won’t drop by much when you apply for new credit. But if you apply for several new credit cards over a short period, your credit report will reflect the activity.
Almost half of American households carry a balance on their credit cards, and the average debt totals $15,325.1
The wise use of credit is a critical skill in today’s world. Used unwisely, credit can rapidly turn from a useful tool to a crippling burden. There are a number of warning signs that you may be approaching credit problems:
- Have you used one credit card to pay off another?
- Have you used credit card advances to pay bills?
- Do you regularly use a charge card because you are short on cash?
- Do you charge items you might not buy if you were paying cash?
- Do you need to use your credit cards to buy groceries?
- Are you reluctant to open monthly statements from creditors?
- Do you regularly charge more each month than you pay off?
- Do you write checks today on funds to be deposited tomorrow?
- Do you apply for new credit cards so you can increase borrowing?
- Are you receiving late and over limit credit card charges?
It is important to recognize the warning signs of potential credit problems. The quicker corrective action is taken the better. Procrastinating is almost a sure way to guarantee that you may face financial difficulty down the road.
- Nerdwallet.com, 2012
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