10 Things That Won't Hurt Your Credit Scores

Reading time: 4 minutes

Highlights:

  • How much money you make has no impact on credit scores
  • Credit scores aren't affected when you change your marital status
  • Your credit scores aren't impacted when you check your own credit reports or credit scores

You may already know certain behaviours can impact your credit scores, either positively or negatively. But did you know that not every action will impact credit scores? Here are 10 things that do not impact credit scores (although they may influence your finances).

1. Paying with a debit card

Using a debit card to access money you already have in your bank account to pay for items won't impact your credit reports or credit scores. For comparison, when you pay with a credit card, you're essentially borrowing the funds to pay back later. With a debit card, no borrowing is involved since you already have the money.

The same is true for gift cards -- such as those available from pharmacies and grocery stores -- which you can buy with a dollar amount already loaded onto the card. However, activity on secured (pre-paid) credit cards, which are issued by credit card companies, may impact credit scores, for better or worse.

2. A drop or raise in salary

A salary cut or raise may affect your personal and financial life, but won't directly affect your credit scores. While your income isn't a factor used to calculate credit scores, it's important to note that some lenders and creditors may consider your income when evaluating a request for credit. They may also check your debt-to-income ratio, or the amount of debt you have compared to your income.

If you lose your job, it is not recorded on your credit reports. A job loss will not affect your credit scores unless it causes other behaviours, such as late or missed payments or balance increases, that can affect credit scores.

3. Getting married

Your marital status is not a factor used to calculate credit scores. If you get married, you'll still have your own credit reports, and so will your spouse.

That said, if you and your spouse open joint credit accounts, they may appear on both of your credit reports. And late or missed payments on those accounts can negatively impact credit scores. 

4. Getting divorced

Actually filing for divorce won't directly impact credit scores, but if you have late or missed payments on accounts as a result, it may negatively impact credit scores. Each Canadian province and territory has its own laws regarding the division of property. It may be helpful to learn about the specifics in your province or territory.

While a divorce decree may give your former spouse responsibility for a joint account, that doesn’t let you off the hook with lenders and creditors. If your name remains on an account, late or missed payments reported to the two nationwide credit bureaus may negatively impact credit scores.

5. Having a credit application denied  

Having a credit application denied doesn't affect credit scores. But the application itself may result in a hard inquiry, which may impact credit scores. If you get rejected by several lenders, there may be common factors in your credit history that drives those decisions.

6. Having high account interest rates

Interest rates and annual percentage rates (APRs) on your credit accounts aren’t a factor used to calculate credit scores, but late or missed payments on those accounts can hurt your credit scores. 

7. Checking your own credit reports 

Regularly checking your credit reports is one way to keep track of your credit accounts and to know what information is being reported by your lenders and creditors. Credit scores are calculated based on the information in credit reports, so keeping an eye on your credit reports can help you monitor what may be factored into your credit scores. Learn how to get a free copy of your Equifax credit report.

While pulling your Equifax credit report, or a credit score based on the information in it, will generally result in a soft inquiry, it will not affect your credit scores.

8. Disputing information on your credit report

If you see information on your credit report that appears to be inaccurate or incomplete, you can contact Equifax for free and we will look into it. In the event that the information in your Equifax credit report needs to be updated, we will take care of it. While the updated information may affect your credit scores (positively or negatively), the fact that you have disputed information on your credit reports will not have an impact on your credit scores.

9. Paying a traffic ticket (on time)

If you are issued a traffic ticket – such as a parking or speeding ticket -- and pay it by the due date, the information will not be reported to the credit bureaus. Although traffic tickets which have been paid on time may affect other areas of your finances (such as your car insurance premiums), they will not affect your credit scores. 

10. Moving money out of RRSPs, TFSAs or other non-credit accounts

Investment accounts such as RRSPs, RESPs, TFSAs and RDSPs are intended to help individuals build their personal savings. Although there may be tax implications when you move money out of these savings plans, these activities are not reported to the credit bureaus and therefore will not affect your credit scores. 

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