Lies Skeptics Spew About Credit Scores

I get that people are skeptical about the negative implications regarding using credit card sign up bonuses to earn miles.

I do.

I get that people think the whole concept of signing up for multiple cards, canceling them after a year, and repeating the cycle is weird, unusual, too much, or just over board.

I do get it.

I get that collecting miles and managing all the cards is not for everyone.

Here’s what I don’t get – why you have to go and make stuff up about credit scores and the negative impact caused by multiple new accounts.

No, I’m not referring to anyone in particular.

When referring to credit scores, here are the types of phrases I hear :

  • “Dude, your credit score is going to plummet to the depths of the ocean.”
  • “You think you’re so smart doing all this, but you’re really going to pay for it when you try to get a loan.”
  • “Say goodbye to a good credit score if you want to do this.”

To be honest, that was one of my initial reservations with getting multiple credit cards.

As a result, I decided to do some of my own credit score myth busting.

I needed a worthy subject: Someone with a solid credit score. Someone who signed up for several credit cards a year.

Who could I find?

Then I looked in the mirror.

I became the product of my own experiment. Why inject someone else with a potentially legal dose?

Since signing up for my FICO score monitoring, I’ve just received my third quarterly score update.

The damage?

In that time period, I signed up for three new credit cards and …

MY SCORE DROPPED 1 POINT!

I’ve plummeted from a 772 to a 771 over the last three months.

In my books, the one point drop was worth the $2,400 worth of travel I received for the cards.

Now, to be honest, I do expect a larger drop (8ish points) next time I get a credit score report. The reason is because I’ll probably be spending more over the next quarter and may have larger outstanding balances. That leaves me with less available credit, so it could impact my score.

Will applying for multiple credit cards affect your score?

Yes, of course. Don’t expect to apply for a card and not see any impact.

But, please, please, please refrain from using words like plummet, huge hit, and devastating.

It is possible to apply for multiple credit cards every year and have a solid 700+ credit score. At least this statement is consistent with my credit score experiment.

Why Not Try Your Own Experiment?

While I pay $50 a year for my FICO score, you can also monitor changes in your score by signing up for a free account at both Credit Sesame and Credit Karma. Each month, you’ll be able to monitor how your credit card applications are impacting your score.

Don’t take other statements as proof – test your own credit score for your own results.

Credit Score Disclaimer:

The importance of your credit score is determined by your relationship with debt. I don’t have any credit card debt. I don’t have a car loan. I may or may not be getting a mortgage in the next couple of years. Thus, drops in my credit score don’t impact me in any way.

If you’re getting a mortgage soon, you’ll want to be more vigilant about your credit score. A drop in your credit score only matters if you plan to access credit. Also, your credit report (not score) may be a factor when applying for a job or an apartment, and it may impact your auto insurance rates.

Comments

  1. Geoff Stuart says

    My scores (and my wife’s) have actually gone up in the year and a half I’ve been churning cards. We have squeaky-clean records, and never carry a balance on any of my cards. We are Hilton Diamond members and now that we have amassed 1.2 million Hilton points, we’re switching to Starwood for this year to build up that balance. It’s fun! And who can complain about the free mileage? Now if the BA site only showed us some availability………

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