Having a credit card has made life easier for most people as it frees you from the need to carry cash with you every time. It allows you to go cashless and with the rise of e-commerce, paying for your purchases is now easier than ever. But, many credit cards have annual fees attached to them, and having a lot of cards can make it difficult to track all of your credit card debt.
As a credit card holder, there’s a chance that the question of whether you should close your credit card account or not has crossed your mind at some point. Cancelling your credit card is more than cutting the card itself into pieces; it requires going to your bank or card issuer and requesting that the account be closed.
Closing your credit card does have a negative impact on your credit score. Here’s how closing your credit card account will affect your credit score.
How closing your card affects your score:
- Increased credit utilization: credit utilization refers to the ratio of the outstanding balance on your card to your card limits. The lower the percentage, the better it is for you. Closing your credit card increases your credit utilization percentage.
- Reduced average age of accounts: the length of how long you have been using also has an impact on your score. Closing the card you have had for the longest time reduces the average age of your accounts.
As a result, it’s generally not considered a good idea to close a credit card account without a valid reason to do so. Here are some reasons why you might want to close a credit card account.
Valid reasons to close your credit card account
- When you’re unable to control your spending: If you have tried options like keeping the card in a place that’s hard to access or using cash only for most purchases to reduce your spending and have failed, closing your account might be the only option left.
- High annual fees: If you’re paying a high annual fee for a credit card you’re not using, then closing it is warranted especially if you don’t benefit from it. Talk to your issuer about the fees before deciding to close the account to see if they’ll give you a better deal.
- Separation or divorce: If the credit card you have is a joint one, it’s better to close it once you separate or divorce since you’ll be liable for any charges made to it whether you’re together or not.
- Your card has been used fraudulently after it was stolen or you lost it. In most cases, the issuer will automatically close it but if it keeps attracting charges, then it’s best you close it even after being issued with a new one.
How to close a credit card account
Keeping your credit card account open for as long as possible is beneficial as it helps you build up a positive credit score, more so if you’re planning to apply for a mortgage or a loan in the near future.
The first thing you should do before closing the account is evaluate how your credit score will be impacted and follow these steps:
- If your card had any accumulated rewards, redeem them as they would be lost when the card is closed. Ensure that you’re familiar with the redemption rules for your card.
- Pay off any balances on your card or transfer the balance as you will not be able to close the card if it has any balances. You can request your issuer to freeze the card until all the balance is paid to stop any charges from accruing. In the event that your balances are carried from one month to the other, then you will need to pay the full statement balance two months in a row to stop charges from accumulating.
- Call your card issuer: You will need to make this call to confirm that your card balance is zero as there could be residual interest that could have accumulated after the last payment. Once you’re assured that it’s zero, inform them of the cancellation. Should you be met with any resistance, insist on closing the account as it’s your right.
- Send a certified letter to your issuer to close the account. In the letter, request for written confirmation of the zero balance to be sent to you. The letter should have all your official details. Make a copy of the letter for your records.
- Check your credit card report to confirm the cancellation 30 to 35 days since the process can take a month or more. The account should be marked as closed and if it appears as open, repeat the steps above. If the report has any incorrect details, raise a dispute with the relevant bodies.
- Dispose of the card after confirming the cancellation process is complete. Don’t just throw it away or cut it into two, use a pair of scissors to cut each bit of information to make it difficult for anyone to steal your identity.
Benefits of closing a credit card
- You’re protected from incurring potential debt on that account.
- Help you manage the temptation of extra expenditures
- Reduces the likelihood of card fraud since any unused cards that you don’t keep track of can easily be stolen.
- You won’t have to keep paying the fees associated with it.
Want to learn more about how your credit score is calculated? Check out this quick and dirty guide to your credit score!
Is it Advisable to Pay Off Collection Items?
The majority of consumers appear to believe that if they pay off collections, their credit scores will improve and become better. A shocking truth has emerged: this is not actually the case. Just so you’re aware, negative items can remain on your credit reports for a maximum of seven years, and your credit score will only begin to improve once the negative item has been removed.
What are Collection Accounts and How Do They Work?
Collection accounts are entries on a credit report that indicate that a debtor has fallen behind on previous obligations. Original creditors may have sold the defaulted debts to a debt buyer or may have assigned the debts to collection agencies after the default occurred. It should come as no surprise that the collector’s ultimate goal is to work on the client’s behalf in order to have the defaulted debt collected from the debtor or as much of it as possible.
The majority of the time, these collection accounts are reported to credit reporting agencies. According to the FCRA, or Fair Credit Reporting Act, these are permitted to remain on credit reports for up to seven years from the date of the initial debt’s first delinquency.
The Consequences of Paying Off Collections on Your Credit Score
The ramifications of completely paying off collection accounts will not disappear in an instant, however. You will still need to wait until the statute of limitations has expired before this information can be removed from your credit report. As previously stated, this will typically take approximately seven years. Fortunately, information from the past will have a smaller impact on your credit score.
Despite the fact that paying off collections will not improve your credit score, there are several ways in which you can take advantage of this situation:
Credit card or medical bills can result in debt collection lawsuits, which you can avoid if you take the proper steps.
As a result, you will be able to avoid paying interest fees to debt collectors. A debt collector is constantly selling and buying accounts, and he or she may continue to charge you fees and interest on the accounts that have been purchased.
In the event of a settlement or payment in full, the credit report will reflect this. When it comes to lenders, it can have a positive impact because they are likely looking beyond your credit score and instead of looking at your credit history and other factors. Comparing those who successfully repay an extremely past due account to those who never managed to do so, the former will demonstrate greater financial responsibility.
You will eventually be able to benefit from the most recent FICO Score model. Despite the fact that the FICO 9 is still in the early stages of implementation, the vast majority of lenders will eventually adopt it. Medical bills will be given less weight in this model, and paid accounts will be completely ignored when it comes to collections.
According to the law, the majority of negative credit information, such as collections, should be removed from credit reports over time. The fact remains that attempting to settle or pay off your debt as quickly as possible will be in your best interests. Not to mention the fact that, in contrast to older models, the newer models for credit scoring do not take into consideration collections with zero balances. If you don’t think you’ll be able to handle it on your own, you can always enlist the assistance of professionals who can simplify the entire process for you.
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How Bad is an Eviction and How Long Does it Stay on Your Credit?
Every time someone mentions a record during an eviction, what they are really referring to is a background check as well as your credit report and history. In general, an eviction will appear on your credit report for up to seven years.
That is correct; you read that correctly. It will be there not for 7 months, but for as long as 7 years, according to some estimates. Eviction is, therefore, a major issue in this community, and it is treated as such. Landlords, in particular, are wary of renting to tenants who have a history of evictions on their records. If you are ever evicted, this fact will follow you wherever you go for the next seven years, no matter how hard you try to forget it.
For landlords to know that you have been evicted in the past, there are two ways to find out.
If the reason for your eviction was non-payment of rent, your landlord may have forwarded this account to a collection agency, which will then appear on your credit report as a result of your actions.
When the courts were involved in your eviction, the case judgment is considered public record, and landlords who use tenant-screening services will be able to see this information if they conduct a background check on the tenant in question.
Is it possible to have an eviction removed from your credit report?
Anything that is accurate on your credit report will remain on your report for seven years. If there is ever a mistake, you will have the opportunity to contest the decision.
This error will be removed from your credit report if you can provide proof to the credit reporting agency that a mistake was made. If you were successful after being served with an eviction notice, you should provide proof of your victory to the reporting agency. There are landlords who will attempt to evict people even if they do not have a legitimate or acceptable reason to do so.
How Can You Find a Place to Rent if You Have an Eviction on Your Credit Report?
It is important to understand that just because you have an eviction on your credit report does not necessarily mean that you will be unable to rent for the next seven years. However, even though your report contains an eviction, there are still several options available to you for finding a place to live in the meantime.
Take the initiative.
Inform the property manager or landlord of your intention to evict them prior to submitting your application and explain your circumstances to them. Even if the eviction took place years ago and you have maintained a good tenant record since then, there is a chance that the landlord will rent to you again.
Look for someone who will sign on as a cosigner for you.
It is possible for you to obtain a rental unit if you have a co-signer who has good credit and can vouch for you. Your parent or another person with good credit can serve as your co-signer. If, on the other hand, a payment is not made on time, your landlord has the right to and will almost certainly ask for the money from your cosigner.
Pay in advance if possible.
A high probability of obtaining a rental unit exists if the landlord recognizes your willingness to pay the rental value in full upfront for a period of 3 to 6 months.
What’s the bottom line?
It is preferable to avoid being evicted in the first place if you want to avoid having any eviction information on your credit report.
Why did House Prices Go Up in 2020 During the Pandemic
The pandemic brought with it a lot of surprises, one of them being the rise in house prices. The US economy plummeted with millions of Americans finding themselves out of work and without food. No one would have predicted that at the time when times were hard for everyone, home prices would become overheated, mortgage rates would skyrocket, and the supply for houses would not meet the demands and consumer confidence in the housing market was reducing. The housing market was booming.
Right at the beginning of the pandemic, no one was willing to buy a house or even sell one. This was because of the uncertainties of the time brought about by Covid-19. In a span of a few months, most day-to-day activities were confined to the available properties. Houses became a key asset and prices began to rise.
The US real estate market in context
The American real estate market suffered a huge blow as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. The recession saw the prices of houses fall by a big margin and the world’s largest real estate market was affected in ways no one would have imagined. This was as a result of subprime mortgages that were given in large numbers to help as many Americans as possible to become homeowners. Homeowners found themselves mortgages that were higher than the value of their houses. By 2013, the market was showing signs of recovery. From 2018 to 2019, the market began to fall slightly.
For many Americans, owning a home is very important to them as it allows them to build up their wealth, make it easy for them to access credit, and be able to save more as they no longer have to pay rent. A large percentage of homeowners rely on mortgages to acquire homes after raising the down payment from their savings or with money from their families. It was expected that the pandemic would lead to foreclosures especially since the economy took a downward spiral at the start of the pandemic. Many people also lost their source of income and were unable to keep up with their mortgage payments.
The most expensive real estate in the USA is found in San Francisco, California. San Francisco has a booming economy fueled by the presence of tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Intel, and Tesla that have their headquarters in the nearby Silicon Valley. The city also has been at the forefront in matters progressive culture which attracts more people to relocate to it. As a result of the thriving tech economy that brings billions of dollars into the city, and rising housing demand, the city is the most expensive place to buy a house in the US. On average, the price per square foot is $1,100.
Why do house prices go up in general?
The value of a house is usually expected to depend on the demand for living in a particular area, but things like recessions and pandemics are known to have an impact that can either be positive or negative. House prices go up when the supply does not meet the demand. One of the key factors that affect the supply has to do with the regulations that restrict the number of housing units that can be built. For example in a single-family zone, it’s illegal to build townhouses or apartments, or condos on any spaces designated for single units and parking minimums must be met. This forces contractors to make provisions for parking spaces even in places where it’s unwarranted.
Some local governments allow groups of people to block developments they feel will have a negative impact on the overall value of the entire estate. These local zoning regulations are making it impossible for most Americans to move to better estates due to the shortage of housing.
Why did house prices go up during the pandemic?
The price for houses is determined by the existing demand and supply dynamics. The fewer the number of houses available, the higher the prices for the available units would be. If the number of buyers is fewer, then the house prices would be lower. The prices went up because the pandemic affected both supply and demand. A lot of people were in a rush to take advantage of the falling mortgage rates which made it easier to acquire homes at a cheaper price.
As a result of the falling mortgage rates, houses were not staying on the market for long. Among those who bought the homes were first-time homebuyers or those who were buying a second home. These put a lot of pressure on the market as were not putting another home on the market as they took one out of it. In some instances, others chose to refinance their mortgages based on the lower rates instead of acquiring a new home.
Because of the pandemic, people who had plans of listing their homes did not do so and those who had listed their homes took them off the market. As a result of the social distancing rules at the height of the pandemic, not many people were willing to show their houses.
Home developers did not anticipate a surge in the demand for housing during the pandemic. A number of them had let go of their employees and had shut down. At the same time, prices for materials like lumber also added to the construction costs alongside the scarcity of skilled workers.
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