Maintaining a healthy credit profile is essential for all adults – regardless of whether or not you are a stay-at-home mom. But, if you are thinking of becoming a stay-at-home mom, or are already a stay-at-home mom, there are a few things you should do to make sure your credit profile remains in good standing.
Here are four mistakes that stay-at-home moms often make when it comes to credit:
Having a credit file under your maiden name, not your married name
This is actually an issue for all women, not just stay-at-home moms. When you get married or divorced, you should write to the three credit reporting agencies and supply a copy of your documentation showing the name change. Otherwise, it’s possible that you won’t have a credit record under your new name, which can make it difficult to get a credit card or loan. Some of the credit agencies will automatically make the change when notified by creditors, but it’s not always automatic.
Not having a credit card in your name – only as an authorized user
Having a credit card in your name builds credit under your specific name, and it can be difficult to get one if you don’t have income to claim. So, if you already have cards under your name, make sure that you don’t cancel them. Being an authorized user on your spouse’s card is not the same thing and won’t result in the same benefits to your credit score. Even if you don’t use the card regularly, or can’t get a large credit line, any card should help you maintain your credit score.
Applying for credit too many times
If you are being declined for credit, you may be tempted to keep trying until you can get a card. Unfortunately, too many inquiries on your account can actually have a negative effect on your credit score. So, if you aren’t able to get credit, take the time to review your credit reports and credit scores to see if there is something you can fix before trying again.
Not paying attention to your credit report
Even if you don’t have a credit card in your name, you should still have a credit report. Reviewing this report, along with your credit scores, annually, is important to make sure all of the data is accurate and that there has been no identity theft on your account.