You don’t need a good credit score, right? After all, do you really need lower interest rates? Plus, lower insurance rates are kind of over-rated anyway.
If you are ready to really take your credit score down a notch or two, here are some solid ways to take your rating to new lows:
1. Pay Late
One of the best ways to bring your score down in a hurry is to pay late. Since payment history accounts for the largest chunk of your credit score (35%), paying late can be one of the best ways to drop your score.
Even better is if you can skip a payment altogether. Skipped payments can weigh on your credit score like few other individual items. It’s also worth noting that an account doesn’t have to be credit related in order to affect your score. Repeated missed payments or late payment made to utility companies or landlords can result in reports made to the credit bureaus. And never underestimate the power of ignoring payments altogether and having your account sent to collections.
Bigger payment issues, like foreclosure or filing for bankruptcy can result in a 200 to 300 point drop in your credit score. Now that’s the big time.
2. Add More Debt to Your Budget
The more debt you use, the lower your credit score. With credit utilization accounting for 30% of your FICO score, you can do some serious damage just by running up the credit card bills. If you are squeamish about paying late or missing payments, you can live beyond your means and just add more debt.
If you begin using more of your available credit, your credit score will reflect that. Someone with a good credit score will try to keep credit utilization to no more than 30% of what’s available. But if you want to keep your score low, you need to pile the debt higher. Carry a balance from month to month, paying only the minmum or a very little more, and you can work on building up your credit utilization.
3. Ignore Your Credit Report
You can’t improve what you aren’t aware of. One of the best ways to stay in the dark about your situation, and to keep your credit score low, is to ignore your credit report. Your credit report is a history of your credit related transactions. However, sometimes the information is inaccurate. This inaccurate information can impact your credit score.
Now, if you’re committed to keeping a low credit score, you don’t need to even look at your credit report. No reason to dispute errors if they are helping keep your score down. Plus, ignoring your credit report can leave the door open for identity thieves. When one of these scammers open an account in your name, that can be a great help in bringing down your credit score.
4. Apply for Lots of New Credit
If you are running out of room on your current credit cards, you might consider getting a new credit card. Applying for lots of new credit can be a great way to bring your score down a little bit. It’s not as dramatic as missing payments, but this strategy still has its place.
When you apply for a lot of new credit, it can appear that you are trying to run up your balances. Several hard inquiries into your situation in the space of a few months can lower your score a little bit. Soft inquiries, like those for “pre-approved” offers won’t bring down your score, though. If you really want to create maximum impact, you need to get out there and apply for more credit.
5. Go Get a “Shady” Loan
The types of credit accounts that you have only account for about 10% of your credit score. However, every little bit helps when you are trying for the lowest possible score. One way to ding your credit a little bit more is to get a “shady” loan.
Payday loans and car title loans are valued differently from more conventional loans from respected lenders. These types of loans, along with sub-prime credit cards and cards from retailers, can weigh on your score.
What are some other ways to sabotage your credit score?
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.