5 Surefire Ways to Ruin Your Credit Score

Hate having good credit? Love high-interest rates and getting denied for loans, credit cards, and even housing? Here are five ways to completely destroy your credit.

Key Takeaways

Think good credit is overrated? Buckle up, this one’s for you!

If you’re unimpressed by the thought of low interest rates, optimal lending offers, and all the other benefits of good credit – we’ve got great news. Destroying your credit is easier than you think. 

It can take years to build strong credit. But with a few simple tricks, you can trash yours overnight. Here are five surefire ways to ruin your credit score. 

1. Make your payments late (even just a few!)

Repayment history is the most important factor in your credit report. So if you want to raise a few red flags – start racking up a history of late payments. There’s no better way to signal you’re a high-risk borrower. 

When it comes to your credit score, late payments outweigh those made on time. In fact, a single late payment can harm your score, even if you’ve always kept your account in good standing. (Talk about instant gratification!) 

The longer your bills go unpaid, the more your score will suffer. Take your time catching up when you miss a payment. Why stop at 30, 60, or even 90 days overdue? Grab some popcorn and settle in for the ultimate paranoid thriller: watching your accounts fall into collections. 

Lenders can charge penalties for payments as little as one day late, which helps keep your finances shaky. Warning: credit card late fees could decrease dramatically in 2023. Get delinquent ASAP to rack up as much bonus debt as possible. 

2. Never check your credit for fraud and inaccuracies

Bored with the ease of a decent credit history? Don’t worry, it only takes a few honest missteps to cause your score to plummet. But if you’re lucky, you won’t have to do anything at all. 

One-third of Americans have an error on their credit report, ranging from inaccurate balances to full-on identity theft. Unfortunately, lenders are obligated to investigate your claim if you file a dispute. And it’s hard for identity thieves to keep up the gig once you spot something fishy. 

If peak credit chaos is the goal, never check your report for fraud and errors. And certainly don’t request your free annual credit report from each of the national bureaus. 

3. Max out all your credit cards

Next stop, the nearest shopping mall. Designer handbags? Platform crocs? A full-on Zoot suit? Take your pick! Maxing out your credit cards can trash your credit score, even if you dutifully pay your monthly minimums. 

As a rule of thumb, extending over 30% of your total credit limit can harm your credit score. Running up a tab on a single card is damaging, but maxing out all your credit accounts is even better. 

Bonus: you’ll pay more in interest the more you borrow. This increases your odds of falling even further into debt. In terms of damaging your credit, eroding your financial stability is a win-win-win! 

4. Ignore accounts in collection 

Love dodging debt collectors? Let your unpaid accounts fall into collections – and watch the calls roll in. 

Some folks advise settling up collections accounts as soon as possible. (In fact, most recommend paying before a lender offloads your debt.) But these folks aren’t looking for a one-way ticket to rotten credit. 

A single collections account could cause your score to drop upwards of 100 points. And if you don’t work out an agreement with the collections agency, it can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. So start screening your calls and enjoy the show!  

5. Definitely DON’T join StellarFi

Most credit-building methods require an upfront deposit or a co-signer willing to share responsibility. As a result, our credit system privileges consumers with greater access to financial and social resources – and disadvantages those without.  

Credit inequality truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Good credit unlocks the best offers, with the lowest interest rates, from the most reputable lenders. On the other hand, folks with poor credit are often stuck with predatory terms and sky-high interest rates. (If they’re approved at all.)

Unfortunately, StellarFi makes it super easy for anyone to improve their credit. You don’t even need to take on additional debt. Simply sign up, and turn your existing expenses into credit builders. 

StellarFi reports your payment activity to the credit bureaus when you link your monthly bills. This helps improve 100% of the factors that make up your credit score. The worst part? There’s no credit check. 

Whatever you do, DO NOT become a StellarFi member today. Otherwise, you might wind up with (*gasp!*) excellent credit  – and where’s the fun in that? 


StellarFi (StellarFinance, Inc.) and its affiliates do not provide financial, tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own financial, tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. StellarFi receives a referral fee from the partners mentioned in this article.