Connie Prater from Creditcards.com thinks so, at least that’s what the gist of her article on MSN stated. I’m not sure where that information came from, but it reeks of a potential conspiracy theory to me, especially after my interview with FICO expert, Barry Paperno from My Fico.
Your credit score is made up of five main categories of information that FICO scores evaluate They are weighted as follows according to Paperno:
- Payment history (35%)
- Amounts owed (30%)
- Length of credit history (15%)
- New credit (10%)
- Types of credit used (10%)
Ms. Prater seems to think that credit scoring companies like FICO believe that using a credit card at thrift stores, bail bondsmen, or tire retread stores will result in a lower credit score. I’m not buying it (no pun intended). The “types of credit used” refers to revolving vs installment debt and that is only 10 percent of your score. Revolving debt allows you to go to the well over and over, provided you pay the principle down occasionally (think credit cards). Installment debt is a one time shot with you paying back the debt over installments (think mortgage or car payment). Once you pay off an installment debt, there is no more available credit.
Credit issuers such as American Express have admitted to mining shopper data to determine credit limits, but they ceased this practice after being accused of “profiling.” Even so, credit limits aren’t part of the evaluation process that FICO uses, according to Paperno.
So, should you think twice about using your credit card at Goodwill? Of course not. There aren’t any black helicopters that will swoop down and snatch your card. There are no microchips in the door frames that will read your mind, and certainly no one from My Fico will ask if you’re an alien from outer space, here to pick up the bodies from Area 51.