Don't Sweat Small Changes in Your Credit Scores

Credit scores typically fluctuate a little from month to month, often because of changes in credit card balances. Here’s what to do when fluctuations in your scores are more dramatic.

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Question: Recently my credit score dropped from “exceptional” to “very good.” I put a security freeze on all of my credit reports, and I closed out an auto loan around the same time. Did either of those actions cause my score to drop?

Answer: Neither of those actions is likely to have had an effect on your scores, says credit expert John Ulzheimer, formerly of credit-scoring company FICO and credit bureau Equifax. He advises people to stop worrying about minor changes in credit scores. “There’s a natural migration to your scores, normally 20 to 25 points month over month,” he says. “Your scores should stay within that range and, if so, it means your scores are moving in a normal, healthy manner.”

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.