Paying off your mortgage does not dramatically affect your credit score.
Having many older accounts has a positive impact on your credit score, and having several new accounts is a negative contributing factor. If you pay off debt on an older account and subsequently close it, your credit score may drop.
Paying off a loan might not immediately improve your credit score; in fact, your score could drop or stay the same. A score drop could happen if the loan you paid off was the only loan on your credit report. That limits your credit mix, which accounts for 10% of your FICO® Score☉ .
There's no guarantee that paying off debt will help your scores, and doing so can actually cause scores to dip temporarily at first. In general, however, you could see an improvement in your credit as soon as one or two months after you pay off the debt.
Once your mortgage is paid off, you'll receive a number of documents from your lender that show your loan has been paid in full and that the bank no longer has a lien on your house. These papers are often called a mortgage release or mortgage satisfaction.
While mortgage rates are currently low, they're still higher than interest rates on most types of bonds—including municipal bonds. In this situation, you'd be better off paying down the mortgage. You prioritize peace of mind: Paying off a mortgage can create one less worry and increase flexibility in retirement.
You make sure your score is good enough to qualify for a home loan, and then the purchase pushes your number down. That drop averages 15 points, although some consumers can see their score slide by as much as 40 points, according to a new study by LendingTree.
Having accounts open with a credit card company will not hurt your credit score, but having zero balances will not prove to lenders that you are creditworthy and will repay a loan. Lenders want to make sure you repay, and that you will also pay interest.
If you're already close to maxing out your credit cards, your credit score could jump 10 points or more when you pay off credit card balances completely. If you haven't used most of your available credit, you might only gain a few points when you pay off credit card debt.
Some credit scoring models exclude collection accounts once they are paid in full, so you could experience a credit score increase as soon as the collection is reported as paid. Most lenders view a collection account that has been paid in full as more favorable than an unpaid collection account.
FICO credit scores, the industry standard for sizing up credit risk, range from 300 to a perfect 850—with 670 to 739 labeled “good,” 740-799 “very good” and 800 to 850 “exceptional.” A 700 score places you right in the middle of the good range, but still slightly below the average credit score of 711.
Closing a credit card account — whether it's unused or active — can hurt your credit score primarily because it reduces the amount of available credit you have.
If you haven't used a card for a long period, it generally will not hurt your credit score. However, if a lender notices your inactivity and decides to close the account, it can cause your score to slip.
Not using your credit card doesn't hurt your score. However, your issuer may eventually close the account due to inactivity, and that could affect your score by lowering your overall available credit.
A FICO® Score of 673 falls within a span of scores, from 670 to 739, that are categorized as Good. The average U.S. FICO® Score, 711, falls within the Good range.
Mortgages are seen as “good debt” by creditors. Since the mortgage debt is secured by the value of your house, lenders see your ability to maintain mortgage payments as a sign of responsible credit use. They also see home ownership, even partial ownership, as a sign of financial stability.
Using one of these options to pay off your mortgage can give you a false sense of financial security. Unexpected expenses—such as medical costs, needed home repairs, or emergency travel—can destroy your financial standing if you don't have a cash reserve at the ready.
You should aim to have everything paid off, from student loans to credit card debt, by age 45, O'Leary says. “The reason I say 45 is the turning point, or in your 40s, is because think about a career: Most careers start in early 20s and end in the mid-60s,” O'Leary says.
If you've recently applied for a credit card or loan, the lender has probably made a hard inquiry on your credit report. Even though nothing has changed yet, your credit score can go down a bit as a warning to other lenders that you are considering other lending options.
The standard advice is to keep unused accounts with zero balances open. The reason is that closing the accounts reduces your available credit, which makes it appear that your utilization rate, or balance-to-limit ratio, has suddenly increased.
You shouldn't close a credit card that has been open for a long time or a card with a high credit limit. Closing the account could negatively affect your credit history and credit utilization, and in turn, lower your credit score.
The best-known range of FICO scores is 300 to 850. Anything above 670 is generally considered to be good. FICO also offers industry-specific FICO scores, such as for credit cards or auto loans, which can range from 250 to 900.