Surprising things that ding your credit

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PHOENIX - While most of us know that being late on your payments hurts your credit, there are many other surprising things that also cause your score to go down.

In fact, a popular website, www.walletpop.com, listed little known things that really ding your credit.

For instance, renting a car. Sooner or later, we're all going to have to rent a car. But when you do, make sure you do not use your debit card for the transaction. Many rental companies will pull your credit if you use your debit card and, as a result, that simple inquiry can cause your score to drop 10 or more points.
  
When shopping for clothes, don't apply for a department store credit card. That 10 percent off your purchase sounds great, but their inquiry into your history will ding your credit score anywhere from 5 to 30 points.
  
Also, do not close an account with a zero balance. Having an open, active account with a zero balance is good and makes your credit utilization actually look healthy. Many consumers are so happy to have paid off a credit card that there immediate response is to completely close the account. However, keeping the account open is a better option, as long as you don't run up your balance again.

And finally, when it comes to buying for example, furniture or appliances, don't use their in-store credit for big purchases. Getting a $1,000 credit limit for that $900 refrigerator makes this account look maxed out and lowers your score.