During the holiday season, retailers bombard shoppers with at-the-register offers to “open a charge card and save 15%”.
It’s an immediate money-saver, but for Americans in the market for a new home loan, taking advantage of the in-store savings could be a long-term loser.
This is because new credit card applications are damaging to credit scores. According to myFICO.com, “new credit” accounts for 10 percent of a credit score; recent applications may signal weakness in a borrower’s profile.
Meanwhile, conforming mortgage lenders make rate adjustments for low credit scoring applicants. As an example, a home buyer with a 20 downpayment and a 715 credit score would face an interest rate adjustment of 0.125%.
Below 700, the adjustments are even worse.
It’s okay to take advantage of in-store savings during the holiday season, but be aware of how it may impact your credit score. If you’re not applying for a new home loan in the next six months, chances are that you’ll be alright.
But, if you will need a new home loan, consider whether saving 15 percent on a $200 purchase is worth it if the long-term cost is paying an extra 0.125 percent on your new mortgage.