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A previous job forced me to open a new account with their partner credit union. I was very uneasy about it at the time, but there wasn't room or time to really argue it. That was four years ago, and I haven't touched the account since.

Now I'm concerned that having that bank account may hurt my credit score in some way. If so, how/why, and what can be done about it?

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    Why would it hurt your credit? I assume it's a savings or checking account and not a loan, correct? How would that affect your ability to pay back debt? – D Stanley Aug 2 '17 at 20:24
  • I heard getting too many credit cards and not using them hurt credit, so I wondered if rhe same went for bank accounts. – jvriesem Aug 3 '17 at 15:12
  • Your credit score is a measure of how well you pay back money that you borrow. Non-debt accounts have no bearing on credit score. – D Stanley Aug 3 '17 at 15:18
  • Somewhat relevant: while it doesn't hurt your credit to open/close checking/savings accounts, some banks would pull your credit report when you apply to open an account, and it could be a hard pull. – xiaomy Aug 3 '17 at 19:59
  • Just keep in mind that if there are no transactions on a savings account, some banks / credit union may freeze the funds after a period of inactivity. Be careful! – Bradley Uffner Aug 3 '17 at 20:03
26

Savings and checking accounts do not appear on your credit report, and therefore do not affect your credit score in any way.

Credit reports only show debts and your payment history on those debts. If you didn't take out a loan with the credit union, you won't see it on your report.

If you are no longer with that company and don't want your credit union membership anymore, feel free to close the account. Not because it will affect your credit, but because it is a good idea to close accounts that you don't use to simplify your financial life.

  • They don't show on the report, but are they included in the calculation? I know those are secret formulae. – corsiKa Aug 3 '17 at 22:27
  • @corsiKa If they don't show up in the report they cannot be included in the calculation (as it's entirely based from the report). – Joe Aug 3 '17 at 23:04
  • @Joe But isn't it true that both the report and the number are calculated from data they control? Are they required by law to put all of the data they control in the report they publish? – corsiKa Aug 3 '17 at 23:37
  • No. The number is calculated using an algorithm applied to the report. Nothing not on the report is used. I'm not a legal expert but I believe you do have a legal guarantee the report is complete (the same law that allows for your free annual report). – Joe Aug 3 '17 at 23:39
  • @corsiKa The credit score formulas are proprietary secrets, but the inputs to the formulas are known: Credit scores are entirely a function of the data in the credit report. – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Aug 4 '17 at 2:37
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No, it won't hurt your credit.

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    (I always wanted to have an answer that was exactly 30 characters, but never had the opportunity until now...) And I made this a community wiki because it isn't worthy of rep. – TTT Aug 2 '17 at 20:34
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    @NathanL it's a bad answer because it does not explain the reasoning behind the answer at all. What separates it from an answer that simply states "Yes, it will hurt your credit"? Nothing. There's no way to verify it, or know why you should trust it. Answers on SE are supposed to be elaborate, transparent, self-contained (not link to external resources, because they might go offline) and pedagogical. – pzkpfw Aug 3 '17 at 14:59
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    Compare it to the answer below which states "savings and checking accounts do not appear on your credit report, and therefore do not affect your credit score in any way" -- there you have it. A reasoning behind the answer. Now someone can challenge that, or even falsify it. What's to be done to your answer? Nothing, because it's not an answer. It's just you saying no, with nothing to back it up. – pzkpfw Aug 3 '17 at 15:00
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    @pzkpfw - I agree that Ben's answer is more thorough, and I hope it would be accepted over this one. But an answer that is correct shouldn't be downvoted simply because it isn't thorough enough. (Unless you are saying the answer is incorrect, that's a different story.) – TTT Aug 3 '17 at 15:03
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    @Joe - Maybe a little backstory will help us get on the same page: I read this question to be very simple, and it has a very simple answer. I wrote my answer as a comment, and then happened to notice it was exactly 30 chars which is the minimum length of an answer. I thought that was funny, and also thought, "Well, it's the correct answer..." so I changed it to an answer. But I also knew it was more funny than good, which is why I made it a community wiki. I figured it would likely get upvotes due to that, and felt it more appropriate to illicit a chuckle rather than earn some points for me. – TTT Aug 3 '17 at 15:51
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The risk to your credit in having an open bank account that you don't touch is that you will eventually incur a fee of some sort, and then end up in collections if you don't pay it off (perhaps because you've moved and you don't get the notice). Simply having a bank account doesn't show up on your credit report or impact it in any way, but the risk does exist that you may end up being charged a fee for having it open.

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    If the account has the minimum balance, what fee could it possibly incur? No bank is going to send an account to collections if there was no fraud from the owner because the bad press from predatory fees would cost them much more than those fees could possibly earn them. – NL - Apologize to Monica Aug 3 '17 at 14:54
  • This seems pretty far-fetched to me. Plus, this concern can be alleviated simply by asking the bank if there are ever any fees, and if so, just close it. – TTT Aug 3 '17 at 15:00
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    @NathanL It could have a balance, or not - who knows, that's not clarified. We did just have a question about this, though, and I think that it's worth mentioning this is a possibility. Who knows what policies might change in the future (such as the level of minimum balance), plus there may be inactivity fees. – Joe Aug 3 '17 at 15:27
  • Inactivity fees are precisely the predatory fees that I mentioned are not worth sending to collections because the return from collecting them will not outweigh the risk of bad press. Banks collect those fees as an excuse to close the account, not because they think they can collect the money. – NL - Apologize to Monica Aug 3 '17 at 15:37
  • @NathanL somewhat related: npr.org/2017/08/02/541182948/… - bad press notwithstanding. – starchild Aug 3 '17 at 23:02
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Sometimes.

Some Credit Unions and Banks can make hard inquiries even for opening a checking account, though I believe this generally not the case. Hard inquiries will cause your credit to go down by a few points.

I learned this from personal experience when I opened just a checking account at a credit union.

For example, this credit union is documented as making a Hard Pull with Equifax for their Rewards Checking account:

https://www.doctorofcredit.com/consumers-credit-union-5-07-apy-on-up-to-20000-rewards-checking/

Hard/soft pull: Hard pull (Equifax)

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    This answer isn't relevant to the question. If OP was considering opening a new account, then this would be relevant, but the account in question is already open and has been for years. – TTT Aug 3 '17 at 15:06
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    The title of the question suggests otherwise: Will it hurt my credit to open a bank account at a credit union. If the intention was otherwise, the OP should have written something like "Does it hurt my credit to keep a bank account open at a credit union." – user3898238 Aug 3 '17 at 15:28
  • I agree with you that the title is a little misleading, but that doesn't mean you should answer the title instead of the question. A better approach would be to edit the title (or in your case "suggest an edit" to the title). – TTT Aug 3 '17 at 15:46
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As TTT said, it won't hurt your credit. However, because I didn't see the below mentioned, I thought I chime in as there may be some confusion with the name Credit Union.

The thing to remember is that you are not opening a bank account. You are actually buying into the credit union which makes you part owner with the other members. Your saving's account is actually called a Share account for this reason.

Because they are called Credit Unions, do not think that they are doing stuff with your credit. They are merely community based financial institutions to help the union members get cheaper loans. Mainly this is due to unions being not-for-profit.

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