Q&A: Credit rating after mortgage payoff

Dear Liz: We are recently retired and will own our home free and clear in about six months. Will not having regular mortgage payments dent our credit ratings? If so, what can be done as a good substitute?

Answer: Your credit scores may dip after you pay off your mortgage, particularly if you don’t have another installment loan such as a vehicle or personal loan. To get and keep the highest credit scores, you typically need both installment loans and revolving accounts, such as credit cards.

The good news: You don’t need the highest credit scores to get the best rates and terms from lenders. Using credit cards lightly but regularly can help you maintain good scores without taking on debt.

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