Monitor your credit regularly
Make sure you stay on top of your credit history. Be sure to check all three credit bureaus annually.
Know your credit limits
Being close to or maxing out your credit limits may negatively impact your credit score.
Keep balances low
Keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving accounts – this may help your credit score.
Don’t open too many accounts
Opening up a bunch of credit accounts you don’t need may negatively impact your credit score.
Mix up your credit
A balanced mix of types of credit (real estate, auto, credit card, etc.) may help your credit score.
Know your debt-to-income ratio
Lenders look at the amount of debt you have compared to your monthly income – it’s good to keep that under 35%.
Start with a college or secured credit card
If you need to establish credit, a secured credit card or a college credit card may be a good way to start.
Pay down highest interest rates first
When trying to pay down your existing debt, pay down your highest-interest debt first.
Live within your means
By setting a budget and living within your means, you can avoid using credit to overextend yourself.
Beware of moving debt
Be wary of moving around debt repeatedly – you need to pay debt down to improve your credit score.
Credit history has a long memory
Bankruptcies and tax liens remain on your credit report for at least 10 years.
Good scores = Good rates
Better credit scores may get you better credit interest rates
Pay more than the minimum
Paying more than what’s due on your credit card helps you pay down debt faster and can improve your credit score.
Set up alerts
Set up email and text alerts, as well as autopay, to help ensure that you pay your bills on time and build a positive credit history.
Open credit only when needed
Apply for and open new credit accounts only if you need them, because too many may lower your credit score.
Don’t be late
The first missed payment has the largest impact on a credit score, so don’t miss payments.
Think before closing accounts
Closing credit card accounts may lower your available credit and could hurt your score in the short term.
Always pay on time
Your payment history is one of the biggest factors in your credit score.
Check report for errors
Check your credit report at least once a year with all 3 bureaus to make sure there are no errors.
Be patient… it takes time
Even though positive events show up on your credit history right away, it may still take time to have an effect on your credit score.
Length of your history matters
Lenders care about the length of your credit history because they want to see that you can manage credit accounts responsibly over time.
Check your credit score regularly
Checking your own credit does not affect your credit score.
Establish credit with a co-signer
If you need to establish credit, applying for a loan or credit product with a co-borrower or co-signer can be a good way to start.
Bank online regularly
Check your credit card activity regularly with online banking, instead of waiting for your paper statement to arrive in the mail.
Be cautious who you apply with
Opening joint accounts with a spouse or partner will impact both parties’ credit files and credit scores, and both are responsible for the debt.