28 Things To Help You Manage Your Credit

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.