Great credit is within reach, if you follow these timeless tips.
Always pay your bills on time.
This simple act each month will build great financial habits that will pay off over the long run.
Keep your balances low.
Credit issuers often report your balance to the credit agencies on a certain date, typically the last day of your billing cycle. Consider paying all or part of your bill before the closing date ( call your credit issuers to find out the specific date) so the issuer will report a lower or zero balance. Also, ask your issuer if they accept multiple payments during the month to help you maintain a lower balance and still earn rewards.
Maintain a credit utilization ratio of less than 30 percent.
Simply put, your balances make up 30 percent of the total amount of credit available to you. If you'd like to increase your credit score faster, lower your credit utilization ratio to less than 10 percent.
Tackle your debt.
Start with the highest interest rate card or loan. Once that debt is gone, pay down the balance with the next highest rate. Continue the process until you've paid off all your existing credit card and loan debt.
Avoid using your credit cards to pay for large purchases.
While credit cards make it easy and convenient to buy what you want, the compound interest can add up quickly and work against you if you don't pay the balance off in a timely manner.
Good Financial Habits to Cultivate Now
Check your credit report. Once, every year you're entitled to a free credit report from all three credit agencies via annualcreditreport.com. Be sure to save all three reports and review thoroughly. If you notice any inaccurate information, report it immediately to your credit agency.
Set up automatic payments.
If you have trouble remembering when bills are due, set up automatic payments. Or, if you prefer to pay all of your monthly at a specific time, set up payment reminders to help you remember due dates.
If you're young or have a short credit history, avoid opening several new accounts at once.
Opening multiple accounts in a short amount of time may lower your score. Also, if you're rate shopping, lump it into a single inquiry. Several new inquiries into your credit can count against you.
It's never too late to repair your credit.
If you have to start over due to bankruptcy, be diligent about opening new accounts and continue to make up your payments on time. This will help you rebuild your good credit history.