If you are new to using credit, or are re-establishing damaged credit, utilize these tips to keep you good credit on track.
- Setting up on-line payments for your bills is any easy, secure and convenient way to simplify your finances. Automatic payments will make sure your bills are paid on time and will prevent you from incurring any future late fees.
- Charge small amounts regularly on each card — but not more than you can pay off each month.
- Use your credit wisely. Do not open unnecessary credit accounts. The extra 10% off you save to open a department store credit account may be quickly offset by the possible decrease in your credit score because (1) you may spend more, and (2) you are adding an additional trade account and additional inquiry to your credit file. Also, before you apply for additional credit, make sure your rent, mortgage and car payments can be easily met. If not, do not apply for additional credit until your income and debt are under control.
- Be cautious with credit card solicitations. Just because you receive one of these offers does not mean that you can afford the additional credit. Many companies are soliciting consumers who based on their past spending histories will charge big balances at high interest rates.
- Do not close credit accounts unless it is absolutely necessary in order to close a loan. When you delete a trade line you also delete the corresponding credit history and may inadvertently lower your credit score.
- It is always better to pay off credit cards before an auto or mortgage loan to get the biggest score increases.
- Review your credit file at least twice a year, correct any errors and omissions.
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