It’s never too late to improve how you use credit. Whether your credit score is high or could use some work, here are some tips to maintain your best credit score.
- BE ALERT. Checking your credit history for errors or unfamiliar/suspicious activity should be done on a regular basis. Identity theft is a problem, and if left undetected, can harm your credit. Georgia state law enables consumers the right to a free credit report once each year. You can pull your report at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- BE ON TIME. One of the biggest factors in pulling down your credit score is paying bills late. Pay on time every month and you will see your score rise.
- APPLY FOR CREDIT ONLY WHEN NEEDED. Only apply for new credit cards if you really need them. Multiple loan applications within a short time period will often harm your credit score.
- CREDIT UTILIZATION RATE. Your credit utilization rate is your total amount of debt divided by your total amount of available credit. Keeping your balances low (30% is a common bench mark) should help your credit. For example, if your credit limit on a credit card is $5,000, you are encouraged to maintain a balance of $1,500 or lower.
- DON’T CLOSE CREDIT ACCOUNTS. As long as you’re in good standing with your existing credit cards, consider keeping them open, even if you don’t use them. Closing them not only hits your score the same way as applying, but reduces your available credit and affects your utilization rate.
CREDIT REPAIR. It is important that you know that many ‘credit repair’ services are scams. Please learn more about credit repair before you seek this type of service. Please see this article from the Federal Trade Commission, https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0225-credit-repair-scams