Updated: Aug 4
The key here is to make the best choices overall. It is difficult and time consuming at best, but ultimately it will give you the best results over all. Maintaining your credit report and credit score is perhaps the longest journey you will be on throughout your life. There is never a time when you can take a break.
Some things to do to ensure the highest credit score is in reach:
Get your credit report clean of any errors on it by reporting and disputing these with each of the three credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.
Keep an eye on your credit report. At least one time a year pull each report, examine it for potential mistakes and keep it clean.
Don't make payments late. One of the worst things you can do is send in your payment late. This is an instant warning sign to potential lenders: he or she is struggling with debt; beware! Send your payment in at least a week prior to the due date to ensure punctuality.
Do not go over your credit limit, like late payments this is another instance of struggling to make payments.
Keep your debts low. Pay off as much of or all of your debt each month. This shows to lenders you are a good credit risk and that you deserve more credit available to you.
Stay on top of the changes credit bureaus and Congress make to credit reporting. Small changes can make a significant difference in the way credit reporting happens and therefore what your credit is.
Use credit when you need to, but keep yourself in check.
Don't request multiple lines of credit at one time. When shopping for the best rates on a credit card, insurance product, or home loan, do so using estimated credit scores rather than allowing several companies to pull your report.
Keep your personal information personal. This includes your Social Security Number, address and historical information about you. Report any risks of identity theft as soon as you see them.
Live within your CASH means. In other words, make sure that 90 percent or more of your purchases are made using cash. Get off the credit lifestyle and you may find that your credit score goes up and you have more money in your pocket each month.
It does take a long time to build a successful credit report, but the process itself is one that teaches you how to use money wisely. It does not matter what has brought you to this point today. The only thing that truly makes a difference is what happens tomorrow.
Clean up your credit report first. Then, and ongoing, maintain it and use credit wisely. You will then have more doors open to you each month and you will have credit available to you when you need it.