A poor credit score might represent poor money management skills, while on the other hand, a good score says you are a trustworthy borrower. People with good credit scores have an easier time qualifying for business and personal loans, mortgages, and credit cards. Your credit score can also determine the interest rate for monies borrowed.
Establishing your credit score can take time, and unfortunately, making poor decisions when it comes to your credit can easily become detrimental to your score. Here are six tips to keeping a healthy credit score.
Pay your bills (on time)
If you’re proactive about paying your bills on time or before the due date you should be in the clear when it comes to impacting your score, but missing just one can lead to serious consequences. Your payment history is the most important factor in calculating that score number - accounting for 35 percent of it. To avoid missing any payments, consider setting up automatic payments or creating a reminder of when bills are due.
Avoid maxing out your card
It can be exciting to get a new credit card to your favorite store, and become especially tempting to go on a mini shopping spree. This is one of the worst case scenarios for a new line of credit. Amounts owed represent 30% of your credit score. Be sure to only spend what you can afford and easily make payments on.
Don't load up on cards
While it's great to have a mix of credit open to build your credit history, your score is negatively affected each time you apply for a new line. For example, when you apply for a new credit card, your score could drop by as much as 10 percent.
Make medical payments on time
Bills from medical providers can often be forgotten and have a huge impact on your credit score. Make sure you stay on top of outstanding bills, know what insurance is covering, and how much you’ll need to pay to settle.
Avoid the dangers of co-signing
Your friend or relative might be in a tough spot and ask you to co-sign a loan. It can be difficult to say no to someone you care about, but it might be the best option for you. When you put your name on someone else's loan, you have the same liability as the other person. If he or she begins to fall behind on payments, it will jeopardize your good credit.
Apply for credit with long-term in mind
While it may be tempting to open a store credit card for the latest offer, it’s important to think about your overall financial goals. If you’re planning to apply for a larger loan such as a car or mortgage, then applying for the store credit card might not be your best move. The length you’ve had a credit account affects your credit by 15 percent. This being said, it’s never a great idea to apply for a credit card if you have the intention of closing it in the near future.
It’s important to understand where your credit score stands and how you can work hard to improve it. Be smart with your credit now, and it will pay off later!
If you’re not sure where your credit score currently stands, check out MaxMoney® today. You’ll get access to your credit report every 90 days or upon receipt of a credit alert.