Your ability to get loans, credit cards, or even rent an apartment may be significantly impacted by having a low credit score. To be able to get credit when you need it, you must keep a high credit score. These are some actions you may take as a citizen of the USA to prevent having a low credit score.
- Pay your bills on time:
Paying your bills on time is one of the most critical factors in maintaining a good credit score. Payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO credit score, which is a significant portion. Late payments can stay on your credit report for up to seven years and can have a significant impact on your credit score.
To avoid late payments, set up automatic payments for your bills or create a schedule to remind yourself when payments are due. If you’re struggling to make payments, reach out to your creditors and discuss possible payment plans or options to avoid negative credit reporting.
- Keep your credit card balances low:
Another important aspect of your credit score is your credit usage rate, which compares the amount of credit you’re using to the overall credit limit. A high credit usage rate can be a sign that you rely significantly on credit and could perhaps have payment issues.
Try to keep your balances below 30% of your credit limit to maintain a low credit use rate. Spreading your balances across numerous credit cards will prevent you from using up all of one card.
- Don’t open too many new credit accounts:
Your credit score may suffer if you open too many new credit accounts. A hard inquiry, which can remain on your credit report for up to two years, is made when you apply for credit. Lenders may be reluctant to grant you more credit if you have too many hard inquiries because this could mean that you are taking on too much debt.
Focus on establishing a solid credit history with a few accounts rather than applying for numerous credit cards or loans. It’s best to keep accounts active for as long as you can because your credit score is affected by the duration of your credit history.
- Check your credit report regularly:
To keep your credit score high, you must frequently check your credit report. It’s crucial to check your credit report for correctness because mistakes might lower your credit score.
Each of the three major credit bureaus offers a free copy of your credit report once a year. Check for mistakes like inaccurate personal information, accounts that aren’t yours, or late payments for purchases you completed on time. If you notice any mistakes, report them to the credit bureau so they can be fixed.
- Be cautious about co-signing:
When you co-sign for a credit card or loan, you share responsibility for the debt. Your credit score may suffer if the other party doesn’t make payments, and you can be held liable for the debt.
Consider the dangers and make sure the co-signer is trustworthy and able to make payments on time before agreeing to co-sign. It’s preferable to steer clear of co-signing altogether if you’re hesitant.
- Build a positive credit history:
Having a positive credit history can help improve your credit score. To do this, pay your bills on time, use credit responsibly, and maintain a low credit utilization rate.
One way to build credit is by using a secured credit card, which requires a deposit that becomes your credit limit. Using a secured credit card responsibly and paying it off each month can help you build credit.
As a citizen of the USA, maintaining a high credit score is crucial to your financial security. By keeping your credit card balances low, avoiding opening too many new credit accounts, and paying your bills on time is among the factors that can protect your credit score.