1

Pay your loans on time, every time. 

This is the most important factor in your credit score. Setting up auto-draft is an easy hack to make sure payments get handled.


2

Don’t get near your limit on any given credit card.

Credit scoring models analyze how close you are to being maxed out. So try to keep your balances compared to your credit limits (known as your “credit utilization ratio”) as low as possible. 


3

Keep already-established credit cards open, even if you no longer use them. 

Your credit utilization ratio also applies to your total credit limit across all cards. Try to keep that number at 30 percent or below. If you close old cards (and therefore reduce your total credit limit), your utilization ratio will likely shoot up.


4

Only apply for credit that you need.

While you shouldn’t close open cards, this doesn’t mean you should open a bunch of new cards. If you apply for a lot of credit over a short period of time, it may appear to lenders that your economic circumstances took a turn for the worse.


5

Pay off your credit card balance every month. 

Carrying a balance to the next month will not only mean paying higher interest rates, but it also lowers your credit score.


6

Exercise patience.

The longer you make on-time payments, the more you’ll see your score increase. But it takes some time and consistency.


7

Fact-check your credit reports.

Federal law gives you the right to get a free copy of your credit reports from each of the three national credit reporting companies once every 12 months. To order your report, visit annualcreditreport.com, call toll-free 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA  30348-5281

If you spot errors, dispute them. If you have old credit card accounts you are not using, keep an eye on them to make sure that an identity thief is not using them.


Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

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