Factors Affecting Your Credit Score
Many things in life are left to chance, but your credit score is not one of them. You control your rating with your financial decisions and actions.
Build Good Credit
These tips will help you make good choices when it comes to building your credit.
- Be on time. Pay all your bills, including cell phone payments, and make all your payments on time. Late or missing payments have a big negative impact on your score.
- Manage credit cards. When you're able to have your own credit cards, keep only 1 or 2 cards in your name and keep the balances low. You should never charge to the limit of (or max out) your credit cards.
- Be nontraditional. If you have a hard time getting approved for a credit card or loan, you may need to show some credit history.
- Save copies of the bills you pay and the checks you used to pay them.
- Ask for letters of reference from landlords, utility companies or others you do business with.
- Show your bills, payments and letters to lenders to show your history of paying on time.
Avoid Bad Credit
Just as good choices give you good credit, some poor decisions lead to not-so-good credit. Some things that can give you bad credit are:
- Late or skipped payments.
- High credit card balances.
- Too many accounts.
- Closing accounts you've had for a while.
- Going over your credit limit or having a too-high credit limit.
- Foreclosures, bankruptcies and accounts in collections.