1. Get a credit card if you don’t already have one! Start off easy by establishing a line of credit. Credit cards aren’t evil. However, the way you use them can be. Use your credit card instead of cash, and pay off your bill at the end of the month if possible.
2. Pay off what you can. Lenders like to see that you know how to spend within your means. Even if you have a maxed out card, start making payments above the minimum balance and reduce your debt. Think about asking your credit card company to increase your credit-line. If you get your limit raised but don’t charge any more, it will lower the percentage of your credit limit being used.
3. Avoid opening new credit cards. Huh? But #1 says to get a credit card! This bit of advice if for the person who wants to open their 7th credit card to get that extra 20% at Kohls. Avoid making any new applications for credit, since credit inquiries can hurt your overall credit score. Opening a new credit account also lowers your average credit age, another action that hurts your credit score.
4. Pay your bills on time. See that WPS bill laying around? Pay it. How about water bill? Yup. Pay that one too. Got that car payment coming up? PAY IT. Late bills show up on your credit score.
5. Know your credit score. This is important! You should check your credit score and make sure it’s accurate. If you have something on there that’s incorrect, it could leave a devastating mark for 7 years.
Go to MyFICO to learn more and to check your score.