Your credit score is important when you are looking to make a major purchase such as a car or home. It is used as part of your background check when you are searching for a job or renting an apartment. According to financial resource SmartMoney, building up your credit can be difficult if you do not learn how to use available credit resources to your advantage.
Order a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies; Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. According to the Federal Trade Commission, you are entitled to one full and free credit report per agency every 12 months. Each agency uses its own data-collecting methods; thus, each report may have different information, some of which may be incorrect. Monitoring all your reports allows you to address all errors.
Analyze your credit report to look for three things. First, check for any mistakes in your personal information, which may possibly result in incorrect information showing up on your report. Next, examine the report for accounts you do not recognize. If you see one you do not recall owning, use the dispute system outlined in your credit report to get the entry analyzed and possibly removed. Finally, look for any old open accounts that you need to pay off or otherwise address. Having an open account on your credit report with a balance due will drag down your credit score.
Keep a balance in your checking and savings accounts. This shows you are able to save money while still paying your bills. Having a balance can result in a higher credit score. In addition, if you apply for a loan, it helps lenders see that you are a responsible consumer.
Pay your account balances down on your credit cards. Always maintain a balance of no more than 30 percent of your available limit, according to SmartMoney. Your credit history benefits when you show that you are able to use your available credit responsibly and do not maximize your credit card limits.
Collect all of your bills each month, make a list of their due dates and pay all of your minimum balances on time and in full. A consistent record of prompt payments will gradually increase your credit score each month.
While trying to build your credit score, avoid signing up for any additional credit accounts, according to the Federal Reserve. Too many inquiries into your credit score can lower it. In addition, avoid applying for multiple accounts at the same time.
- MSN Money: 9 Ways to Build Credit from Scratch
- Bankrate: 5 Steps to Do-It-Yourself Credit Repair
- Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System: 5 Tips--Improving Your Credit Score
- SmartMoney: 6 Ways to Build Up Your Credit
- Federal Trade Commission: Facts for Consumers--Your Access to Free Credit Reports
- patriot credit card image by Ray Kasprzak from Fotolia.com