More Measures for Improving or Maintaining Good Credit

By on March 5, 2018

A poor credit report can cost you when you go to make that major purchase – a car, home or school. But, don’t despair. It’s never too late to become credit worthy — take a few steps at a time to repair your credit history and remember that it won’t improve overnight.

Payment History Tips

This category has the greatest effect on improving your score, but past problems like missed or late payments and charge-offs are not easily fixed.

  • Delinquent payments and collections can have a major negative impact on your FICO score.
  • Pay your bills on time.
  • If you have missed payments, catch-up and stay current.
  • The more you pay your bills on time after being late, the more your FICO score should increase. Older credit problems weigh on your score less, so poor credit performance won’t haunt you forever. The impact of past credit problems on your FICO score fades as time passes and as recent good payment patterns show up on your credit report as a positive not to say that you are currently managing your credit well.
  • Be aware that paying off a collection account will not remove it from your credit report.
  • Collections and charge-offs stay on your report for seven years.
  • Contact your credit cards, lenders or see a credit counselor for any debt-forgiveness or missed-payment forgiveness services are available

Repairing and maintaining a good payment history won’t rebuild your credit score immediately, but over time your score should increase as you begin to manage your credit.

Tips for Managing Your Debt

Managing your debt-to-income ratio is easier to clean up than payment history, but it may require some detailed education and financial discipline to take advantage of these tips.

  • A large amount of outstanding debt can affect a credit score.
  • Pay off debt rather than moving it around with balance transfers (unless it is advantageous in the long-run – ask a professional).
  • Keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving credit.
  • Paying down your revolving (credit cards) debt: pay off your highest interest loans first, then design a payment schedule to reduce your reliance of credit
  • Having fewer open accounts with a the same debt limit may lower your score.
  • Don’t close unused credit cards as a short-term strategy to raise your score.
  • Don’t open a number of new credit cards to increase your available credit unless you need to leverage that line of credit for a specific purpose.

Establishing Credit History Tips

  • Try not to open a lot of new accounts in a short period of time. A rapid increase in open lines of credit can look risky if you are a new credit user.
  • New accounts will lower your average account age, which will have a larger effect on your score if you don’t have a lot of other credit information.

Use Your Credit Effectively

  • Apply for and open new credit accounts only when needed or for a specific purpose, such as buying a home or car.
  • Opening accounts just to have a better credit mix probably won’t raise your credit score.
  • Manage your use of credit cards and responsibly.
  • Closing an account doesn’t make it go away and can still negatively affect your credit score

Maintain Your Score When Applying for New Credit

  • Shop around for the best rates on loans and credit cards within a focused period of time. FICO credit scores distinguish between a search for a single new loan and searches for many new credit lines by the length of time over which inquiries occur.
  • It is OK to ask to see your credit report pulled by a financial institution when applying for new lines of credit, instead of affecting your score by making your own secondary credit history request.
  • Reestablish your credit history if you have had problem – Open new accounts responsibly and paying them off on time to raise your credit score in the long term.

If you have really bad credit, don’t let your credit status go dormant. Repairing your credit score is mostly about fixing errors in your credit history before following the guidelines above to maintain consistently good credit history. Raising your score after a poor mark on your report or building credit for the first time will take patience and discipline, but the faster you begin to reestablish good credit with on-time payments time, the faster you’ll improve your credit score.

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About Terri A. Kamoto

Senior writer for FSN - Terri is a former financial analyst dedicated to making personal finances, budgeting, investment and insurance advice accessible, up to date and easy to understand. It is hard to find professional advice written in a language someone without a financial background can understand. Terri helps companies synthesize industry lingo and expertise into clear and informative content which builds smarter, financially successful individuals. You can find Terri on !

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