Shhhh! The Credit Card Secret That Could Boost Your Credit

Even if you have a good credit score, you may still want to find a way to boost your credit, especially if you want to take out a loan soon.

Even if you have a good credit score, you may still want to find a way to inch that magical number higher, especially if you are in the market for an auto loan or a mortgage in the near future. Even at a 700, an extra twenty points or so could easily bump you into a lender’s higher credit tier and net you a lower interest rate.

So, how do you get an increase when you’re already in the “good” range?

The Trick Is …

As you may already know, one of the largest factors in determining your credit scores is your credit utilization ratio, or how much debt you have compared to your credit limits. Paying attention to this aspect of your scores just might be the ticket.

No, that doesn’t mean it’s essential to carry a zero balance to have a good credit utilization ratio. In fact, credit experts recommend keeping your debt level at 30%, ideally 10%, of your total credit limit. So, how do you get your ratio in that sweet spot?

One way — often the most commonly noted way — is to only charge up to that amount before paying down your balance.

But here’s the secret: the timing of your credit card payments.

The Importance of Timing

Typically, even if you’re paying your balance every month by or on the due date, the balance shown on the statement date (also called the closing date) is the amount reported to the credit bureaus for that month, Barry Paperno, a credit expert who blogs at Speaking of Credit, said. When your credit scores are pulled, that balance, even if you have since paid it off, will still be reported and can affect your credit utilization. By adjusting when you make your payments, you’ll have more control over what effect your spending has on your credit.

Beyond that, Jeff Richardson, spokesperson for VantageScore Solutions, said that credit bureaus now compile data over time, in addition to just the snapshot.

“This new kind of data shows when you paid and how much in addition to whether it was on time so they can see if you’re a revolver (debt carrier) or a transactor (someone who pays balances off entirely),” Richardson said.

Credit scores don’t generally take that data into consideration right now. Still, “a lender or credit issuer for a mortgage or an auto loan can pull that data and use it to reward the transactors with better loan terms.” (Note: This isn’t always done, but is possible.)

As such, you may want to pay your credit card charges off as you go or at least before your credit card statement’s closing date (more on this below).

Figuring Out When to Pay 

Take a look at your last credit card statement. If your statement date is November 10, the balance on that date is likely what was reported to the credit bureaus, regardless of the payment due date. Keep this in mind as you make your payments, since it will give you a better idea of what your reports are showing as your utilization.

“To reduce that balance reported or avoid having it reported at all, don’t wait for your next statement to come,” Paperno recommended. “Instead, go online to see the up-to-date balance and you’ll know exactly what to pay before the closing date.”

What Kind of Credit Score Bump Might You See?

There certainly isn’t a guarantee that you’ll see an increase because of this payment adjustment. However, Paperno said he saw about a ten-point score difference on his already high scores, just about a month after implementing this change. Maybe ten points doesn’t seem like much, but it could bump you from a prime credit score to a super prime credit score, possibly saving you thousands of dollars in interest payments.

“This is one of the few things you can really control about credit scores so it’s worth it to take advantage of it if you can,” Paperno said.

To see how your habits are affecting your credit scores, you can take a look at two of your credit scores for free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

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Hate Credit Cards? There’s Still a Way to Build Credit & Avoid Debt

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If you want to build credit, don’t want to go into debt and don’t want to use a credit card, you’ve got a bit of a problem. You can definitely build credit without going into debt, but that generally requires using a credit card. There are plenty of ways to build credit without using a credit card, but they generally require going into debt. It’s frustrating, we know.

Things like utility payments and rent are sometimes reported to the credit bureaus and are factored into a few credit scoring models, but it’s far from the industry standard right now. There’s some good news, though: There’s a debt-free, low-maintenance, credit-building strategy you might not despise.

Step 1: Check Your Budget for a Recurring Bill

Most people have at least one consistent monthly expense. These are often subscriptions (like Netflix or a magazine) or small bills (like an insurance premium or a cell phone bill). Many of these can be set to automatic payments, and many of them can be paid with a credit card without an additional credit card processing fee. See if you can find one. Got it? OK, you’re not going to love this next step, but give it a chance before you freak out.

Step 2: Get a Credit Card (Wait, What?)

Yes, this strategy requires a credit card, but you hardly ever have to use it. You may never take it out of your wallet (and, really, you could probably just keep it locked up at home). If you don’t have a credit card, you’ll first want to check your credit score, which you can do for free on Credit.com, to see what you might be able to qualify for. There are credit cards for people with bad credit and no credit, but keep in mind that some credit cards carry annual fees or require a deposit in order to access a line of credit. Still, you can get a credit card for a relatively low cost (or for free), and if you pay off the balance on time every month, your purchases won’t accrue interest. (See? No debt.)

Step 3: Pay Your Small, Recurring Bill With Your Credit Card

Set up your automatic payment to hit your credit card.

Step 4: Pay Your Credit Card Bill

You can either manually pay your credit card bill as soon as the other bill payment hits, or you may want to set up another automatic payment, this time for your credit card. Make sure you’re paying it on time and in full each month, because that’s what’s going to build a positive credit history and keep you from going into debt.

Step 5: Check Your Progress

It’s easy to “set it and forget it,” and that’s sort of the idea here, but you don’t want to forget it and accidentally miss a payment because you haven’t updated your account or a payment didn’t go through as it was supposed to.

Some Extra Tips

When you’re deciding if this strategy is right for you (and it’s not for everyone), remember that part of what builds a good credit score is using as little of your available credit card limit as possible. So, if you have a very low credit limit on your credit card, the bill you choose to pay with it should be fairly inexpensive, if you want to get the most out of this strategy. Making sure this goes right requires attention to detail — it can backfire if you miss a credit card payment, max out the credit card or miss the bill payment and it ends up in collections — and it’s also a good idea to check your credit score regularly to make sure it’s having the effect you want it to.

Find the perfect credit card for you using our credit card finder tool.

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3 Jobs That Can Be Harder to Get With Bad Credit

jobs-harder-to-get-with-bad-credit

Are you in search of greener pastures or simply feel ready for a new career challenge? If so, it doesn’t hurt to have good credit, as some employers pull a version of applicants’ credit reports during the application process as part of a background investigation. For jobs that require federal government security clearance or access to government facilities, for example, pulling a credit report is a must. And when that credit report gets pulled, it had better be spotless (learn how to make sense of your report here), lest you lose out on the job due to your poor credit history.

Here’s a look at some jobs that require solid credit in order to get your foot in the door.

1. Security Clearance Jobs

Military personnel, IT professionals … a lot of jobs require government security clearance, and if you’re applying for one, a credit report check is generally going to happen. Though your overall credit or FICO score is not relevant to an adjudicator for a background investigator, Marko Hakamaa, contributor to security clearance career networking site ClearanceJobs.com said via email, “your history of being financially responsible and paying as agreed upon legal and just debts” is important. The reason: “This is a reflection of a person’s honesty and trustworthiness,” he said.

If that’s not enough reason to work on building your credit, Stephanie Benson, general manager of ClearanceJobs.com, added that “regular credit reports will also be pulled for current clearance holders as a part of the continuous monitoring process.” So if you’ve let your credit slide, now’s the time to get things in order.

2. Financial Broker

Your good credit history is more than a ticket to lower mortgage rates and travel rewards credit cards. It can also help you score a career in the high-stakes world of finance. That’s according to the Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which requires prospective applicants to be vetted. FINRA was unavailable for direct comment, but a notice issued in March 2015 says:

“FINRA Rule 3110(e) requires that each member firm ascertain by investigation the good character, business reputation, qualifications and experience of an applicant before the firm applies to register that applicant with FINRA and before making a representation to that effect on the application for registration.”

Information disclosed on the organization’s Form U4 is used to help determine whether an applicant should be disqualified or may present “a regulatory risk for the firm and customers,” FINRA adds. “Firms also may wish to consider private background checks, credit reports and reference letters for this purpose.”

3. Mortgage Officer 

Though Joe Parsons, senior loan officer at PFS Financing in Dublin, California, has never heard of anyone being denied a license solely because of their credit, he does “think regulators are looking for evidence of fraudulent activity that might show up on a credit report as judgments,” he said via email. So, yes, mortgage loan officers are licensed today under the National Mortgage Licensing System and part of that process involves a criminal background check and credit report, Parsons said.

The Keys to Great Credit  

When applying for the jobs we’ve listed above, you’ll want your credit to look as polished and professional as your resume. So how do you do it? By paying attention to how your spending habits impact your credit — you can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com — and understanding what it takes to build solid credit. Here’s a quick look at what goes into your credit report.

Payment History: Also known as your payment performance, your payment history is worth 35% of the points in your credit score and refers to the record you’ve established of paying bills on time. If lenders report that you’ve missed a few bills to the credit reporting agencies, you can guarantee that information will go onto your credit report — and ding your score.

Amount of Debt: Credit utilization — that is, the amount of credit you’re using compared to your total available revolving credit limits — accounts for almost 30% of the points in your credit score. So if your debt is closing in on that credit limit, or worse still, exceeds it, your credit may be in trouble. Remember, the lower your ratio, the higher your score. Other debt, such as open or installment debt, can also negatively impact your credit if you aren’t managing it responsibly or it’s excessive.

Types of Accounts: From student loans to credit cards, it’s helpful to have a healthy group of accounts (also known as a “credit mix”) in your credit report. In fact, whether or not you have a variety of accounts can affect nearly 10% of the points in your credit score.

History of Searching for Credit: Worth 10% of the points in your credit score, this section of your credit report assesses your history of inquiries, or what happens anytime someone pulls your credit report. When you apply for a loan or pre-qualify for a mortgage, for instance, an inquiry posts to your credit. If you go shopping for credit a lot, you’ll likely be considered a high risk to lenders.

Age of Accounts: Some people like to say age is nothing more than a number. But in the world of credit, it refers to the age of the information in your credit history, and it matters a lot. Worth 15% of the points in your credit history, the older your history, the better your score.

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Can Alternative Credit Scores Hurt You?

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We’ve written quite a bit on alternative credit scores at Credit.com over the years — and on how these non-traditional scores based on things like utility and rent payments can help consumers with “thin” credit files qualify for credit cards and loans. But can the opposite also be true? Can people who have healthy “traditional” credit scores be stymied by the use of alternative scores?

There’s emerging evidence that it is, in fact, possible.

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times recounts the experience of one such man, Joseph, who applied for a travel rewards card through Bank of America only to be rejected because of the bank’s use of an alternative credit score from a company called Credit Optics.

Now, keep in mind that Joseph told the Times that his traditional credit score from FICO is an 820. That’s an excellent score based on FICO’s scale of 300-850 (learn more about what counts as a good credit scores here). And Joseph told the Times that his debt-to-income ratio is below 20%, which you might already know means he carries very little debt based on his ability to repay. While FICO doesn’t measure debt-to-income, the amount of debt you’re carrying compared to your total credit availability is a critical part of your FICO score.

Joseph’s alternative score through Credit Optics was a 374 on a wide scale of 1 to 999, which, a company representative reportedly told the Times was a “pretty good” score. But it wasn’t good enough for Bank of America to approve his request for a new credit card. (Bank of America did not immediately respond to Credit.com’s request for comment.)

The rest of the details around Joseph’s rejection aren’t clear, but it begs the question: Can it happen to you? The short answer is yes.

It Could Happen to You

“When alternative credit data first started to be used, the idea was that this was going to fill in thin files for people who didn’t have a lot of credit history with traditional financial products,” said Thomas Bright, a writer with Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions. “That was the idea early on, and this looks like more of a trend toward using these scores for even the traditional consumer who has a positive traditional credit history. That’s a new trend that brings a whole new set of concerns.”

Specifically, those concerns revolve around not knowing what information will be used to make up your alternative credit scores. It could be your utility bills, your rent — essentially every single bill you might receive. Bills for not returning library books on time. Or even your driving and arrest records, as some alternative scores include information from public records. Nearly anything could be fair game when it comes to determining your creditworthiness.

“It’s really comes down to transparency,” Bright said. “When you look at FICO, it’s very clear. There are five categories that make up your score, and then it’s one step from there to figure out how you can influence these five categories. And then you can really take your destiny into your own hands and shape your credit score and credit profile. But when we talk about alternative data, that’s not possible for most people because … it’s not clear how much alternative data there is on them, and they don’t have access to see it.”

What You Can Do

Broader use of alternative scores in conjunction with traditional credit scores means you’ll need to make certain you make timely payments on every financial commitment you have to avoid any blemishes that could negatively impact you, Bright said. You’ll also need to appear stable, so having direct deposit from your employer can be helpful, as can moving infrequently.

Setting up auto-pay for your monthly bills can help ensure you don’t miss or make a late payment. Also, avoiding overdrafts on your bank accounts can also help because some alternative data takes that information into account when determining your credit score.

If you’re ever denied credit, it’s good to review the denial to find out what credit reporting agency the financial institution used. If it’s one of the big three agencies, it’s a good idea to pull your credit reports, which you can do for free every year at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can then begin to clean up any blemishes and improve your credit scores. Likewise, if you see errors on your reports, you can dispute those errors so they are removed.

If you were denied because of a report issued by an alternative credit scoring company, you can contact them and see if they will explain to you what is included in their calculations so you can attempt to dispute, correct or mitigate that data. But that could be easier said than done.

[CREDIT REPAIR HELP: If you need help fixing your credit but don’t want to go it alone, our partner, Lexington Law, can manage the credit repair process for you. Learn more about them here or call them at (844)-346-3295 for a free consultation.]

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Do You Start With a Credit Score of ‘0’?

what_is_the_lowest_credit_score

When you think about it, credit scores have a lot in common with the SATs: They stress people out, involve tough-to-answer questions and play a huge role in determining whether your applications (albeit for financing) get denied.

There’s another notable similarity, too, which you may not know about: When it comes to credit scores, you can’t get a zero.

The Lowest Possible Credit Score

Most major credit scoring models, including standard FICO and Vantage Scores, have a range of 300 to 850, with 300 representing the lowest, or worst, possible score and 850 representing the highest, or absolute best. (You can learn more about what constitutes a good credit score here.)

Some specialty scores, including the FICO Industry Option scores, have a lower minimum (250), but, generally, no matter what model we’re talking about, “you don’t start at zero and, let’s say, work your way up to a respectable score over time,” Barry Paperno, a credit scoring expert who worked at FICO for many years and now writes for SpeakingofCredit.com, said in an email.

You also don’t really start at a 350. That’s because until you meet a model’s minimum criteria, you won’t have any score at all. In that case, the credit bureaus will let a lender (or landlord or cable company or anyone else requesting your credit as part of their application process) know that you’re score-less.

“When a score can’t be computed because the credit report doesn’t meet the minimum scoring criteria, an alpha or numeric ‘exclusion code’ is transmitted to the requester indicating one, that no score can be calculated, and two, a general reason why the credit report didn’t meet the minimum scoring requirements,” Paperno said.

No Panic Necessary

Thin-to-no credit can certainly make it harder to secure a loan, but there are lines of credit specifically designed to help people in that demographic (see secured credit cards, student credit cards or credit-builder loans) establish a credit history. And, after you get ahold of some starter credit, it shouldn’t be too long before a model is able to calculate your score. For instance, the minimum criteria for the FICO scoring models, Paperno said, generally includes:

  • At least one account opened more than six months ago
  • At least one account reported to the credit bureau within the past six months
  • No indicator on the credit report that the consumer is deceased

Moreover, once you meet this criteria, you could conceivably find you have a decent score — so long, of course, as you’re using your credit account(s) responsibly.

“For instance, you can be 18-years-old with a secured card opened six months ago, pay on time every month, keep a low utilization, and your first score can be in the high 600s,” Paperno said.

Remember, to build good credit in the long-term, you want to make all loan payments on time, keep the amount of debt you owe below at least 30%, and ideally 10%, of your total available credit limit(s), and add a mix of accounts to your credit file as your score and your wallet can handle it. You can track your progress toward building good credit by viewing two of your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.

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What to Do When Your Parents Kick You Off Their Credit Card

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Plenty of parents make their kids authorized users on their credit cards, and for good reason. Credit cards provide a way to build credit, giving teenagers an early financial leg up (provided the card is managed responsibly) by establishing a credit history before they’re old enough to get a credit card on their own.

It can also be a great chance for parents to supervise how their children are spending and help them learn financial lessons, like making payments on time or reading a credit card statement. Even checking credit scores and reports through free credit score tools (such as those on Credit.com) and free annual credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com can help them reach their financial goals.

But at some point, there comes a time when all parents cut the cord (and the card), kids must make it on their own in the world of credit. What now?

If that recently happened to you, there are two starting points where you’ll likely find yourself: having a good credit score or having a not-so-good credit score.

If Your Credit Scores Are Good

If your parents have been making timely payments on the card you also carry, you likely have a credit score that is good enough to get your own credit card. If that’s the case, you can consider some of these credit cards for good credit. If you’re still in school, you might want to consider a credit card specifically designed for students.

Remember, if you’re under 21, you’ll need to demonstrate an ability to repay or have a willing co-signer to qualify — federal law prohibits issuers from extending credit cards to you otherwise. You should also check your credit before applying so you know where your score stands, because the inquiry will temporarily ding it.

If your parents are only just now starting to talk about removing you as an authorized user from their card, it might be a good idea to ask them to wait until you apply for a new card in your own name. This will ensure that your credit score remains high — closing credit card accounts can have a negative impact on your credit scores — while you go through the application process.

Better yet, you can ask your parents to take your card but keep you as an authorized user on their account. As long as they are making payments on time and not carrying high balances, this will help you even further in establishing a good credit history. That’s because roughly 15% of major credit scores is based upon the length of your credit history. So the longer you’ve had credit, the more points you’ll earn toward your total credit score.

If Your Credit Scores Aren’t So Hot

If your parent or parents are having financial difficulties and haven’t been making timely payments on the credit card or have run up a high balance — credit utilization is a big factor in credit scores — you might not have very good established credit.

The good news is, you have options, and getting disconnected from your parents’ credit could be a very good thing for your scores. Authorized users are not considered responsible for making payments, so if negative information is appearing on your credit reports because of the account, you can contact your lender and asked to be removed from it. After that, the account should stop appearing on your credit reports. If it doesn’t, you can file a dispute with the credit bureaus.

Next, you can start on your own financial road by first checking your credit scores to see exactly where you stand. You might also want to check your credit reports to make sure everything on them is accurate (see the free credit scores and reports links in the second paragraph). If afterward you’re certain you have “thin” or “bad” credit, there are some credit cards — both secured and unsecured — that you can consider applying for to help you establish or rebuild credit.

If you find out through checking your credit scores that the situation is actually not all that bad, you can try applying for a credit card for fair credit.

Credit cards can be a simple way to establish and build credit, but they’re not your only option. You can also consider credit-builder loans to get you started.

Whatever your decision, remember that your credit is an important for everything, from getting a car loan to renting an apartment, opening utilities and sometimes even landing a job. So taking care of it should be a top priority. You can build good credit in the long-term by making all loan payments on time, keeping debt levels low, limiting new credit inquiries and only adding a mix of credit accounts as your wallet and score can afford them.

More Money-Saving Reads:

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Should I Be Worried If My Credit Score Dropped 10 Points?

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You’ve decided to check your credit every month. And, since you’ve been working hard to establish a good credit score, you’re a bit disheartened when you learn that your number appears to have dropped over the last 30 days.

Should you also be worried? Not necessarily.

Why the Drop? 

Credit scores are dynamic — they change as the information on your credit report gets added and/or updated. Most lenders report to the major credit reporting agencies in 30 day increments, so it’s fairly common to see slightly different numbers from month to month.

A major culprit behind small dips are credit card balances. Credit utilization — how much debt you’re carrying vs. your total available credit limit(s) — is a major factor among credit scores, so if you charged a bit more to your plastic this month than the last, there’s a chance your score is being affected by those extra purchases.

There are other reasons why you might see a small decrease: Perhaps you applied for a new line of credit last month (that’ll create an inquiry, and ding your score). Or maybe you’re looking at a different credit score. Remember, you have more than one. They can vary by lender or loan product and, though all scores are generally based on the same building blocks, each specific algorithm may be crunching numbers a bit differently.

Stay Alert

None of this means you should simply discount any changes you may see. A dramatic drop in score, for instance, could be a sign that identity theft is occurring. Or there could be an error on one of your credit reports that is affecting your score. (You can go here to learn how to dispute errors with the credit bureaus.)

If you do see a decrease, some digging might be required to see what is behind it. You can start by pulling your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com — a good idea if you’re seeing really big discrepancies in your scores. You can also view your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com. It tells you how you’re doing in the five key drivers of your credit scores — payment history, debt usage, credit age, account mix and inquiries — and can help you pinpoint what may have gone wrong or what you can do to ultimately improve your score.

Remember, you can build good credit in the long-term by making all loan payments on time, keeping debt levels low, limiting new credit inquiries and only adding a mix of credit accounts as your wallet and score can afford them.

More Money-Saving Reads:

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Should I Be Worried If My Credit Score Dropped 10 Points?

credit_score_drop

You’ve decided to check your credit every month. And, since you’ve been working hard to establish a good credit score, you’re a bit disheartened when you learn that your number appears to have dropped over the last 30 days.

Should you also be worried? Not necessarily.

Why the Drop? 

Credit scores are dynamic — they change as the information on your credit report gets added and/or updated. Most lenders report to the major credit reporting agencies in 30 day increments, so it’s fairly common to see slightly different numbers from month to month.

A major culprit behind small dips are credit card balances. Credit utilization — how much debt you’re carrying vs. your total available credit limit(s) — is a major factor among credit scores, so if you charged a bit more to your plastic this month than the last, there’s a chance your score is being affected by those extra purchases.

There are other reasons why you might see a small decrease: Perhaps you applied for a new line of credit last month (that’ll create an inquiry, and ding your score). Or maybe you’re looking at a different credit score. Remember, you have more than one. They can vary by lender or loan product and, though all scores are generally based on the same building blocks, each specific algorithm may be crunching numbers a bit differently.

Stay Alert

None of this means you should simply discount any changes you may see. A dramatic drop in score, for instance, could be a sign that identity theft is occurring. Or there could be an error on one of your credit reports that is affecting your score. (You can go here to learn how to dispute errors with the credit bureaus.)

If you do see a decrease, some digging might be required to see what is behind it. You can start by pulling your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com — a good idea if you’re seeing really big discrepancies in your scores. You can also view your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com. It tells you how you’re doing in the five key drivers of your credit scores — payment history, debt usage, credit age, account mix and inquiries — and can help you pinpoint what may have gone wrong or what you can do to ultimately improve your score.

Remember, you can build good credit in the long-term by making all loan payments on time, keeping debt levels low, limiting new credit inquiries and only adding a mix of credit accounts as your wallet and score can afford them.

More Money-Saving Reads:

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4 Maneuvers That Can Protect Your Good Credit Score

protect-your-good-credit-score

Getting a good credit score is one thing; keeping a good credit score is another. One small slip-up, like a single missed payment or collections account, can easily kick you out of the credit elite.

That’s why maintenance is key. You’ve worked hard to get over that 700 benchmark, so here are some steps you can take to stay there.

1. Put Loans on Auto-Pay

A first missed payment can cause a good credit score to drop up to 100 points. To avoid this type of fall, consider setting your loan or credit card payments to auto-pay via a linked checking account. You could also consider automatically paying some bills, like monthly utility payments, with a credit card. Just continue monitoring the account to make sure you’re being charged correctly. And if a card you’re using expires, be sure to update its account information with the service provider so that you don’t miss a payment.

2. Set Up Alerts

Many issuers or banks let you set up alerts to tell you when a payment is about to come due, if one was missed or if you’re perilously close to your credit limit. That last alert can be helpful when it comes to keeping your credit utilization rate (how much debt you are carrying versus how much credit has been extended) intact. For best credit scoring results, it’s generally recommended to keep this rate below at least 30%, and ideally at 10%, of your total available credit limit(s).

3. Consider Credit Monitoring or a Credit Freeze

You can also consider credit monitoring, a service that alerts you when changes are made to your credit file. To minimize the odds of identity theft, you might want to institute a credit freeze, which keeps creditors from pulling your credit reports and new accounts from being taken out in your name. Just note: You, too, won’t be able to get new credit until you “thaw” your credit report. Both freezing and thawing typically involve a fee.

4. Check Your Credit Regularly

It’s always a good idea to regularly check your credit on your own. That way you’ll be aware of what’s on your credit reports and what you can potentially do to maintain or improve your credit scores even further. You’ll also want to be on the lookout for any errors that may cause your scores to fall. If you spot inaccuracies, be sure to dispute the errors with the credit bureau in question. You can keep an eye on your credit by pulling your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and viewing your two of your credit scores, updated each month, on Credit.com.

[Offer: If you need help fixing errors on your credit report, Lexington Law could help you meet your goals. Learn more about them here or call them at (844) 346-3296 for a free consultation.]

More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:

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