A new year is a good time to double check your credit report to ensure that the information is accurate. You can get a free credit report at annualcreditreport.com. There are 3 credit bureaus and each one is required to give consumers a free report every 12 months, so you can get a free report every 4 months just to stay on top of what your credit looks like.
And it’s always good practice to maintain a credit freeze on your credit at each of the credit bureaus to limit identity theft and financial fraud against your credit.
Here are some tips for building a great credit score:
Use your credit card every month and pay off the balance if possible. You need to use credit to establish a credit history. [Student loans, car loans, and mortgages all count toward building credit.]
- Increase the credit limits on your cards. Keeping your debt-to-credit ratio as low as possible, increases your score!
- Don’t close out old paid-off debt. It looks good on your record (like getting As in high school).
- Pay off disputes and then fight them (cable companies, utilities, medical bills).
- Limit inquiries as these also are dings against your credit score.
The bottom line to keeping up a good credit score is to use your credit every month, don’t carry balances, and pay on time!