1. Don’t open new credit cards that you don’t need. The amount of your unused credit is an important factor in calculating your score.
2. Don’t open credit cards just to increase your available credit. Be careful about closing existing accounts; this approach could backfire and actually lower you score.
3. Minimize the number of inquiries on your credit report. Don’t apply for multiple credit cards, or for a card you’re not likely to get. Apply for new credit accounts only as needed.
4. Keep your total account balances as low as possible. High outstanding debt can negatively affect your score.
5. Make all of your payments on time. If you are forced to pay late, be sure to make a payment before next month’s bill. Accounts more than 30 days past due show up on your credit report.
6. If you fall behind on paying a bill because of illness, unemployment, or family issues, call your creditors and explain the circumstances. And, if possible, work out a payment schedule you can meet. Then write an explanation to the credit reporting agencies and they will add it to your credit report.
7. Check your credit report regularly and correct any inaccurate or incorrect information
8. Learn what your current FICO Credit Score is on your credit report. A credit score of 680 or above is considered “prime”. A score below 680 is considered “sub-prime”, and you will likely pay a higher interest rate on a loan. A score below 560 is considered “trouble”.
9. If your credit is severely damaged, or you have a very short credit history, there are still ways to improve your credit over time. Consider opening new accounts responsibly and paying them off on time.
10. Correct or remove inaccurate or incorrect information on your credit report that can damage your credit score. If you need help, contact a reliable credit services organization to do the work.