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How to Manage Your Credit Score
A higher credit rating can give you a greater range of financial options and could provide more favorable credit offers. Even if you already have a good score, it is important to continue carefully managing your credit. Keep in mind, however, that your credit score is based on your history of borrowing and repaying money, so there is no way to instantly boost it. But here are 10 effective strategies that should help to maintain or strengthen your credit ratings over time.

  1. Learn what your current credit score is and review the content of your credit report.
  2. Don't open new credit cards that you don't need just to increase your available credit. This approach could backfire and actually lower your score.
  3. Don't carry balances that are near or at your credit card limit. Doing so can make your debt-to-credit ratio seem high, even if you pay off your balance every month.
  4. Try to keep your total account balances as low as possible. High outstanding debt may negatively affect your score, as you have a greater chance of missing payments.
  5. Correct any incorrect information that might appear on your credit report.
  6. 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.
  7. If your credit report contains an account you did not pay on time because of illness, unemployment, or family issues, write a short explanation to the credit reporting agencies. They will add your explanation or summary of it to your credit report. Also, call your lender to explain the circumstances and, if possible, work out a payment schedule you can meet.
  8. If you need help managing your credit, contact a reliable nonprofit agency, such as:

    National Federation for Credit Counseling and Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS)

  9. To minimize the number of inquiries on your credit report, don't apply for multiple credit cards or for a card you are not likely to get. Apply for new credit accounts only as needed.
  10. Make all of your payments on time. If forced to miss a payment, be sure to pay the following month. Accounts more than 30 days past due could be indicated on your credit report. If you have missed payments, get current and stay current.

Be sure to continue to check your credit report regularly, charting your progress along the way.