Tips for Maintaining Credit
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Keeping track of your credit score on an ongoing basis is always a good idea, especially when the time comes that you determine you are ready to purchase a home. But, how do you successfully maintain good credit? Here are 8 ways you can maintain a good credit score and buy the home you’ve always dreamed of:
- Keep track of spending. Always keep track of checks written, debit and credit card transactions, and ATM card usage. Be sure to review your monthly statements for discrepancies and report any errors to keep your credit score in top shape.
- Pay bills on time. This applies to all bills, even those that aren’t reported to credit bureaus. This is because they can end up on your credit report if you fall behind. To help avoid paying bills late, set up auto pay.
- Keep balances low on credit cards. Combined credit card balances should be within 30 percent of your combined credit limits. Therefore, the higher your credit card balance in relation to your credit limit the worse off your credit score will be.
- Don’t close unused or old credit cards. Closing a credit card stops updates sent to the credit bureaus by credit card issuers. Closing a credit card also reduces available credit, especially since your goal is to keep your balances less than 30 percent of your available credit.
Keeping old credit cards open gives your credit report a longer record, which accounts for 10 percent of your credit score. Keep your old credit cards active by using them often enough to where they will not be made inactive by your credit card issuer(s)—use it for small purchases or recurring charges. Check with your credit card issuer(s) to find out how often the card must be used to avoid them being closed due to inactivity.
- Don’t exceed your credit limit. Available credit is how much credit you have remaining on your line of credit or on your credit card—the credit limit minus the outstanding balance. Keep your spending below this number at all times.
- Build credit without a credit card. You can maintain credit by paying items off diligently, including student loans, auto loans, rent payments, and other payments (cell and cable bills).
- Limit applications for new credit. Don’t submit too many applications, as multiple credit inquiries can have a negative impact on your credit score.
- Watch your credit report. Keeping an eye on your credit report will help you monitor any changes, find errors, reveal identity theft, uncover credit card fraud, and more.
Want to learn more? Contact us today for more information and to determine the right mortgage to fit your lifestyle.