Keeping the best possible credit score makes a difference in your life and in your wallet. The people with the best scores get the best interest rates on loans, and it can be the difference-maker for many hiring employers. Surveys have found that many companies will disqualify candidates for employment if negative information is found about them on the Internet, and more and more companies are using this resource as a part of their candidate review process. Here are five common sense methods for keeping the very highest possible credit score.
1) Always pay your bills on time. Simple enough it would seem? But the fact is many people are late on bills simply because they forget or misplace their bills. You’ll also avoid costly late fees by always paying on or ahead of your due date. Set aside a place where all of your bills can be stored and prominently mark the due date on the outside of each envelope.
2) Pay off your entire credit card balance every month. Creditors often see high balances as a red flag when deciding whether or not to extend you credit. Paying off your balance also saves money on costly interest charges that add up very quickly if you only pay the minimum amount each month. Paying off your entire balance each month over a period of time also reflects very favorably on your credit score to save, which can save you even more money.
3) Get your hands on your free annual credit report. Everyone can get a free copy of their credit scores from the three major credit bureaus once a year. Take advantage of this opportunity to go over your report in detail looking for any suspicious activity or accounts. If you find an error, report it to the credit bureaus to improve your score.
4) Don’t close out old or idle credit cards. A large part of your credit score is based on the length of time you have had your accounts. The longer you have open accounts; the more credit points you’ll score. If you have no intention of using these cards in the near future, keep them in a secure place in your home, instead of carrying them around with you.
5) Avoid scams. There is no magic potion or elixir that can cure credit ills overnight. The only thing that will lead to a high credit score is paying your bills on time over a long period of time. Don’t believe anyone claiming to be able to clear your credit history of negative items. They simply are not telling the true.
Following these five steps and using common sense will raise your credit score over a period of years. You’ll enjoy the lowest rates on car loans and mortgage rates, and you’ll be able to apply for any job confident that your online profile is the one you intend to project.