Keeping Good Credit
Maintaining Your Good Credit
Once you have built or improved your credit, make sure you maintain it. Print out this checklist and put it somewhere you can see it to help you keep the good credit you have worked so hard to build.
- Pay your bills on time and as agreed. This will have the greatest impact on both your credit reports and scores.
- Try to use 20 percent or less of your available credit. This applies to credit and charge cards as well as lines of credit. This means that if you have a $1,000 limit, never charge more than $200 on your card.
- Don’t apply for credit you don't need. Applying for too much credit at once can indicate someone in need of money. This can reflect both on your credit report and in your scores. While the affect in your scores is fairly small, it can make a difference when you apply for credit.
- Avoid any entries in the public records section. Be sure to respond to any threats to sue by creditor. If you have been served with a lawsuit notice and don’t show up to court, the court will likely find in favor of the individual or business that is trying to sue you. Get legal help. Also, pay your taxes and child support to avoid new entries.
- Check your credit report at least once per year. Go to annualcreditreport.com for your free, annual credit report from each of the three credit-reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If there are errors or accounts opened fraudulently in your name, you will have the information quickly and be able to get errors or the effects of identity theft corrected. Consider getting one report every four months. For example, go to annualcreditreport.com in January and get your Equifax report, in May order your Experian report, and in September your TransUnion report. This will help you monitor your credit report on a regular basis.
- Keep good records. Good recordkeeping will give you proof of payment if you find errors on your credit reports; information if your identity is stolen; and peace of mind.