There’s no shortage of ways to improve your credit score. Every step you take in the right direction is a step that can enhance your financial future. One of the best things you can do is use credit cards to your advantage.
If you plan on heading down this path, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Always make the minimum payment on time
Even if you’re only able to make the minimum payment, it’s critical that you do so on time. Don’t get into the habit of paying late. Know when your balance is due, set a reminder, and pay it like clockwork. Doing so will go a long way in strengthening your financial situation, including a boost to your credit score.
Note: Your payment history makes up 35 percent of your FICO credit score.
Pay in full when possible
If at all possible, pay your credit card balance in full every month. This is easier said than done, but keeping a zero balance will have a positive impact on your credit score.
The best way to make this happen is to prevent yourself from running up a balance that you can’t comfortably manage. Protect against this by carefully tracking your credit card spending throughout the statement period. If you find yourself overspending, cut back so that you don’t run into a financial roadblock when your statement arrives.
Limit your number of new credit applications
There’s nothing wrong with applying for a new credit card, but be careful about how many new accounts you open. Length of credit history accounts for 15 percent of your FICO score. So, a handful of new accounts can drag down your score. Not to mention the fact that hard inquiries can also drag down your score a few points at a time.
The longer the average age of your accounts, the more good it will do for your credit score.
Tip: Think twice before you close a credit card account, as it could harm your credit score.
Don’t complicate things. Responsible use of a credit card is one of the best ways to improve your credit score. It’s also relatively easy if you have a plan in place.
Let the three details above be your guide. With these, you’re ready to take action.
What are your thoughts on regular use and proper management of a credit card to improve your credit score?