Maintaining Good Credit

Once you have credit, you begin to build a credit history. Lenders and landlords use your credit history to gauge your ability to repay. Sometimes employers look at it to make a judgment on your client history. So, a good or bad credit history can make a big difference in getting the loan you need, an apartment you like or the job you're counting on.

To maintain a good credit history, try practicing the following guidelines:

  • Pay at least the minimum payment due–on time, every month.
  • Don’t overextend yourself. The fewer accounts you have open–whether they are loans or credit cards–the better.
  • Don’t spend income now that you hope to make later.
  • Avoid transferring balances unless you’re definitely getting a better interest rate.
  • Notify creditors when you move so that bills arrive on time and your payments are never late. Even if you don’t get your bill, you still owe the payment. If your due date is coming up and you haven’t received a statement, call the Customer Service number located on your credit card or previous statement. Customer Service can tell you your minimum payment due and where to send the check.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year to make sure it’s accurate. Serious errors can appear in a credit report at any given time, and can cause credit to be denied. The sooner you spot an error, the faster you’ll be able to correct it.