Credit concerns got you down? If you’re worried about your credit score, rest assured there are easy ways to improve it. Try these five tips to boost your credit score:
1. Use credit cards. No credit history is just as bad as a horrible credit history. If credit cards make you nervous, only use yours to pay off a monthly bill, or when you go out to eat. Manageable debt is better than not having a credit score at all.
2. Keep your balances small to nonexistent. Don’t max out your cards unless you can pay them back down quickly. Use half or less of the full balance on each card when you make purchases. Keeping balances near the maximum will negatively affect your credit score.
3. Avoid late payments. Serial late payments can trash your credit score. Pay down the minimum amount each month, if not more. (Note: Many credit card companies will wipe your first late payment off your records if you say it was an accident. After that, you’re on your own.)
4. Avoid acquiring too many credit cards. Not only does this complicate your debt life, but it reflects badly on your credit score. There’s no ideal number of credit cards, but try to keep it below six (including store cards).
5. Do not open more than one credit card at a time (this lowers your accounts’ average age), or close too many credit cards (resulting in less credit available). Both actions reflect poorly on your credit rating.
Honorable mention: Don’t declare bankruptcy–it will ruin your credit for up to a decade.