5 Tips to Build and Maintain Your Credit

Couple looking at laptop screen
  • Written on August 04, 2022 By Stanley Martin

Your credit score predicts how likely you are to repay your loans on time. It uses information such as your bill-paying history, your number of credit accounts and any unpaid debts. A good credit score is important, as it proves to lenders that you are reliable. It impacts your ability to get a mortgage loan, open another line of credit and more. Here are five ways to build and maintain a good credit score.

  1. Review your credit reports: The first step in building and maintaining a good credit score is knowing where you currently stand. You need to know what factors are hurting your credit. You can request a credit report from the top three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Once you have your report, read through it to ensure there are not any inaccuracies that may be affecting your credit. Also, look for anything that might hurt your credit, such as late payments, high credit card balances and collections.
  2. Pay bills on time and in full:Your payment history makes up about 35% of your FICO credit score, the score that lenders most widely use. Thus, getting a handle on your bill payments is one of the best ways to improve your credit. To avoid making late payments, take measures such as setting due-date alerts or signing up for automated payments.
  3. Keep your credit utilization in check: After payment history, credit usage is the second-largest contributing factor to your FICO score. Therefore, keeping your credit usage to a minimum is a great way to build good credit. Your credit utilization ratio is the portion of your credit that you are currently using, and it is best to keep this at 30% or lower.
  4. Do not close old lines of credit: Another large portion of your credit score is your credit history or the time your credit accounts have been open. Generally, the longer your history, the better your credit score. This is especially true if your credit history includes timely payments and minimal credit utilization. Try not to close old lines of credit to avoid losing your credit history and hurting your credit score.
  5. Avoid applying for new lines of credit: Just as closing old lines of credit can hurt your credit score, so can opening new lines of credit. Only open a new line of credit when it is necessary. Applying for multiple credit accounts in a short time looks risky to lenders and results in multiple credit inquiries, which can negatively impact your score.

While you may have once thought of your credit score as some arbitrary number, we hope you feel like you now have a better grasp on managing and growing your credit score. At Stanley Martin Homes, we know that navigating the world of credit can feel overwhelming; however, following these steps will help you get and keep your credit score on track!