The average U.S. credit score is on the rise, with experts seeing a jump to 711 back in 2020. Of course, the average credit score by age will vary, with younger adults having the lowest scores, but most generations are seeing small improvements.
This news is great to hear—unless you’re one of the millions of Americans struggling with a low FICO score, or if you’re worried about your ability to keep your current score right where it is.
Fortunately, there’s a simple science to maintaining a stable score, and a few easy tips can help you stay on top of yours. Here’s what to know about keeping good credit.
Pay Off Your Debts With Care
This one may sound obvious, but it’s easy to mismanage your debts when it comes to improving your credit score range. Treat all debts as equal, and refrain from neglecting payments to any one source. In addition, pay each bill on time, every time!
Be Thoughtful About Your Credit Cards
Your credit cards have a huge impact on your credit score, and it’s impossible to talk about getting an excellent credit score without them! After all, there’s a reason why in-depth guides on how to keep good credit always start by discussing your credit card use.
- Don’t close old credit cards, as keeping a longer credit history can help
- Consider consolidating cards if needed for fewer balances
- Aim for a credit utilization ratio of 30% or lower
- Don’t apply for a new credit card unless it’s absolutely necessary
- Make at least minimum payments, though it’s better to pay in full
If needed, make sure to set calendar reminders about payment dates and bills to stay on top of them.
Keep an Eye on Your Credit Report
Your credit report is calculated automatically, but much of the data for that calculation gets entered by humans. In other words, you’ll want to be on the lookout for any errors that have a negative impact on your score.
- Check your credit report on a regular basis and dispute any errors right away
- Contact creditors with issues, and feel free to ask for specific tips on how to increase your credit score
- Consider asking to raise your credit limit for a better credit utilization ratio
You can get your credit report from the federal website annualcreditreport.com. During the pandemic, all consumers get free weekly reports, which can make tracking your score easier.
Consider a Few Lifestyle Changes
In addition to the changes above, there are some simple lifestyle adjustments that can help you with your credit.
Work to set budgets that help chip away at your debts, and start living within your means when it comes to credit card debt. You might also want to consider opting for a paid credit monitoring or credit boosting service, which can go a long way toward helping you increase your score.
Make the Most of Your Credit Score
Maintaining a good credit score isn’t as hard as it sounds. Though the process can take time and commitment, understanding the factors that affect your score and working to manipulate them in your favor can make all the difference. Do your homework, stay in touch with your creditors, and work to maintain or improve your credit step by step!
Looking for more tips to help you stay on top of your finances? Be sure to take a look at our other guides for additional insights.