Good credit brings a lot of financial benefits, including access to lower interest rates on credit cards and loans, better car insurance rates, and more. If you already have good credit, congratulations! You obviously worked hard to achieve it. But don't stop now.
Here are 10 things you can do to protect your good credit.
- Carefully review your credit card statements every month. Did you find any suspicious charges? Contact Alaska USA or your credit card provider right away to get the issue resolved.
- Pay every bill on time, every time. Few things damage your credit more than late or missed payments. Set up automatic payments online, or Bill Pay reminders to help you remember to send your payment.
- Pay at least the minimum on your credit card bill, but preferably as much as you can—paying the full amount is the best. High credit card balances damage good credit so your ultimate goal should be to have a zero balance on all your credit cards and low balances on any consumer loans.
- Don't 'max out' or exceed the limit on your credit card. If this happens, the best thing to do is to pay down the overage as quickly as possible, and then concentrate on paying down your balance.
- Only apply for the credit you need. Every time a credit inquiry is made on your behalf, it can potentially have a negative impact on your credit score.
- Instead of canceling old credit cards, keep them open and occasionally make a charge to keep them active. Since your credit score is based both on history and credit utilization, when you close an old account it can hurt your numbers.
- Consider putting fraud alerts on your credit account or freeze your credit altogether. This keeps someone from falsely opening new accounts in your name. Contact the 3 major credit reporting agencies to put a freeze on your credit.
- Consider carefully before co-signing on loans for others (your children or significant other, for example). When they miss payments or exceed their credit limit, it will be reflected negatively on your credit report.
- Your good credit is based on more than just your credit card balances. Continue working to reduce your overall debt, including bank, auto and student loans, your mortgage, and other lines of credit.
- Check your credit every year to make sure everything is accurate. Use AnnualCreditReport.com, the only authorized website that allows you to get a free report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If you see errors, take steps to fix them immediately.