The Golden Rule of Credit: Pay all of your bills on time.
If you live by certain rules, you will put yourself in the best position to develop and maintain a good credit history.
- Pay all of your bills on time.
This is the MOST important thing you can do. This doesn’t only refer to paying credit card bills, but all of your bills such as mortgage, car payments and student loan payments. In fact, it’s not just about your debts.
- If your rent, cable, phone or utility bills become seriously delinquent, that could show up on your credit history and cause problems for you. Non-payment or late payment could impact your ability to obtain credit in the future. Missing a payment by just one month can end up as a negative mark on your credit report, something you may find yourself having to explain years later.
- We recommend that you make bill paying as systematic a process as you can. Keep your bills in a safe place and keep track of all payment due dates. Schedule a regular time to sit down and pay your bills. Of course, be sure you have sufficient funds to cover the payments, and keep a record of when you paid. You should also consider using auto-pay features and online payment options.
- Notify all creditors promptly of changes in address, etc.
- Limit your use of credit cards for credit, and when you use them, pay the bills in full each month. It’s okay to use credit cards for convenience. It’s not okay to use them for credit which can put you in debt.
- Minimize your debt, especially from credit cards.
- And finally, be sure to review your credit reports annually for accuracy, and to be certain that you haven’t become a victim of identity theft.
For more information
Do you want more information about the basics of credit? The best place to start your search is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website at ftc.gov. Once there, simply search for information on “credit.”