Tips to maintain excellent credit

  1. Freeze your credit reports. It’s now free – so feel free to freeze your 3 credit reports to ensure no one accesses them illegitimately.
  2. Pay multiple payments in a month. Since you won’t know when your card issuers will send your information to the credit bureaus, it’s a good idea to set up an auto pay with your bank to pay at least 2 times a month, even if you pay in full each month. That increases the likelihood that your balance will be low when the credit scoring models pull your information.
  3. Keep old debt on your credit reports. It may seem tempting to get old paid off debt removed; but when you’ve paid the bill off, that actually benefits your credit history score.
  4. Apply for loans in a short amount of time. FICO scoring models only count up to 3 loan inquiries as one when they are made in a short period of time, as little as 14 days and as much as 45 days. This includes mortgages, student loans and auto loans but not credit cards.
  5. Consolidate balances. You are penalized for having too many accounts with a balance. It’s better to have fewer accounts with a balance than more accounts. So to the extent you can use fewer cards for the same purchases, the better you’ll be.”
  6. Plan out loans. Strategize several months out before taking out auto loans or mortgages so that you don’t have large balances on your cards and you don’t take out new cards.
  7. Follow the 20/10 Rule. Do NOT let your credit card debt exceed more than 20% of your income, and that you not have more than 10% of your monthly take-home pay in credit card payments.
  8. Notify your bank of a move. Wells Fargo also advises that you make sure you notify your card issuers and other lenders of address or email changes so that you get your statement in a timely manner.
  9. Stay in touch with creditors. If you are late on a payment, or can’t pay, reach out to your creditor and see what alternative payment plans they might offer. Sometimes just calling and negotiating can lead to better terms.