It is never too late to get your credit back on track. Even if you have not had credit issues in the past, we could always work on increasing our credit score. With peak scores reaching 850, there is always room for improvement. As long as you follow a few important behaviors, you will see scores continue to rise.
To show lenders that you are a responsible borrower, you need to make payments on time; no exceptions. There is a grace period for mortgage payments up to 15 days, as well as some car leases, which can be up to 7 days, so do not assume there is a grace period for all. Make sure you check your due dates for all expenses and at least pay on or before when it is due. With extra fees associated and the potential for shut off, it is not worth being late. If you miss your due date and are up to 30 days late, it is reported to credit cards, and will take up to seven years to remove, having your mistakes haunt you for years.
Pay Down Debt
A large factor in your credit score is not only the amount of debt you carry, but the percentage of the balance compared to the credit limit. If you are reaching your credit limit and debt is not trending down each month, you need to switch your behavior. You need to make sure that payments made are not only minimum payments, but large enough that they will put a dent into the overall balance. A solid debt payment plan with specific payoff timeframe goals will need to be put into place to keep you on track.
Credit cannot be fixed overnight and takes years of responsible spending and payments to raise scores. Even if you have a horrible credit score it is possible to become “excellent”, the range above 800, but it will take hard work. Make sure payments are continued to be made on time each month, never being late. Debt needs to be paid off and statement balances continued to be paid in full each month. Do not open and close accounts, as the inquiries can hurt your score. Avoid the urge to go on spending sprees and unnecessary vacations as your credit limits continue to be increased.