Credit can be confusing. People looking for answers to even their most basic credit questions often face long explanations. So we thought we would make it easier, and wrote the five most important credit rules each of us should follow — on a Post-it note:
- Pay your bills on time.
- Don’t rack up too much credit card debt.
- Don’t cancel old credit cards unless you need to.
- Don’t apply for too many credit cards.
- Check your credit frequently for mistakes.
There you have it. There’s obviously more you can and should do, and there are always extenuating circumstances, but following these rules will get you 90% of the way there. The hard part is doing each of the five items above when things get tough — because one way or another, they always do.
You can use a free tool like Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card for a clear overview of the information in your credit report. If something seems amiss, you can do a deeper dive. You’re entitled to obtain a free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus every year.