Getting a good credit score is one thing; keeping a good credit score is another. One small slip-up, like a single missed payment or collections account, can easily kick you out of the credit elite.
That’s why maintenance is key. You’ve worked hard to get over that 700 benchmark, so here are some steps you can take to stay there.
1. Put Loans on Auto-Pay
A first missed payment can cause a good credit score to drop up to 100 points. To avoid this type of fall, consider setting your loan or credit card payments to auto-pay via a linked checking account. You could also consider automatically paying some bills, like monthly utility payments, with a credit card. Just continue monitoring the account to make sure you’re being charged correctly. And if a card you’re using expires, be sure to update its account information with the service provider so that you don’t miss a payment.
2. Set Up Alerts
Many issuers or banks let you set up alerts to tell you when a payment is about to come due, if one was missed or if you’re perilously close to your credit limit. That last alert can be helpful when it comes to keeping your credit utilization rate (how much debt you are carrying versus how much credit has been extended) intact. For best credit scoring results, it’s generally recommended to keep this rate below at least 30%, and ideally at 10%, of your total available credit limit(s).
3. Consider Credit Monitoring or a Credit Freeze
You can also consider credit monitoring, a service that alerts you when changes are made to your credit file. To minimize the odds of identity theft, you might want to institute a credit freeze, which keeps creditors from pulling your credit reports and new accounts from being taken out in your name. Just note: You, too, won’t be able to get new credit until you “thaw” your credit report. Both freezing and thawing typically involve a fee.
4. Check Your Credit Regularly
It’s always a good idea to regularly check your credit on your own. That way you’ll be aware of what’s on your credit reports and what you can potentially do to maintain or improve your credit scores even further. You’ll also want to be on the lookout for any errors that may cause your scores to fall. If you spot inaccuracies, be sure to dispute the errors with the credit bureau in question. You can keep an eye on your credit by pulling your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and viewing your two of your credit scores, updated each month, on Credit.com.
More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:
- The Credit.com Credit Reports Learning Center
- How Do I Dispute an Error on My Credit Report?
- How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life