Smart planning and wise financial decisions can result in credit — and a credit score — you can be proud of. With the help of technology, make these four habits automatic.
MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER WITH AUTOMATIC PAYMENTS
Life happens, and we may fall behind on a bill or two. But beware — late payments can show up as “slow pays” on your credit report. Automatic bill pay is one way to guarantee it’s there on time. Plus, it takes the hassle out of remembering multiple due dates.
CHANGE YOUR APP-TITUDE
Remember life before apps? (Neither do we!) They make it easier to manage finances from anywhere. Download apps from your bank and lenders to help stay on top of your fiscal business and view alerts to unusual spending or payment reminders.
The three main credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — offer email alerts and monitoring for a fee. (Or, keep score yourself using their free apps.) Don’t forget about your FICO score. For a monthly fee, you can track all three agency scores at once at myfico.com.
STAY AWAY FROM ‘EXTRA’ CREDIT
Once you’ve established credit, don’t apply for more than you actually need. Too many inquiries may affect your credit score. On-time payments for revolving accounts (think credit cards) and installment/fixed-payment loans (such as a car payment) can help get your credit score on the right track. Keep your credit card balances low so as not to appear overextended, says Experian.