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By Taylor Tepper
March 9, 2016

Question: What Can I Do to Improve My Credit Score?

Answer:

Pay your bills on time!

There are some details you should know, and some myths that you should ignore, but, generally speaking, you should get a credit card only if you can pay off your balance every month, and if you can commit to paying it on time. If you can’t do that, you aren’t ready for a credit card.

Pay what you owe, and pay it on time. That’s the best way to raise your credit score and keep it from going down.

Another tip: Don’t use up too much of your available credit limit. Each card gives you an amount it’ll let you spend each month. You don’t want to spend more than 20% to 30% of that.

There’s a myth, though, that the more credit cards you take out, the better your credit score will get. In fact, if you’re just getting started with credit cards and you open up a lot of new cards — it could be your standard Visa and Mastercard, or a store card at Macy’s or The Gap—your score will go down.

A lot of cards — like the Discover It cards — give you a monthly FICO score each month.

 

Advertiser Disclosure

Money has partnered with CardRatings.com and ConsumersAdvocate.org, among other companies, for our coverage of credit card products. Money, CardRatings.com, and ConsumersAdvocate.org may receive a commission from card issuers. For example, Money receives a commission from Citi when you apply and are approved for a Citi product through the links on this site.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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