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When it comes to financial matters, the world revolves around credit. Unless you come from wealth and riches, it’s hard to function in life without a good credit score. Credit scores are taken heavily into consideration when it’s time to get a loan for a home, car or apartment. Some jobs even look at an applicant’s credit score before hiring them. Because your credit score is such a major determining factor in almost everything in life, you’ll want to make sure it’s good. If it’s low, there are ways to improve it.

1. Keep revolving accounts open.

Try not to have more than six revolving accounts open. However, if you have between four and six accounts open, this isn’t bad. Abruptly canceling the accounts can do more harm than good. Keep a few credit card accounts open so that the credit bureaus can see that you understand how to manage a few accounts at a time. Consider using credit cards for places that you shop often. For example, if you plan on purchasing all of your home goods and appliances from a major department store, keep that credit card open. Whenever it’s time for you to purchase a new knife set or pillows for your bedroom set, purchase them with the store credit card.

2. Pay all of your bills on time.

While it is very wise to keep revolving accounts open, it’s even more important to pay all of your bills on time. This doesn’t just apply to the credit card bills. You need to be intentional about paying every utility bill on time. You even need to remain timely with your internet, gym membership and cell phone subscription. When you fail to pay these bills on time, this shows up as a negative mark on your credit score. Negative marks can force your score to go down at least 35 points.

3. Keep longer loan in good standing.

There are certain loans like a mortgage or an auto loan that’ll be around for a while. You’ll want to make sure these loans remain in good standing. As you continue to pay these loans down, you might get bored of them and want to jump ship. Completely avoid defaulting on a loan as this will plummet your credit score. Make sure you do everything you can to keep your longer loans in good standing and pay them off as soon as you can.

4. Use a small amount of credit access.

Just because you have a large amount of credit access doesn’t mean you should use the entire thing. If anything, many credit experts suggest using no more than 30% of the allotted credit card amount. When you max out on your credit cards, this shows the credit bureaus that you don’t keep enough cash available. Even if you pay off the credit cards on time, it’s still a very risky move to use the entire amount of credit available. Plus, if you only use a smaller amount of the credit, you’ll have less to pay off and you’ll avoid late fees and high-interest rates.

Credit can be such a tricky concept. In order to eliminate the major confusion, just be intentional about living within your means and paying your bills on time. As long as you remain consistent in those areas, your credit score will be in great shape.