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Maintaining Your Credit

If you have less than stellar credit, or even bad credit, it can be tempting to give up, because it feels like it will take forever to improve it.  Don’t throw in the towel!  Not only can you improve your credit, you can keep it from getting worse.  

Since high outstanding debt can lower your score, make sure you keep your credit card balances below 50 percent of their limits, if at all possible.  

Pay off your debt, instead of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Do not close accounts that you are not using.  Believe it or not, this lowers your score because it alters your ratio of credit card debt to available credit.  At the same time, don’t open new cards for the sole purpose of increasing your available credit.  Opening several new cards at once can also lower your score.

Contact your creditors in advance when you know your payment will be late.  Briefly explain your situation and propose a solution that works for you.  Be specific, and don’t overpromise.  Many companies have hardship programs that can be taken advantage of if you only ask.

Cut back if necessary – make a budget, and cut out all unnecessary items.

Don’t live paycheck to paycheck.

 

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