Balancing a credit score is just that, a balancing act. Being aware of all of the factors that affect your credit score can lead you toward achieving the score of your dreams, but letting a payment slip through the cracks or closing an unused credit card can negatively affect your score in a significant way. Paying your bills on time is perhaps the most influential factor in increasing your credit score, but, like the best things in life, achieving great credit takes time. In addition to paying your bills on time, implement these 5 tips to fast-track your journey toward excellent credit:

  1. Avoid using a high proportion of available credit - Simply put, never max out your credit card. Running up against your credit limit is not only stressful, but it also lowers your credit score. For the best results, keep credit card balances between 10% and 20% of your credit limits. When it comes to using available credit, less is always more.
  2. Don't close unused credit cards - Closing credit card accounts negatively impacts the credit utilization factor of your credit score, thus, clouding your credit history and lowering your score. Rather than closing the account of that extra credit card sitting in your junk drawer, consider keeping it active by using it every now and then for small purchases and paying it off on time.
  3. Build credit without debt - To avoid accumulating debt while building credit, be sure to pay your monthly credit card balance(s) in-full. If you're unable to pay it in-full and you must carry a balance, pay the required minimum each month to avoid lowering your existing credit score. 
  4. Watch for inaccuracies on your credit reports - Even as our world becomes more automated, the risk for inaccuracies still exists. To prevent credit report errors from harming your credit score, regularly check your report from the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) for inaccuracies. If you see an error, report and dispute the information immediately.
  5. Be a conscious co-signer - When determining whether or not to co-sign for a friend, family member or partner, exercise great caution. While you may pay your bills on time and in full, if the individual you are co-signing for submits late payments or skips them entirely, the credit score you tirelessly worked to build will suffer immensely. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to build credit, or if you have a family member ready to embark on their credit journey, consult one of our financial experts at North Dallas Bank today. Visit www.ndbt.com for more info. Member FDIC.