magazine has a steps to take for spotless credit. The list includes some very obvious items like paying your bills on time, but here's my short version of the list with a few items added in for good measure.
- Order your free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Better yet, since you are entitled to one from each of the three credit bureas, order from one bureau every four months.
- Carefully review your credit report for errors. According to the US Public Interest Research Group, 25% of reports have serious errors. If you find serious errors, notify the bureau with a certified letter with return receipt requested.
- Don't open (or apply for) too many accounts. If you apply for a number of accounts, loans, or insurance policies, your credit score will suffer. Frequent credit checks affect scores. However, according to Money, multiple applications for mortgage or car loans within 14 days are treated as a single check.
- Don't close longstanding accounts if you don't have to. The most valuable accounts are those that you've had for the longest time and have built up a history.
- Don't max out credit cards. Credit scores are influenced by the percent of available credit that has been used.
- Guard your identity. Don't give out personal data and shred papers and receipts.