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How do I maintain my excellent credit score?

Of the increasingly few consumers with excellent credit, many may not know exactly how they obtained that score. To maintain or even achieve an excellent credit score, here are a few tips:

Make Every Payment On Time: Even just one missed payment can adversely affect a good credit score, dropping it up to 100 points! Many credit card companies offer an automatic payment program for free, which you can set to deduct the minimum payment, the entire balance, the statement balance, or even a set amount each month from your linked bank account. These programs are a sure-fire way to ensure your credit reports record on-time payments. If you happen to slip up and make a late payment, a simple phone call to your credit card company could prevent the late payment from appearing on your credit report. Most credit card companies only report late payments past 60 days, but you should always call your credit card just to make sure.

Know What's On Your Credit Report: Your credit report is a report about you, so you should know who is reporting to it, what is being reported on it, and who is requesting it. If you see an item on your report that should not be there or is inaccurate, dispute it right away. Disputes can be done on the websites of each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies per year. If you have already received your free annual report, visit our Credit Reports section.

Only Use A Small Fraction of Your Total Available Credit: Using too much of your available credit at any one time makes creditors think you may not be able to pay it off in a timely manner. A good rule of thumb is to never use more than 35% of your available credit. Even if you pay off your credit card balance in full each month, you should never max out your card and use 100% of available funds. If you are wanting to keep your excellent credit or even boost your current credit score, remember the lower fraction the better.

Visit our Good Credit and Excellent Credit credit card sections.

For free credit reports, please visit our Credit Services section.