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Don't apply for multiple types of credit in a short amount of time
Whenever you apply for any type of credit, whether it's a credit card, an auto loan or mortgage you'll face a credit inquiry. Too many of these inquiries in a short amount of time and the credit bureaus may ding your credit score. Any time you apply for a new card or an increase in the limit on one of your existing cards this will result in what's called a "credit pull" and may decrease your credit score. However, it is good to have multiple forms of credit on your credit reports, such as a credit card, an auto loan and a revolving line of credit, as this shows potential lenders you can successfully handle different types of credit simultaneously. Plus, this accounts for 10% of your credit score.
Settle any delinquencies and then get proactive
Did you know that the bank might report your payment as delinquent even if it's fewer than 30 days late? Of course, this varies from credit card issuer to credit card issuer and will also depend on your borrowing behavior. Some issuers will hold off on reporting an account as delinquent until it's 60 days late. In this case, being 30 days late will have no effect on your credit score since your credit report will show no late payment. If you do find delinquencies in your credit reports it's important to get them settled. This means contacting the creditor or creditors to discuss what you would need to do to eliminate them.
Once you've settled any delinquencies get proactive by setting up automatic payments. You may be able to do this through your bank. If not, almost all lenders have ways for you to pay them automatically. This avoids the possibility of accidentally missing payments and removes the brain damage of having to remember to make multiple payments on different days of the month.
Build lifelong habits
Probably the biggest secret to getting and keeping a good credit score is to treat it as a sort of game. It's a serious game and will require both tactics and strategies. But if you approach the task of managing your credit seriously and begin staying on top of your debts, your credit limits, your balances and your due dates, you will eventually develop habits that will make it easy for you to successfully manage your finances for the rest of your life.