Your credit score is essentially your passport to financial opportunities. With a possible range of 300 to 900, your number tells lenders what kind of a risk you are likely to be as a borrower. A low credit score can prevent you from getting the lowest mortgage rate, or even from getting a mortgage at all. That’s why it’s important to know the six credit behaviors that can keep your score high, or give it a boost!
- Know what you’re working with. Get a copy of your report and see what your lender sees. Credit reports can be ordered for free through the mail or, for a small fee, online at www.equifax.ca
- On time, all the time. The single biggest factor in your credit score is having a timely bill payment history. Start today with a commitment to never let a bill get past due.
- Know your limits. Your credit score is based on your balances relative to your available credit. Look at your credit limits and try not to use more than half of the available amount.
- A longer history is better. Don’t cancel your oldest credit card. In fact, get advice before you cancel any cards. A long steady history of using cards responsibly demonstrates trustworthiness.
- Be selective. When you’re asked “would you like to apply for our Store Card to save $X dollars on your purchase?” Don’t do it. These pitches can be a credit pitfall. Regularly looking for more credit will flag you as a potential credit risk.
- Keep it balanced. Creditors like to see that you can handle a wide variety of credit types.