Your credit score is one of the top deciding factors in determining whether you will be approved for a home mortgage. How do you ensure you’re keeping your credit up to a suitable financial health standard? Below are 5 ways to help keep you on track in maintaining an excellent credit score.
1. Create a payment schedule It seems like we have bills coming into our inboxes and mailboxes left, right and center. Since it’s highly unlikely all of your monthly bills are due at the same time, pick one day of the month to pay them all off at once to ensure you're not missing any payment deadlines.
2. Choose a credit card over a debit card Credit cards are a fantastic way to build up a credit score - you can build your credit while grocery shopping, filling up on gas and going out. Debit cards won’t do anything to build up your credit score and with most banks, you’re likely to incur banking fees for going over your monthly transaction limit.
3. Maintain a long credit history If you have an old and inactive credit account sitting around, think twice before closing it. Those with the highest credit scores have average account histories of 11 years as this sort of loyalty is viewed favourably by lenders. Make sure you also maintain a healthy mix of your lines of credit whether it be credit cards, a mortgage and/or a car loan.
4. Shop for lower rates Be on the lookout for ways to lock in lower rates. You may be able to re-finance your vehicle at a lower rate or shop around for a lower rate on your mortgage. Similarly, you should always try and negotiate a better deal on credit card rates when opening a new account.
5. Use only a small amount of the credit available Don’t ever think about maxing out your credit cards as that’s an irresponsible move if you can’t pay it off in the month. Lenders are aware that borrowers who max out their cards regularly will likely be unable to pay them off in time. Learn to be responsible with your credit and only charge 30-50% of your credit limit per month.