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How to Maintain Good Credit

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Once you get credit — like a home loan or a credit card —, the most important thing is to keep control of it so you can achieve your financial goals without getting too far into debt. Here are some tips for managing your credit:
Keep track of your spending
Keep track of the checks you've written, credit card transactions, and ATM card usage. Review your monthly statements when they arrive, and report any possible discrepancies immediately.
Don't exceed your credit limit on lines of credit and credit cards
Your "available credit" is how much credit you have left on a line of credit or credit card (your credit limit minus your outstanding balance). Be careful to keep your spending below this amount.

The 20/10 Rule: Never let your credit card debt get to be more than 20% of your total yearly income after taxes. And each month, don't have more than 10% of your monthly take-home pay in credit card payments.
Have an emergency fund
Keep at least a 15% cushion of available credit in case of emergency. Or better yet, keep an emergency savings fund of three to six months' living expenses in a liquid, interest-earning account. That way if you lose your job or have a big unexpected expense, you don't have to borrow more than you're comfortable repaying.
Pay what you owe
  • Always pay at least your minimum monthly payment.
  • Paying more than the minimum or even the whole payment each month will cut down on the finance charges you owe.
  • Don't skip any payments.
Make timely payments
This is one of the best ways to establish yourself as a good credit risk to future lenders.
  • Be organized. Put all your bills in one place so you don't lose them or forget about them. Keep a list of the bills you have due, and if it will make it easier for you to remember to pay them, make them due on the same day each month. (Contact your lender to change your payment due date.)
  • Pay attention to the payment due dates to ensure your payment arrives on time. Mail your payment — or schedule an online payment through Bill Pay — at least a week before the due date.
  • You can also sign up for automatic loan payments from your checking account.
  • If you're moving, fill out the change of address form on your statement — or change your address through Wells Fargo Online® — to ensure that your statement goes to your new address.
Stay in touch with your creditors
Contact your lenders immediately if you fall behind on your payments. Most creditors are willing to set up alternative payment options, especially if you inform them right away of your situation.
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