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.

Manage Your Credit

Here are some tips for managing your credit:

  • Keep track of your spending: Keep track of your debit and credit card transactions, ATM card usage and any checks you've written. View your transactions online to monitor current balances and confirm deposit and other activity, 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; it is your credit limit minus your outstanding balance. Check that you’re not exceeding or maxing out your credit lines, since this can reflect negatively on your credit score. If you’re a Wells Fargo customer, you can set up different types of alerts (such as email and text) and other services to remember upcoming payments, so that you’re managing your credit usage responsibly.

      Tip  

    Keeping your credit utilization rate below 30% may help you maximize your credit score.
  • 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. One way to simplify saving for your emergency fund is to set up recurring transfers into a savings account through your bank.
  • Pay what you owe: Always pay at least your minimum monthly payment on time every month. By paying more than the minimum – or better yet, the full balance each month, you will reduce your finance charges. Be sure not to skip any payments. Your payment history makes up approximately 35% of your FICO® Credit score, so making timely payments is an important way to improve your credit score. Consider setting up alerts for when your payments are due.

Make timely payments

Timely payment 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 see if you can change your payment due date.)
  • Pay attention to the payment due dates. Mail your payment — or schedule an online payment through Bill Pay — at least a week before the due date. To help avoid late fees and overdrafts, you may want to consider setting up account alerts to help with upcoming payments due and low account balances.
  • Sign up for automatic payments. Using automatic payments from your checking account is a simple, convenient way to regularly make your payments. Be sure to schedule them according to your pay schedule to ensure you have sufficient funds for the payment when it is drafted.
  • Keep your contact information current. If you're moving, remember to fill out the change of address form on your statement or update it 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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