Protecting your FICO score

Consumer credit and FICO scores aren't solo acts. Rather they are a dance by two partners, you and the lender. Each partner takes actions that could result in changes to the your FICO score. Although you can't control your lender's actions, by managing your credit responsibly over time, you can help protect your credit score from the unexpected.

To your FICO score, managing your credit responsibly means:

  • Pay your bills on time - Late payments and accounts referred to collections agencies can have a major impact on your FICO score.

  • Keep balances low on credit cards relative to their credit limits - High outstanding debt can affect your credit score.

  • Pay off debt rather than moving it around - A reliable way to improve your credit score is by paying down your credit card debt.

  • Don't open new credit cards just to increase your available credit - This approach could backfire and actually lower your credit score.

  • Open new credit accounts only as needed - A cautious approach to taking on new credit will help you maintain a good score.

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