Relationships are tricky. It takes a lot of energy and commitment to build a healthy, strong one – and even more to maintain it for the long haul. The relationship you have with your credit is no different. There is no love-at-first-sight credit potion. You don’t suddenly get “struck” by great scores from Cupid’s arrow.
However, we do have some tried-and-true “relationship tips” to help you show your credit some love AND make sure it loves you back on Valentine’s Day and beyond!
- Be honest. Transparency is key. Own up to where your credit scores currently stand with TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – and be upfront about your limitations and your intentions going forward.
- Respect boundaries. Nothing will tank your scores faster than disrespecting your credit. Don’t make late payments or push your credit cards to the limit, and resist the urge to open multiple lines of credit in a short timeframe.
- Don’t take anything for granted. You may not realize how important having good credit is until you’ve lost it. Schedule monthly “dates” to reconnect with all three credit reports and scores to make sure all is well.
- Be consistent. Nurture the positive aspects. Continue to do the things that build trust such as pay on time, every time, pay more than the minimum due, keep balances low – and communicate if problems arise.
- Be attentive. At times, even little things can make a big difference. Pay attention to the details and monitor your credit for changes that may hurt your scores or pose a threat to your identity and financial well-being.
- Be open to disputes. Every relationship has mistakes. The key is to work through incorrect negative items on your credit reports that, if left unaddressed, could continue to chip away at your credit scores.
- Don’t cheat. You’ll only end up hurting yourself. Playing fast and loose with credit cards, loans and debt repayment will always catch up with you. Your credit file follows you throughout your life – and a lender scorned can wreak havoc on your scores and your desirability with future creditors.
- Take initiative. Have dreams and work for them. Establishing a happily-ever-after relationship with your credit means putting in the work to build a history of accountability and trust with your creditors, month after month, year after year.
Above all, stay committed! Whether it’s owning a home, upgrading your ride, taking a long-overdue vacation, paying for college or all of the above, if you stay true to the best interests of your credit, your scores will love you back and help you make your dreams a reality.