When you build credit, you build something even better

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The higher your credit score, the better places it will lead you. Along with making it easier to buy a car or move into a new home, good credit can open more job opportunities and even avoid certain utility deposits. As you work toward better credit, try these five credit-building tips.

1. Pay all of your bills on time, whether it’s rent, utilities or credit cards. Even if it’s just by a few days, late payments can have a negative impact on your credit score. To make sure you’re paying all your bills on time, set up payment reminders or auto-payments through Bill Pay.

2. Pay off debt rather than moving it around. Moving debt around may result in fewer open accounts, but it could also lower your credit. By paying off debt, you can not only build, but improve your credit score.

3. Open a credit card and a checking account, and use them both regularly. People who manage credit cards responsibly tend to have lower risk than those with no credit cards.

4. Check your credit report to keep track of your credit progress and catch any signs of fraud. To make sure you can identify fraud, get to know all of the information included on your report. That way, you’ll be able to spot errors and negative information. You can get a free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com once a year from each of the three nationwide credit reporting bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Whether you do them all at once or throughout the year is up to you!

5. If you need to use your credit card for everyday purchases, pay more than the minimum payment whenever you can. Remember also that paying off balances in full at the end of the month establishes good credit and shows lenders that you’re fiscally responsible. Plus, it ensures you’re using a credit card exactly how it’s intended – as a short term loan.