So far, we've walked you
through the major points on credit. By now you should have a basic
understanding of what it is, how it works, why you need it. The goal
now is to help your credit remain in good standing. So here are our
top four tips for maintaining good credit:
Pay Your Bills on Time
Establish a process to make your
payments well before the due date, so you can help avoid late fees
and other possible charges. Also, make sure you have the money in
your account – you can write a check or schedule an online payment,
but if you don't have the cash, you won't be on time. Making
payments on time is not only simple, it's one of the best
things you can do for your credit score.
There's a wealth of information out there on
the web and in the media that addresses issues that you may have
with your credit and how to maintain good credit – use them! And be
sure to periodically review your credit report for errors.
issue a complaint, the bureau and your creditor must investigate it
and correct or remove any information that isn't
Check your credit report at each of the three
major credit bureaus:
You can contact
the agencies directly to get a copy of your credit report. Or you
can also visit http://www.annualcreditreport.com/
to request your reports for free online. This new free service is
being offered to consumers once every 12 months and is being rolled
out now across the country.
3. Use Credit
Creating a budget (even a high-level one) will
show you where your money is going – and this is powerful knowledge.
Armed with this info, you'll find it's much easier to track
outstanding debt and work toward paying it off.
Inform Your Creditors of an Address Change
creditors immediately when you move, so you can receive and pay
bills on time.
Want more information on getting and keeping
good credit? Check out these links:
Understanding Vehicle Financing - A handy tutorial
on financing a vehicle put together by the not-for-profit agency
American Financial Services Association Education
Foundation - A not-for-profit financial institution that helps
consumers become financially literate.
This was the
first part of the story. Now it's time for you to elevate your
knowledge about the differences between financing and leasing a
Toyota. Our Buy vs. Lease matrix explains the differences
between the two, and can help you decide which is best for