1. Always make payments on time. 35% of your credit score is based on credit history. 2. Only apply for credit when you need it. 3. Check your credit regularly. The three reporting repositories offer one free credit report per year to every American (keep in mind that this does not include deciphering it or a credit score). You should review your credit report once a year to verify accuracy. 4. Finance Companies - buy now, pay later accounts can have an unfavorable impact to scoring compared to other types of debt. 5. Credit card balances exceeding 50% of the available credit line have an unfavorable impact on scoring. (Limit credit card indebtedness). 6. Do not consolidate debt into one or two (new) credit cards and close the rest. Your older debt will show stability and a long term relationship. 7. Remember good credit can stay on your report indefinitely as long as the creditor continues to report it. 8. Bad credit (e.g., late payments, collections, etc.) stays on your credit file for seven years. With two exceptions: Bankruptcies which remain on the report for 10 years and unpaid liens can remain on your credit indefinitely.