You can be pretty lazy and still help your credit.
I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal Credit Minute.
Credit can be confusing, overwhelming, and sometimes, downright depressing. Many people with credit problems never get help because they don’t know where to start, or they think it’s all just too difficult and they figure, why bother.
But the reality is that there are some pretty simple rules you can live by to help your credit. Here are three of them.
Let Your Accounts Get Older.
The age of your credit history represents 15% of your credit score. Most scoring models consider the age of your oldest account and the average age of all of your accounts. While closed accounts still “count” when it comes to this factor, over time they may drop off your reports, so consider keeping at least one of your older accounts open.
Stop Shopping For Credit.
If a lender requests your credit report or score, an inquiry will be created on the report that was used. Inquiries remain on your reports for 2 years and may account for roughly10% of your credit score. Certain types of loan shopping – like auto loans or mortgages – will result in only one inquiry on your report if you shop within a short window. Nevertheless, only shop for credit when you really need it.
Let Your Bank Make Payments For You.
Since 35% of your credit score is based on your history of timely payments, the safest way to make sure you’re on time is to enroll in “autopay” and have the bank debit your account every month.
Managed correctly, your credit will help you get what you want when you want it.
I’m Adam Levin. Come to Credit.com and take control of your credit.
An audio version of this story was originally broadcast as part of The Credit Minute series on the Wall Street Journal Radio Network. Listen to it and more here.