PAY THE BILLS ON TIME: You'll need a fool-proof system
The single biggest factor behind a strong credit score is having a timely bill payment history. Credit agencies keep track of every late payment. And each one impacts your score. The good news is that recent late payments are factored more heavily than old ones: so you can start today with a commitment to NEVER let a bill get past due. In as little as six months, you'll look more creditworthy to a lender. The longer your "good" history is, the higher your score.
The hardest hits on your credit score are bankruptcies or accounts that have been sent to collections. Even for a small amount – and even if it is in dispute – being "sent to collections" will create a serious, long-term stain on your credit reputation. Don't let it happen.
Develop a fool-proof system for bill paying. It doesn't have to be elaborate. Put your bills on an automatic payment plan. Or take an inexpensive monthly calendar and make it your "bill tracker". As bills come in, mark the amounts and due dates on the calendar. Be sure to pay at least the minimum required amount (more or all if you can!) a few days ahead of time – as it can take time to process payments!