1. Pay your bills on time
Your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO score calculation. We recommend you always pay your bills on time and in full, but even if you can only pay the minimum balance you should always meet your due date.
2. Keep your credit balances low
Having a low balance and a high credit limit is the perfect equation for a healthy credit utilization rate (CUR). This simple percentage measures how much credit you are using (your balance) compared to how much credit you have available across all of your cards (your credit limit). You may have heard your CUR described as your “debt-to-credit ratio.”
3. Make sure your oldest credit account stays open
Even if you no longer use your first credit card, you may want to keep the account open. Be sure to dust off the card every few months or so in order to keep it active, or you can charge a small recurring subscription (such as your iCloud or Hulu subscription) to the card, and pay it off each month with autopay.
4. Charge the basics
In order to get the most out of your credit card, you need to use it periodically. Otherwise, card issuers can close your account if they decide it’s inactive, which can ding your credit score in the short term.