Since you came into this guide without debt, let's take a minute to go over some hints to help manage your debt and keep your credit score as high as you can. If you feel you would like to have these suggestions and more later when you start to take on new debt you may click here to open the full article on 7 things to do and 7 things not to do in order to increse your credit score in a new window so you can bookmark it.

  1. Check your credit report regularly and take the necessary steps to remove inaccuracies

    Don't let your credit health suffer due to inaccurate information. If you find an inaccuracy on your credit report contact the creditor associated with the account or the credit reporting agencies to correct it immediately. Don't avoid this step because you think you will not understand a complicated credit report. Guides to interpret your credit report can help make that easy. Cost should not stop this process either. Once per year you may obtain free reports. These free credit reports will not contain your credit scores, they will show the items that make up the credit report and help you discover if there exist any erroneous items. If you discover entries in your credit report that do not belong there you may hire a professional to help remove them or follow through on the correction process on your own.
  2. Watch your debt

    Keep your account balances below 50% of your available credit. For instance, if you have a credit card with a $1,000 limit, you should try to keep the balance owed below $500. Some people would argue that to help boost credit scores the most this level should be down closer to 20%. When you have the available cash paying down revolving accounts like credit cards helps increase your report score. Do not feel the need to pay off secure loans like mortgages and auto notes, but be aware that keeping those current each month can be more important than anyhting else when it comes to keeping up your credit score. If you have credit card balances without the ability to pay them down or pay them off you may want to make an effort to even them out. For example you may be better off having a $1000 balance on five cards each rather than a $5000 balance on one card, particularly if the limit on that card is $5000. Your credit score may take a hit when lines seem "maxed out". When evening out cards try to even them out relative to their limits. For example if you want to even out two cards with a total of $2000 in debt, even them out by leaving $500 on the card with a $5000 credit limit and $1500 on the card with a $15,000 credit limit.
  3. Adjust your credit limits

    Remember the tip above to keep your ratios at 20%-50% or less of credit used versus credit available? If you can not pay down accounts and your credit is good enough to get an increase you may develop a better ratio by increasing the credit line. This does not mean you should use the extra money on the line, in fact if you think you might even be tempted to access the new credit this may be a dangerous method and should be avoided. Even when attempting a credit limit boost, don't go too far. If you have a $1000 credit card limit all used raising the limit to $2000 up to $5000 puts you in the 20% to 50% range. Having a limit of anything more than $5000 may even hurt your score because you may be viewed as having enough credit already or that you are exposed to becoming over extended. If you already have cards with balances under 20%-50% of their limits you may want to call the credotors and have these limits reduced in an attempt to add a few points to your credit score fast. Keep in mind that these techniques for adjusting ratios remain much more speculative methods then those cited above and that each of the bureaus may interpret credit ratios in their own way.
This article has been TrueCredit
and Bankruptcy Alternatives - Debtor's Options

Other sources for this article besides TrueCredit and Mory Brenner, Esq. include FICO's own article on improving your FICO score, Credit Inquiries article by FICO, 101 tips to increase credit score, 7 tips to increase credit score and tips for boosting credit score.