Before we go any further, letís start right off talking about some of the important things to do in order to maintain a good credit score and make sure you know them before you even start to establish, re-establish or re-build credit. Below you will find the 2 most important things to know. Read #1 over and over again and never forget it, that always ranks as the key to keeping up a great credit score.

  1. Be punctual

    Pay all your bills on time. Late payments, collections, and bankruptcies have the greatest negative effect on your credit score. From the point of view of the credit reporting bureaus you may want to note that "late" usually means 30 days late. This means your goal should be to pay things before the due date, the next best choice becomes avoiding the late fee date, perhaps at 10 or 15 days late. The most important date for avoiding a bad credit report starts with missing a payment by 30 days. You can never end up with a charge off, collection or bankruptcy problem if you never miss a payment by more than 30 days. If you can't afford to pay everything on time you may want to read Who to pay when you can't pay everyone or other materials at Bankruptcy Alternatives - Debtor's Options.
  2. Give yourself time

    Time is one of the most significant factors that can improve your credit score. Establish a long history of paying your bills on time and using credit responsibly. You may also want to keep the oldest account on your credit report open in order to lengthen your period of active credit use. For those just starting out once you have some credit established you may want to choose a card that you will want to keep for decades. How fast your credit gets better with time depends on how bad it got or how aggressivley you try to build or establish it, but you will start to see things improve within the first year. In 3-9 months you should have a good base started and by 1-2 years expect a serious raise in score. Provided you have established enough credit lines and you never miss a payment, just keeping up that routine every month should eventually bring your credit score up to the 675-750 range.

We will proceed in this guide to walk you through the credit establishment and credit rebuilding process, provide further credit and budget education and help you build a strong foundation for a long future of great credit!

These two suggestions have been TrueCredit
and Bankruptcy Alternatives - Debtor's Options

Other sources for this original 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.