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Credit Score Anxiety

Updated: Jul 15, 2023

The single most important piece of information is this: Pay off your entire credit card balance before the due date. Every month. For every card.

You don't need to concern yourself with minimum payments and interest, etc. If you charged $2679 to your credit card in that billing cycle, you will want to pay $2679 on or before its due date. I strongly recommend setting up automatic payments so you don't even have to think about it. You don't want to miss a payment because that can decrease your credit score.

The second most important piece of information is this: You will want to keep your oldest account open. Did you open a credit card when you were in your 20s at Gap or Macy's and you barely use the card but you still have it in a drawer somewhere? Great! Don't close it. Your credit score is affected by how long you have been using credit, so keep your longest one open to keep your score up. [And you only need 1 open so if you have a bunch of credit cards from a long time ago you can close the other ones if you want, just keep the very oldest one open].

And if you clicked on this link, you might be worried about credit inquiries. Each time you apply for a credit card (or a loan or whatever), that company will check your credit score to make sure it is good enough for them to give you the credit card or loan. If this happens over and over, it can drop your score a tiny bit so this will only matter if you are teetering around the 700 mark. If so, you will want to try to raise your score a bit. But if you are in the solid 700s or in the 800s, it literally doesn't matter. It will only be on your credit report for 2 years and only impacts the score (slightly) for 1 year. So having 3-5 credit inquiries in a given year is not an issue.

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