How do I manage credit cards to raise my credit score?

4 rules every cardholder should know
Published on Aug 15, 2005

"Two years ago I had terrible credit, and you were kind enough to steer me to a credit card company that would give me a card. Now I have three cards, and my credit has improved some, but not do I manage my cards to earn the highest possible credit score?" Managing credit cards is more complicated than managing a mortgage or auto loan because you have multiple debts rather than just one. The number of cards can vary, balances can be increased or paid down, balances can be shifted between cards, new cards can be opened, and existing cards can be closed. Any such change may affect your credit score. Whether it reduces or increases the score depends on whether the genie who scores credit believes that the change will increase or decrease the probability that you will default on future loans. The rules applied by the genie are as follows, in order of importance. Payment History: Payments made on time raise the credit score, while delinquent payments reduce it. That is the ...