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The Short Answer

How to Keep a Credit Score High

These tips serve as protective hedges to maintain your credit score.

Question: I recently refinanced my mortgage. Although my credit score is fine, I didn't receive the highest possible score even though I've always paid my bills on time. What goes into calculating the score, and how can I get mine to go up?

Answer: Your credit score serves as a key determinant of the costs of some of the most important and substantial purchases you'll make--like buying a home or car--as well as the interest rates that accompany your credit cards. Damaged credit can affect how much you pay for services such as insurance, and some employers even look to credit histories before extending job offers.

FICO scores (named after Fair Isaac Corporation--the company that developed the methods for calculating the scores) are the most commonly used scores by lenders as they attempt to gauge a borrower's risk and reliability.