Use your credit card.

It seems counter-intuitive but to build and maintain a solid credit score, you need to show that you are actively being responsible with your debt. A credit card is the fastest way to do that. If you have a mortgage, auto loan or student loans you are paying down, that will help but you get the biggest reward for paying down revolving debt like credit cards. Be sure to pay whatever loans you have on time — on-time payments are a big part of your credit score too.

Don’t take on too much debt.

Its great to qualify for large credit lines but not so great if you run up your credit to the maximum limit, even if you pay it off every month. A good rule of thumb: Keep the amount of credit available to you at less than 30%.

Be vigilant about your credit report.

Your credit score is based entirely on the information in your credit report. If there are errors, your credit score could take a hit. Get your report once a year from each of the three big credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – at

Check your credit score annually too, especially if you are planning to get a mortgage or another loan. The best place to do that: at

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