It doesn’t matter what type of card you have or what your credit limit is: Don’t spend more than you can pay in full every month. If you carry a balance from month to month, you’ll risk paying a bunch on interest charges and crippling your credit score — both of which can be a severe blow to your financial health.
How can I rebuild my bad credit?
Using a credit card is a great way to start improving your credit score. It takes time, but using your card for small purchases and paying your bill in full every month can rebuild your credit history, a record of your borrowing and repayment history.
Read our guide to building credit for more ways to safely improve your credit score and reach your financial goals.
How do I get my credit score for free?
Check your credit score for free on sites such as or , and see where you are in the range:
- Exceptional: 800+
- Very good: 740-499
- Good: 670-739
- Fair: 580-669
- Poor: 300-579
How do you check your credit history?
Request a free copy of your credit report from . Look for any inaccuracies as well as areas where you could improve.
How soon is too soon to apply for another credit card?
There’s no hard-and-fast rule on when it’s too soon to apply, but six months is a good place to start. If you have excellent credit and a solid payments history, there’s a chance you could be successful in as little as two to three months. If you have fair credit (669 for FICO®), waiting a year or more is your safest play.
How do credit inquiries work?
Every time a lender reviews your credit history because you’ve applied for credit (like an auto loan, mortgage, or credit card), a “hard inquiry” is generated. Unlike “soft inquiries,” such as pre-qualification checks with certain credit cards, hard inquiries can impact your credit score and stay on your credit report for up to two years.
The level of impact varies depending upon several factors, including the time since your last inquiry, how many accounts you have, and the length of your credit history. Some people with a robust credit history might not be affected at all. For others, it could slash five or more points depending upon their credit report.
The more inquiries on your account, the more lenders view you as a risk. For example, FICO says that people with six inquiries or more on their credit reports are eight times more likely to declare bankruptcy.