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Why does paying on time matter?

When you want to build positive credit history and improve your credit score, the most important rule to remember is never, never, never be late to pay.

Your FICO® credit score — the big one most lenders look at — is 35% based on your payment history. If you pay every bill on time — every single time — you’ll look great to new, potential lenders.

When something is this important, why leave it to chance? Take the time to automate bill payments. When possible, set them up to be paid early.

With credit cards especially, pay in full each month. If you keep a balance, it should be less than 20% of your available credit limit — and be sure to pay on time.

Maintaining good payment history is one reason why learning to develop a spending plan is so critical. With a solid spending plan, you should never wind up short or late to pay a bill. A budget helps you spend without stress and skip the hassles that money problems bring. Including a knock on your credit score!