All of us want a good credit score. That gives you the lowest possible interest rate next time you buy a house, a car or take out a credit card.
Thinking of applying for a home or car loan? To know your credit worthiness in advance, you can access your credit score from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion (though it will cost you a few dollars.) You can even get a free score from Credit Karma.
Ideally, you want a credit score as close to 800 as possible.
Money Magazine lists some credit score killers that can lower your score dramatically.
Late bills: Even just one late credit card payment can knock down your score 20 points or more. Pay something each month, even if it is just the minimum.
Using more than 1/3 of your available credit: In other words, don't max out your credit cards. Just because you have $3,000 available doesn't mean you should put $2,600 on your card.
Closing too many accounts too quickly:It's OK to cancel one credit card, but don't close three or four at once.
Biggest credit score killer
But from the "doesn't that stink" file, perhaps the biggest score killer:
Don't let anything go to collections: Even a disputed doctors bill that you know you are in the right about. It can take two to four years to bring your credit score back to its pre-collection level.