The holidays are upon us, and they may affect your credit scores.
One's credit score could take a hit during the holidays in a number of ways. You may see a less than festive dip from overcharging and not paying your credit card bills in a timely manner or by being the victim of credit fraud.
Your credit score can follow you almost like a criminal record, and it can make big, important purchases -- like houses or cars -- much more difficult than they should be. In order to keep your holidays merry, here are five tips to protect your credit score this holiday season:
Check it. Many Americans haven't even checked their credit scores, which is alarming at any time of the year. Knowing your credit score can help you gauge many of your spending habits. Make sure you know what your score is before you dive into the season of spending.
Pay off all your bills. One of the crucial factors affecting your credit score is how timely your payments are and if you make them. Make sure that your prior bills are all paid off before you rack up even more this holiday season.
Think twice before signing up for a new card. It may be tempting, especially with all the instant savings that retailers will offer you, but consider all your other options. Signing up for a new credit card not only means a slight dip in your credit score, but do you really need a new line of credit to worry about paying off in the new year?
Keep up the good habits. While you may have plans to leave town or be more social during the holidays, make sure that your priorities are still in check. You should still try to save when you can, pay your bills on time, and, if you have them, don't forget about those student loans, either.
Sign up for credit card fraud alerts. Make sure you sign up for credit card fraud alerts. This not only can help you detect credit card fraud right away, but you could also prevent identity theft. You should still protect yourself the best you can from those looking to prey on the increased number of shoppers in stores. But, sometimes theft happens, and you can at least remedy a fraud situation quicker by having these alerts.
Last but not least, happy holidays! Just remember to be careful.