10. Learn what your current FICO® Credit Score is and what appears on your credit report. Score Power® gives you immediate access to your credit report and includes your current FICO score.

9. Don't open new credit cards that you don't need just to increase your available credit. This approach could backfire and actually lower your score.

8. Try to keep your total account balances as low as possible. High outstanding debt may negatively affect your score, as you have a greater chance of missing payments.

7. Correct any incorrect information that might appear on your credit report. Visit Fixing Errors on Your Report for more information.

6. If your credit is severely damaged, or you have a very short credit history, there are still ways to improve your credit over time. Consider opening new accounts responsibly and paying them off on time.

5. If you fall behind on paying a bill because of illness, unemployment, or family issues, write a short explanation to the credit reporting agencies. They will add it to your credit report. Also, call your creditor to explain the circumstances and, if possible, work out a payment schedule you can meet.

4. If you need help building your credit from scratch or re-establishing credit after bankruptcy or consumer proposal consider taking advantage of a secured credit card.

3. To minimize the number of inquiries on your credit report, don't apply for multiple credit cards over a short period of time, or for a card you're not likely to get. Apply for new credit accounts only as needed.

2. Make all of your payments on time. If forced to miss a payment, be sure to pay the following month. Accounts more than 60 days past due will be indicated on your credit report.

And the number one way....?

1. Continue to check your credit report regularly, correcting errors and inaccuracies that can damage your credit score.