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Your credit score matters. No matter how you want to look at it, if you want to be able to secure loans and obtain competitive interest rates, a good credit score is what determines your fate with both of those items. Did you know that there are three main credit agencies that regulate you and your credit score?

These agencies track the amount of debt that you have, the number of late payments that you’ve done and they also help other companies decide if you are a trustworthy person with money. The three main credit agencies are TransUnion, Experion, and Equifax. If you get negative marks on one, more than likely there will be negative marks on all.

Important tip? Always monitor all three to ensure that they all match and that you haven’t missed anything. There’s nothing worse than having something negative sitting on your credit report that isn’t correct, but you have no idea it’s even there.

When it comes to your credit score, the higher the number, the better. A perfect credit score is 850, but very little of the population has that. It takes time, effort and a ton of due diligence to even get over the 800 mark for your credit score. While it may seem like a long shot, it’s absolutely possible.

First and foremost, pay your bills on time. Period. No late payments, no deciding just not to pay. When you get a bill, pay it. Next, make certain to always pay your credit cards off in full each and every month and don’t max out your credit limit on it either. To boost your credit score, you need to use credit, but in a responsible way that shows you have the means to actually pay for all the charges that you just incurred. Last but not least, give it time to build up. You will be rewarded each and every month and year that you make responsible choices about your spending and your income to debt ratio. Building credit is a long game, not a short win.

If you happen to find there are a few items on your credit report that you need to dispute, dispute them! TransUnion disputes can be easy and can be done quite simply. Of the three credit agencies, always start off by comparing your reports so you can pinpoint the issue. Then, start by calling and asking questions, followed by writing a dispute letter about what you feel is incorrect. It can take time to get negative marks removed if they are on their incorrectly, but it’s worth it because you don’t want to have any type of negative marks on your credit reports at all!

When it comes to you and your credit score, do your best to stay on top of your spending and owing game. Use your credit cards responsibly and always remember to pay your bills on time. If you have the means to just be able to automate some of your bills so that you don’t forget them, do so! It’s so nice to not have to worry about due dates and just know that they are paid on time. Building up your credit score will help you out with so many other aspects in your life.