Retirement Credit score defines your financial freedom in today\u2019s day and age. Whether you like it or not, your credit score can significantly impact your quality of life, especially in retirement.\r\n\r\nAbide by these simple rules throughout retirement, and you\u2019ll enjoy a high retirement credit score.\r\n1. Keep Old Credit Cards Open\r\nHolding American Express Platinum\r\n\r\nHistory is important. The longer your credit card is open (and of course, in good standing), the easier it will be to maintain your score.\r\n\r\nPayment history is roughly 35% of everyone\u2019s credit score. An older credit card will have a long history.\r\n\r\nIf you make a mistake and miss a payment, it\u2019s one small blemish on years of good payments, and it won\u2019t affect as much.\r\n\r\nSo long as you use your card a few times a month, it will maintain your credit score.\r\n\r\nIf your older card isn\u2019t one that you use often, it\u2019s still smart to keep it around. Closing out older credit card accounts can actually hurt your credit.\r\n\r\nConsider making extremely small purchases on your card and paying them off quickly. Five dollars of gas here, small convenience store purchases there; just keep the credit card open and minorly active.\r\n2. Prioritize Bills That Could Affect Credit\r\n\r\nWe\u2019ve all had to prioritize bills based on their due dates before. If a bill could negatively affect your credit score when it goes past the due date, do your best to make it a priority.\r\n\r\nPaying off the other bills is important, but if you can do without them for another week, then it is best to do so.\r\n\r\nIf you have problems remembering which bills affect your credit, sit down and write out a list.\r\n\r\nSet up those bills to be paid automatically with your bank\u2019s online bill pay option, or automatic payments through the bill provider themselves.\r\n\r\nIt takes the guesswork out of it all, and maintains a proper bank record if you ever have to dispute a payment not showing up for whatever reason.\r\n3. Consolidate Credit Cards\r\nDifferent Credit Cards | Retirement Credit Score\r\n\r\nIf your credit card is in good standing, that\u2019s a good thing. If you have six credit cards open, that\u2019s a bad thing.\r\n\r\nWe talked about keeping credit histories open earlier. The longer the history, the better, so it\u2019s time to close out a card or two with the shortest history. In this instance, it might actually help you out.\r\n\r\nHaving a large number of open accounts looks poor on your credit report.\r\n\r\nIf you\u2019ve cosigned loans for grandchildren or are still paying off your mortgage, those are active loan accounts and will be placed next to your open credit cards when determining your score.\r\n\r\nThe sweet spot for open accounts is three or four. Any lower and you might not have a scorable financial history; any higher and you may be seen as untrustworthy or impulsive to the credit bureaus.\r\n4. Pay More Than Your Minimum Card Statement\r\n\r\nThis is an age-old technique to improve your retirement credit score, but also works well for staying in good standing with your credit card provider.\r\n\r\nIf your minimum payment is $40.00 per month, aim for a 25% higher payment of $50.00. It doesn\u2019t have to be a huge difference, but it will shine positively on your credit report.\r\n\r\nRecord-keeping is always something you should do, even in today\u2019s digital age. Get a copy of your payment confirmation that states the minimum payment as well as the actual payment made, and keep a file on it.\r\n5. Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report\r\nWoman With Credit Card\r\n\r\nInconsistencies and problems on credit reports is a growing problem.\r\n\r\nThere are common mistakes that arise on credit reports all the time, from incorrect personal information to duplicate accounts. Dispute these as soon as possible.\r\n\r\nIf you don\u2019t dispute errors, it\u2019s as good as accepting that they actually happened.\r\n\r\nThe three major bureaus are constantly handling hundreds of millions of users credit, and clerical errors are bound to happen.\r\n\r\nWhen you dispute an error, it can still take up to ninety days to be wiped off of your credit report.\r\n\r\nIt is wise to request a confirmation letter stating that this was an error, and that it is being removed.\r\n\r\nThe ninety day period won\u2019t affect you too much, except that it might come up if you were to open a new line of credit.\r\n\r\nWait until the period has ended before pursuing anything that involves a credit check.\r\n6. Avoid Applying for New Credit\r\n\r\nSeniors should maintain their current credit line accounts (cards and loans) avoid opening new ones.\r\n\r\nIf you are currently on a fixed income and apply for new credit, even with a good credit score, you could still be denied.\r\n\r\nEither that, or you will be accepted, and possible have more lines of credit than the magic number. That could impact your score.\r\n\r\nApplying for new credit also takes a hit on your credit report. If you are working to maintain your credit and not increase it, you can\u2019t afford any negative marks.\r\n7. Know Your Creditor\r\nExcellent Credit Rating | Know Your Retirement Credit Score\r\n\r\nCredit rating systems can seem very cold and lifeless, but there are real people ready to help you.\r\n\r\nWe have a negative societal view on credit companies, so give them a call to iron out any issues or ask for information that is specific to your case.\r\n\r\nYou might find that there are smaller ways to boost or maintain your credit rating through tools that are readily available to your creditors, and to you.\r\n\r\nContact them to get a direct line to someone who can help you.\r\n\r\nGet their extension for faster access if you need future issues resolved (we all know how long the wait can be for an arbitrary connection).\r\nCan a Retired Person Get a Credit Card?\r\n\r\nUnder the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, you cannot be discriminated against getting a credit card based on age.\r\n\r\nHowever, there are financial differences between age and retirement, which do come into play.\r\n\r\nYou cannot be denied a credit card because of where your income stems from.\r\n\r\nIf your primary income is through social security, that won\u2019t disqualify you from getting a credit card. However, the frequency of your income is a factor.\r\n\r\nSSI benefits that only come in at the beginning of the month mean you\u2019re only earning an income once a month. That can affect your ability to get a credit card.\r\n\r\nOther aspects of retirement could work against you for getting a credit card, such as:\r\nLower Income\r\nPutting Coin In Wallet\r\n\r\nFrequency matters, but so does the amount. Just because you can\u2019t be disqualified for having an SSI-based income doesn\u2019t mean that you can\u2019t be disqualified for the amount of money you get.\r\n\r\nIf this number vastly contrasts your pre-retirement income, this could work against you.\r\nPaying Off Your Mortgage\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s good to pay off your mortgage, but it\u2019s also a closed credit account (loan).\r\n\r\nEven if the mortgage ends in good standing with no missed payments over your loan term, you are now down by one credit account.\r\nNot Using Credit\r\n\r\nIf you don\u2019t use it, you lose it. You should already be using a credit card intermittently throughout the month, even if you\u2019re paying off the full balance immediately after using it.\r\n\r\nMaintaining open credit with a long and positive history is paramount if you want to acquire another credit card in the future.\r\nCo-Signing A Loan\r\n\r\nYou have something called a debt-to-income ratio, and when you co-sign on a loan (generally for a grandchild\u2019s student loans or a child\u2019s mortgage), you\u2019re putting yourself in a bad credit situation.\r\n\r\nYour name will be associated with that account, whether it\u2019s positive or not. It\u2019s as good as taking out a loan in your own name, and will majorly impact your credit.\r\n\r\nThese are a few of the things that could work against you while trying to get a new credit card. If you\u2019ve been denied for a credit card, there\u2019s something you can do to work around it.\r\n\r\nGet a secured credit card. It costs a couple hundred upfront, and works as a debit card that builds your credit. Eventually, you can graduate to an unsecured credit card and build your credit further.\r\nHow Does Age Affect Your Credit Score?\r\n\r\nYour birth date doesn\u2019t immediately impact your retirement credit score; it\u2019s about credit history, not personal age.\r\n\r\nHaving a long credit history in good standing will undoubtedly be good for your credit.\r\n\r\nWhat\u2019s better is that when you only have one or two late payments on a twenty-year credit account, it doesn\u2019t make much of an impact.\r\n\r\nIf you were to close out that twenty-year credit line, it would hit your retirement credit score. Hard.\r\n\r\nPayment history is tied to that credit account. It accounts for 35% of your credit score. When you close the account out, it no longer impacts your ongoing credit score, which will force it to decline.\r\n\r\nYou could also take a big hit all at once when you close that account out. Even if you sparsely use the credit account in question, keep it open.\r\n\r\nIf you have never had a credit account, or have not had a credit account for a long time, that will negatively impact your credit.\r\n\r\nMaintaining credit accounts as they age is important; don\u2019t close them out.\r\nCan I Get a Loan if I am Retired?\r\nApplying For Loan\r\n\r\nYes, you most certainly can get a loan when you are retired, but you might have to explore roundabout ways to get one.\r\n\r\nDifferent loans have different requirements. Car loans and home loans will have different requirements than personal loans.\r\n\r\nYou also have to factor in secured loans versus unsecured loans.\r\n\r\nSecured loans are like mortgage and auto loans, while unsecured loans are lump sum amounts of money with no collateral through a contact.\r\n\r\nIf you fail to pay your auto loan, they seize the car. If you fail to pay an unsecured loan, they have to collect\u2014that proves far more difficult.\r\n\r\nIt is much easier to get a secured loan in retirement than it is an unsecured loan. If you are able to comfortably make payments for a shorter-term loan, this could also help you.\r\n\r\nWhile this could mean higher monthly payments, it will also lower the interest that you will pay over time.\r\n\r\nThe more money you can put down (upfront) on the loan, such as an auto loan, the more likely you are to be approved for one.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s important to keep in mind that when applying for a loan, you will need to have copies of all financial data that may be relevant: closed credit accounts and their standing, previous mortgage statements, recent credit reports, and anything else that could help you out. Keep a current portfolio at all times.\r\nHow do You Keep Your Credit Score High?\r\n\r\nKeep your credit utilization low, but existent.\r\n\r\nThe higher your credit card limit is, the higher your credit score will be\u2014if you use the card. The most responsible way to do this is to have the money set aside already.\r\n\r\nPurchase something simple, such as your groceries or gas, with your credit card. Then use the money you already have to make a payment in one week.\r\n\r\nYour card needs to be active, but with a low balance. Maintaining less than 30% of your total credit card utilization will look good on your credit report.\r\n\r\nKeep it even lower, and you might even be eligible for a credit line increase from your card provider.\r\n\r\nIf you are responsible and know nobody else has access to your card, accept the credit line increase.\r\n\r\nCredit card providers report the good and the bad to the three major bureaus.\r\n\r\nWhen your credit report shows that you have maintained a low utilization and received an increase, and you aren\u2019t being reckless with that newfound amount, your score increases.\r\n\r\nMaintaining this will keep your retirement credit score high without costing you any additional money.