Getting caught up in vacation mode—and the charge frenzy that often accompanies it—is how many of us get into trouble. Here are four ways to keep your credit in tip-top shape while on vacation:
1. Donâ€™t apply for retail credit cards. Getting a 10% discount on your purchase really isnâ€™t worth it in the long run. Opening a new account could spell trouble for your credit score because the length of your credit history makes up 15% of your FICO score. The older your credit age, the better, as it shows a long history of credit management. Opening a new credit card account will lower your overall credit age, and consequently, your score. Applying for credit also means that there will be an inquiry on your report. Inquiries make up 10% of your FICO score.
2. Be cautious when shopping online. If youâ€™re shopping for gifts online, make sure that you only visit websites that youâ€™re familiar with or that youâ€™ve done business with in the past. Donâ€™t just give anyone access to your credit card number.
3. Donâ€™t overcharge. Be mindful of how much youâ€™re spending. If you wonâ€™t be able to repay the amount you charge at the end of the month, reconsider your purchases. Charging too much on your card will cause the amount you owe to spike. Amounts owed account for 30% of your FICO score.
4. Donâ€™t forget to pay your bills. It might seem obvious, but itâ€™s easy to forget to pay your bills when youâ€™re traveling and visiting relatives. Set up reminders in your calendar or automatic bill payments so that you wonâ€™t miss a payment and get a negative mark on your credit report. Your payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO score.