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Visit the Annual Credit Report website to view and print your credit report (see Resources section). You're entitled to three free credit reports every 12 months from the site under the terms of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Order your credit score separately for a fee by following instructions included with your credit report. The MSN Money website reports that you may have a credit report and score even if you've never had credit. The site says a mistake by one of the credit bureaus could have resulted in a credit report being generated under your name.
Challenge any errors on your credit report by entering disputes online (see Resources section). Removing incorrect information that is negative could boost your credit score, according to MSN Money.
Pay all your bills on time, month after month. It's vital that you never miss a payment on your accounts, MSN Money reports. The site reports that a single missed payment could cause a
700-plus credit score to drop by more than 100 points. A missed payment won't hurt as much while you're still building credit, according to MSN Money, but it will slow your progress.
Open checking and savings accounts, if you don't already have them. The accounts won't boost your credit score, but they will help show stability. MSN Money reports that could be a benefit when lenders view your credit report.
Apply for new credit. A department store credit card, gas station card or full-featured MasterCard or Visa could help build your score. Apply for a secured MasterCard or Visa if you have had credit problems and can't qualify for an unsecured card. No collateral is required for an unsecured card. A secured card requires a deposit into a savings account, which is held as collateral for the card. The amount on deposit becomes your credit line. Make small charges on your new credit card and pay the balance off each month as you quickly build your credit.