How to keep a healthy FICO score

Consumers don’t have to be completely mystified by how their credit score is calculated.

There are basic practices that people can take to help ensure that their FICO score is in top condition.

Consumers should always aim to pay their bills on time. A single late payment can drop a person’s credit score 30 to 75 points, according to the Quincy Patriot Ledger newspaper. Payment history makes up about 35 percent of a persons score.

Card holders should also be mindful of their debt to available credit ratio. The paper says that card companies report how much available credit a person has per card, which is why it’s bad combine all debts onto one card.

“If you wish to pay down balances make sure you do that across the board among all of your accounts,” reports the newspaper. “Do not consolidate your debt into one or two credit cards. When you consolidate all of your debt onto one card, it will appear that you are maxed out on that card and the system will penalize you.”

A person’s FICO score can range from anywhere between 300 and 850, with the higher number being the best.