Remember that the best way to protect your credit and identity is to check your credit reports for unauthorized activity regularly. It’s easier than ever to stay on top of your credit by signing up for free access and alerts at sites such as Credit Karma and Credit Sesame.
If you check your credit reports and are surprised to see a late payment, act quickly to settle your account. Maybe your payment got lost or damaged in the mail, or there was a glitch with your online bill pay service.
What may surprise you about credit utilization is that it can increase even if you haven’t maxed out your credit cards. For instance, if your card issuer cuts your available credit limit, your utilization ratio would go up.