Any amounts that are past due destroy your credit score. Work at paying down past due balances as soon as possible; then normal payments can be made and will reflect paid on time. Any charge offs or liens within the past 24 months damage your credit score. Work at paying these as quickly as possible.
Make sure your credit card company reports your credit limit to the credit bureau and then keep your card balances at 50 percent of that limit or below. Anything over 70 percent of your limit damages your credit score.
Keep the number of credit cards you have between three and five to better your credit score. If you need to close some, the newest cards are the ones to close.
People that have credit for a longer period of time are assumed to be at less risk of defaulting on payments. Use the old card at least once every six months to avoid it moving to inactive.
Once you become current on any late payments, contact all creditors that have reported the late payments to the Credit Bureau and request they be removed. Persistence and politeness usually result in success on this one!
Not all collection agencies will do this but many will, and it is well worth your effort to try. When you are getting ready to pay off a collection, contact the collection agency and make arrangements to pay it off with the condition they remove all reporting from the credit bureaus. Request a letter from them that states this agreement.