Currently most credit card companies, as well as credit agencies themselves, provide a credit score service to inform consumers where they stand. For the majority, your credit score will remain steady as long as you continue with good credit habits, and you can expect your score to rise over time. But what if it doesn’t? Knowing your credit score is one thing, but being savvy about what to do if your score drops is another. It can be confusing to see your score drop- even frightening- but there are ways to increase your credit score again if you take action.

Get to the bottom of it.

If you’ve noticed a recent change in your score, order a credit report from one of the major reporting agencies in order to see details of the activity that has appeared on your record. Your credit history will tell you exactly what financial activity was viewed as a negative and had an impact on your score. Things like payment history, the number of credit inquiries on your account and your credit limits all play into that credit score. Any changes or any strikes against you, such as a late payment on a loan or credit card, will be revealed on your report.

Now what?

Taking action to bring your score back up should be your first priority. First of all, check for errors on the report. Consumers have commonly found their name associated with a wrong address or an account that they never applied for might appear. If you find a mistake, you can dispute the wrong information by contacting the credit reporting company. The agency then is obligated to research the issue and correct any inaccurate information on your report. If the credit bureau has verified your contested information as a mistake, it will be removed from your report. The credit reporting agency will also inform any lender where you applied for credit in the past six months to notify them of the error. This typically will improve your credit score immediately.

Some things that impact your score could be due to making bad financial decisions or neglecting a payment. Once things like a missed credit card payment are reflected on your credit report, they are there to stay. It’s best to make sure late payments never happen. Or if you have too many new credit accounts, the average age of your accounts will be lower, which is viewed as a negative by the reporting agencies. In this instance, however, over time, as the age of your accounts increases, your score will rise again.

To deal with your credit after you’ve had a negative item entered against you on your report, it’s crucial to not ignore the problem. Ask yourself why. Was it a case of overspending, or did you not have a plan in place to automatically pay your monthly card payments? These mistakes are common, but neglecting them can be detrimental to your credit. Your credit information follows you for a long time. Don’t let mistakes or financial missteps eat away at your credit score. The best way to be a savvy credit user is to always stay informed. Know what’s on your report, deal with negative information promptly and practice consistent on-time payment habits.