Do keeimages-1p an eye on your payment due dates and pay on time. This includes bills, credit card repayments, personal loan repayments, and home repayments.

Do keep a diary noting when all your repayments are due each month and add it to your to-do list. SMS alerts are another great way to remind yourself that bills are due.

Do make sure there is enough money in your bank account if you have a direct debit set up to pay your bills. If there is not enough money in your account, you may get a late payment mark on your credit file.

Do let lenders know if you are experiencing any financial difficulty. Even the most well off or responsible people can fall into debt due to circumstances beyond their control such as ill health, relationship breakdown, accidents and unemployment. Lenders are obligated to work with you to overcome your financial difficulties.

Don’t get a free credit score online and rely on what it says. These credit scores are often calculated with data that is not up to date, and are therefore wrong. In addition, your free credit score may not tell you the problems you need to fix on your credit file to get in a better position to get finance.

Don’t apply for more than five credit contracts in a 12 months’ period. Any more applications than that will impact your credit score for two years leading to possible rejections of loan applications.

Don’t bury your head in the sand when you find it impossible to pay your bills. Get help quickly. You can seek help from a financial counselor from anywhere in Australia by calling 1800 007 007 (Monday to Friday 9.30 am-4.30 pm). No problem is insurmountable. There are always people who can help.

Don’t think there is no hope if you do get a default or court action on your credit file. These listings can be removed if they are incorrect. Seek the help of the Ombudsman services or a reputable credit repair company to build a case and fight for the removal of incorrect listings.