offers up five more ways that consumers can resolve to improve their credit scores in 2009.

First the CPA's, now the CRA's (credit reporting agencies)

Last week, those of us here at Auto Credit Express Car Loans passed along the advice of the Illinois CPA Society in an article about financial fitness for the New Year. Today, only a couple of days into the New Year, we want to offer you 5 more tips on the same topic, only this time they're from TransUnion's TrueCredit division.

Although these tips are along the same lines, they are geared more toward improving your credit score and monitoring your credit report rather than budgeting and goal setting.

Here is the news release:

CHICAGO, / -- The majority of Americans have not ranked paying down debt as their number one New Year's resolution for the past three years, according to surveys, conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media / Roper Public Affairs. However, given the current economic landscape, it's safe to anticipate that many consumers may move improving their credit standing above losing weight on their list of resolutions this year.

"Consumers should approach the New Year as a time to start fresh and begin managing their credit more closely," said Lucy Duni, vice president of consumer education at by TransUnion. "While it can be overwhelming, now more than ever, consumers need to play a more active role in their financial management to ensure they are in the best possible position with lenders." is helping consumers stick to their credit resolutions in 2009 by providing a list of tips to keep them on the right track:

• Always pay your bills on time. While it may sound like a no-brainer, making payments on time is essential whether consumers are trying to boost or maintain their credit score. Yet, TrueCredit's 2007 survey revealed that one in four (25 percent) respondents had missed making one or more on-time bill payments.

• Don't overspend: keep debt below 35 percent of your limits. Although it can be tempting and easy to overspend, it's important for consumers to keep their credit card balances low and not to max them out. Part of a lender's evaluation includes reviewing a consumer's available credit. If consumers are nearing or have over-extended their credit, it may impact their ability to be approved for a loan at a competitive rate.

• Keep tabs on your credit report. In order to maintain a "healthy" credit score and to position yourself best with creditors, it's important for consumers to monitor their report regularly to provide an up-to-date view on credit card activity and debt. It also enables consumers to identity possible signs of fraudulent activity, as the potential for identity theft remains significant.

• Monitor leases and loans closely where you are the co-signer. When consumers open a joint account or co-sign a loan, they are taking on legal responsibility for the account. Any activity on these shared accounts, good or bad, will be reflected in both credit reports.

• Long-standing credit card accounts can help your credit score. Consumers should be cautious when thinking about closing credit card accounts where they have been making punctual payments over a long period of time. In addition to lowering your available credit, canceling old credit accounts can also ultimately lower your credit score by making your credit history appear shorter.

The Bottom Line

While the advice from TransUnion is skewed toward the impact your credit decisions have on your credit report and your credit score, it is still good advice and can help you start off the New Year on a better financial footing.