Late credit card payments can significantly harm your score, especially if they go into collections. But experts note that timely cable bills or other service payments could actually boost it; as these types of payments don’t usually get reported to credit bureaus. Colleen McCreary of Credit Karma advocates for consumers to ensure timely payments for services such as cable.

Experian Boost, a new service from Experian, allows consumers to add utility and telecom bills directly from their bank accounts online to their credit score – and track progress toward repaying debts more easily. If financial trouble threatens, however, consider temporarily suspending services such as cable or internet until things return to normal.