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Learn about, keep an eye on credit reports

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By Jason Alderman

One of the few positive outcomes of the 2008 financial crisis was that it helped shine a light on the importance of understanding and staying on top of your credit profile.
Along with that heightened visibility, however, has come a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding – particularly around the all-important credit score.
“The consequences of not maintaining a sound credit score can be very costly,” says Anthony Sprauve, senior consumer credit specialist at FICO. “A low score can bar you from getting a new loan, doom you to higher interest rates and even cost you a new job or apartment.”
Five factors are used to determine your credit score: payment history (usually around 35 percent of your score), amount owed (30 percent), length of credit history (15 percent), newly opened credit accounts (10 percent), and types of credit used (10 percent).
Fortunately, if your credit score has taken a hit, you can initiate several actions that will begin improving it almost immediately. Just be aware that it can take many years to recover from events like bankruptcy or foreclosure.


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