By in Debt | 13 comments


Life was a lot simpler when what we honored was father and mother rather than all major credit cards.
Robert Orben

Bad things happen when your credit goes down the toilet. Even if you think you don’t need a good credit score because you aren’t going to buy a house, consider this; landlords and employers check your credit score as well. With a lower credit score you could miss out on a great apartment or a good rate on a loan. Check out these myths and tips to boost your credit score and gain some useful personal finance information.


Myth Number 1: It’s best to have no credit cards at all.

Having several credit cards is helpful in maintaining a solid score. After all, a lender wants to know that you can handle credit responsibly. Here’s the catch, have a few cards, pay them off in full every month, and don’t use more than 20-30% of your available credit.

Myth Number 2: Wealthier people have better credit scores.

Income has nothing to do with credit scores. If you are wealthy and don’t pay your bills on time, your credit score will suffer. Just because you have a big salary doesn’t mean you know how to handle your income or your bills. If you don’t pay your bills on time, you hurt your credit score.

Myth Number 3: You will have a poor credit score if you don’t have a credit history.

Starting out you will probably have a credit score in the 600’s, according to the founder of Credit Karma, Ken Lin (from an article by Mary Cornatzer of McClatchy Newspapers). He recommended those without a credit history (or a poor one) get a secured credit card, requiring a cash deposit. Use the card responsibly and pay the bills on time. Your score will rise along with the improved credit usage.

Myth Number 4: You must be in debt to have a good credit score.

On the contrary, those with credit scores above 800 have less debt than those with scores in the 600 to 700 range.


  • Have several credit cards, but don’t use more than 30% of the available credit on any one card.
  • Pay your bills in full and on time every month.
  • If you are drowning in debt, make a commitment now to get it paid off. Your credit score will increase as will your peace of mind.

Can’t Get Enough?

Read a bit more about Credit Karma at Bargaineering

Wise Bread has some great articles about improving your credit score

Free From Broke tells how An Excellent Credit Score Saved Him Money

Learn from PT Money where to get a Free Credit Report

 Action Steps

Get a notebook and label it: “(your name) Personal Finance” and keep it by the computer. Use it for all of your personal finance thoughts, activities, and plans.

Make today the day you look up your credit score; it’s free and this government website can tell you how to get a free credit report.

If your credit score is not where you want it to be, make a goal and take action towards a better score.

What are your tips for an improved credit score?



  1. I once worked with a fellow who didn’t have a credit card because the preacher told him they were evil. This created problems for him, e.g., renting a car at a client site.

    You need a card because its more efficient to conduct commerce. My best suggestion is to keep your credit very simple. Only have one (or 2) cards from companies that you trust. I’ve found that credit unions are better.

    Six Figure Investor

    February 20, 2012

  2. The best way is not to try to game the system. Strive to live without taking on too much debt and by living within your means.


    February 20, 2012

  3. I agree with all your points. I never thought much about my credit score, however I always act responsibly, Currently I have no debt except for a small mortgage.


    February 20, 2012

  4. Good post Barb. I bought into a few myths as a young (and uneducated) person. That myth being that credit card companies wouldn’t offer you more credit if they didn’t think you could pay for it. That was a lesson I learned the (VERY) hard way.

    Jessica, The Debt Princess

    February 21, 2012

  5. @Six figure, I couldn’t agree more. I have 2 general credit cards and a Target Card and one debit card. It’s plenty.
    @Money-Well put!
    @Krantcents-Except when we were applying for a mortgage last spring, I didn’t think about our credit score one way or another. But…. before the interest rate was concerned I asiduously attended to behaviors to keep our score as high as possible.


    February 20, 2012

  6. Thanks for sharing your practical insight regarding with credit card, most of my friends pushing me to impart with this thing but I am afraid for some reason, I just want to live all along my debt card because I won’t be alarm with my balance without an obligation just like when I am in credit card…


    February 21, 2012

  7. Very succinct post, as usual! ABC News reported recently that there are mistakes in as many as 90 percent of credit reports (I know, I couldn’t believe it either….google it). So, getting a free credit report and reviewing the contents for mistakes could also bump up your score.


    February 21, 2012

  8. Girls – get your own credit rating. Don’t wait, do it now. It’s so easy to just let credit happen in the guy’s name – even when you have joint debt, the credit sometimes just goes on the guys score for some reason.

    Marie at FamilyMoneyValues

    February 21, 2012

  9. So true. It’s a good idea to check your credit score yearly… and look out for any discrepancies.

    Julie @ Freedom 48

    February 22, 2012

  10. Thank you for dispelling these myths Barb. Some people seem to think that credit cards are something that they should avoid at all costs. That is far from the truth though. You have to learn how to use them responsibly and use them to your advantage. Not only do they help build your credit rating, but they are also very convenient and can earn rewards or cash back.

    Modest Money

    February 22, 2012

  11. @Modest-Very well stated. The rewards are quite nice, if you have the discipline to pay the monthly bill in full. If not, the rewards do little to overcome the interest accrued.


    February 22, 2012

  12. I hate that so many of the financial, insurance, and other industries are so reliant on stupid credit scores. I believe that it is nothing more than the dumbing down of an entire culture. Remember the days when a mortgage company compared your actual income to your actual bills? Me neither!

    That being said, I do put forth effort to maintain a good credit score. I think of it as my digital reputation. I do not obsess about it though and do things to try to build it higher.

    Matt @ RamblingFever Money

    February 23, 2012

  13. @Matt-It is kind of stupid the tremendous focus on credit scores. Plus it’s so wierd about the impact on your score the amount of available credit you use.


    March 3, 2012


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