Protect Your Credit Scores – Read Before You Leap

Protect your Credit Scores

Today a high credit score is more important than ever. In addition to affecting what you pay for new credit, a low score can make it difficult to rent a home, hook up utilities, or even get a new job.

Since one of the ways to raise your credit score is to have more credit than you use, smart consumers are adding credit cards, then using them sparingly.

Adding a credit card is a good credit move, but do be careful.

Every time you make application for credit of any kind, the credit issuer will check your credit report and scores. And each time they check, your score will take a small hit. The last thing you want to do is cause anyone to check your score if they aren’t going to extend the credit.

This, by the way, is the reason why you should never give your social security number to a car dealer, a furniture salesman, an apartment rental manager, etc. unless and until you have definitely decided to make the purchase or rent the unit.

So – before you apply for a new card, get a copy of your free credit report with scores. Then do your research.

Most credit card issuers publish their guidelines, telling what level of credit-worthiness is required for each of their cards.

Each card issuer has it’s own definition, but in general you can expect that
•    Great = 760 – 850
•    Very good = 725 – 759
•    Good = 660 – 724
•    Not Good = 560 – 659
•    Bad = 300 – 559

To be on the safe side, make sure your score is above the bottom number in this chart before making application for a card in that category.

If you’re under 21:

You probably know that under the Credit CARD Act of 2009, in order to get a credit card you must have either sufficient income or assets, or a co-signer.

However, issuers aren’t required to offer to co-signer option and some do not. Thus, before you submit an application, check their policies. If you need a co-signer and they don’t allow it, don’t apply.

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Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.