Introduction to Your Credit Score: How to Improve the 3-Digit Number That Shapes Your Financial Future
When I first started writing about credit scores more than a decade ago, few people knew what these three-digit numbers were or how they worked.
Today most people have at least a vague understanding that credit scores are important. But they often don’t realize how important—until they get turned down for a loan or an apartment, or wind up paying more interest or higher insurance premiums than they expected.
The credit crunch, financial crisis, and recession just made matters worse. It split the world into two, with one set of rules for the credit “haves” and another for the “have-nots.”
People with good credit scores have enjoyed some of the cheapest loans in a generation. Lenders still fight for their business and reward them with low rates.
It’s a very different world for people who don’t have good scores. Lenders who once encouraged their business now slam the doors. Banks and credit card issuers burned by the recession have grown wary of taking any risk at all.
Unfortunately, more people every day fall into the group of credit have-nots as high unemployment and the foreclosure crisis take their tolls. These folks desperately need to know how to rehabilitate their battered scores but are often given bad or misleading advice about how to do so.
People’s hunger to learn about credit scoring helped make previous editions of this book into national best-sellers. The book you have in your hands now has been completely updated to reflect current laws, trends, and lending practices. It gives you everything you need to know about how to protect your scores if they’re high, and improve them if they’re not.
The days of easy lending aren’t likely to come back any time soon. So now more than ever, knowing how to fix, improve, and protect your credit score is essential for successfully navigating your financial life.