Table of contents for Your credit score : how to fix, improve, and protect the 3-digit number that shapes your financial future / Liz Pulliam Weston.

Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog.

Note: Contents data are machine generated based on pre-publication provided by the publisher. Contents may have variations from the printed book or be incomplete or contain other coding.

 What It Costs Long Term to Have a Poor or 
Mediocre Credit Score	3
How Credit Scoring Came into Being	6
How Credit Use Has Changed Over the Years	7
Consumer?s Fight for Truth About Credit Scores	8
Credit Controversies	9
Credit Scoring?s Vulnerability to Errors	9
Credit Scoring?s Complexity	10
Credit Scoring?s Use for Noncredit Decisions	11
Credit Scoring?s Potential Unfairness	11
Conclusion 	12
2	How Credit Scoring Works	13
What Is a Good Score?	16
Your Credit Report: The Building Blocks for Your 	 Score	17
How Your Score Is Calculated	18
The Five Most Important Factors	19
Your Payment History	19
How Much You Owe	20
How Long You?ve Had Credit	21
Your Last Application for Credit	21
The Types of Credit You Use	22
Your Credit Scorecard	22
Your Results Might Differ	24
How Do I Get My Score?	25
3	Improving Your Score?The Right Way
Step 1: Start with Your Credit Report	31
Check the Identifying Information	32
Carefully Review the Credit Accounts	32
Parse Through Your Inquiries	34
Examine Your Collections and Public Records	34
Dispute the Errors	35
Step 2: Pay Your Bills on Time	36
How to Make Sure Your Bills Get Paid on Time, All the Time
	Automatic Payments	38
	Recurring Credit Card Charges	39
	Online Bill Payment	39
	Just Pay Your Bills As They Come In	40
Step 3: Pay Down Your Debt	40
You Need to Reduce What You Owe, Rather Than Just Moving 
Your Balances Around	40
You Might Need to Change Your Approach to 	Paying 
Off Debt	41
You Need to Pay Attention to How Much You 		Charge?Even If You Pay Your Balances Off in Full Every Month	42
How to Find Money to Pay Down Your Debt	42
Step 4: Don?t Close Credit Cards or Other Revolving Accounts	43
Step 5: Apply for Credit Sparingly	44
How to Get a Credit Score If You Don?t Have 		Credit	44
	Check Your Credit Report, If You Have One	44
	Set Up Checking and Savings Accounts	45
	Use Someone Else?s Good Name	46
	Apply for Credit While You?re a College Student	46
	Apply for an Alternate Card	47
	Get an Installment Loan	48
Credit Scores Without Credit	48
4	Credit Scoring Myths	49
Myth 1: Closing Credit Accounts Will Help Your 
	Your Score	50
Myth 2: You Can Boost Your Score By Asking Your 
	Credit Card Company to Lower Your Limits	51
Myth 3: You Can Hurt Your Score By Checking Your 
	Own Credit Report	52
Myth 4: You Can Hurt Your Score By Shopping 	
	Around for the Best Rates	53
Myth 5: You Don?t Have to Use Credit to Get a 	
	Good Credit Score	54
Myth 6: You Have to Pay Interest to Have a Good 
Credit Score	55
Myth 7: Adding a 100-Word Statement to Your File 
Can Help Your Score If You Have an Unresolved 
Dispute with a Lender	56
Myth 8: Your Closed Accounts Should Read ?Closed 
By Consumer,? Or They Will Hurt Your Score	57
Myth 9: Credit Counseling Is Worse Than 	
	Bankruptcy	57
Myth 10: Bankruptcy Hurts Your Score So Much 	
	That It?s Impossible to Get Credit	58
5	Coping with a Credit Crisis	61
Step 1: Figure Out How to Free Up Some Cash	64
Step 2: Evaluating Your Options	67
Task 1: Prioritize Your Bills	67
Task 2: Match Your Resources to Your Bills and Debts	69
Task 3: Figuring Out a Repayment Plan	70
The Real Scoop on Credit Counseling	72
Should You File for Bankruptcy?	75
The Type of Bankruptcy You File Matters	77
Step 3: Choose Your Path and Take Action	78
Option 1: The Pay-Off Plan	78
Option 2: Credit Counseling	79
Option 3: Bankruptcy	79
6	Rebuilding Your Score After a Credit Disaster	81
Part I: Credit Report Repair	82
Scrutinize Your Report For Serious Errors	83
Know Your Rights	84
Organize Your Attack	86
What You Need to Know About Unpaid Debts and 	Collections	87
What You Need to Know About Statutes of 		Limitations	90
Should You Pay Old Debts?	91
	Paying Old Debts Can Actually Hurt Your 			Credit Score	92
	Just Contacting an Old Creditor Can Leave 			You Vulnerable to a Lawsuit	92
	You?re Often Not Dealing with the Original 			Creditor	93
	You Might Be Exposing Yourself to Some 			Pretty Nasty Characters	93
	?But You?ve Got the Wrong Guy!?	94
Part II: Adding Positive Information to Your File
Try to Get Positive Accounts Reported	95
Borrow Someone Else?s History	96
Get Some Credit or Charge Cards If You Don?t 	 Have Any	96
	Apply for a Secured Card	96
	Get Department Store and Gas Cards	96
	Get an Installment Loan	97
	Consider a Cosigner	97
	Make Sure Your Credit Limits 
	Are Correct	97
Part III: Use Your Credit Well	97
Pay Bills on Time	98
Use the Credit You Have	98
Keep Your Balances Low	98
Pace Yourself	98
Don?t Commit the Biggest Credit Repair Mistakes	99
	Hiring a Fly-by-Night Firm	99
	Failing to Get It All in Writing	99
	Reviving the Statute of Limitations	99
7	Identify Theft and Your Credit	101
How to Reduce Your Exposure to Identity Theft	106
Buy a Shredder	106
Get a Locking Mailbox	107
Protect Your Outgoing Mail	107
Keep Track of Your Receipts	107
Keep Your Financial Documents Under Lock 	 and Key	107
Get Stingy with Your Social Security Number	108
Know What?s in Your Wallet	108
Ask About Shredding Policies	109
Don?t Let Your Debit Card Out of Your Sight	109
Opt Out of Credit Card Solicitations, Junk Mail, and Telemarketing	110
Don?t Use a Cell or Cordless Phone to Discuss 		Financial Matters	110
Be Wary of Telephone Solicitors and Emails	110
Purporting to Be from Financial Institutions	110
Monitor Your Social Security Statements	111
Monitor Your Credit Reports	111
Does Credit Monitoring Work?	111
What to Do If You?re Already a Victim	113
Keep Good Notes of Every Conversation You Have Regarding the ID Theft	113
Contact the Credit Bureaus By Phone and then with a Follow-up in Writing	114
Contact the Creditors By Phone and Then with a Follow-up in Writing	114
Contact the Police or Local Sheriff	114
Contact Bank and Checking Verification Companies	115
Contact the Collection Agencies	115
Get Legal Help	116
Don?t Give Up	116
When Parents Steal	116
What to Do If the Credit Bureau Won?t Budge	118
8	Emergency! Fixing Your Credit Score Fast	121
Repairing Your Credit in a Matter of Hours: Rapid Rescoring	122
Boosting Your Score in 30?60 Days	125
Pay Off Your Credit Cards and Lines of Credit	125
Use Your Credit Cards Extremely Lightly	126
Focus on Correcting the Big Mistakes on Your Credit Reports	126
Use the Bureaus? Online Dispute Process	126
See If You Can Get Your Creditors to Report or 		Update Positive Accounts	127
What Typically Doesn?t Work	127
Disputing Everything in Sight	127
Creating a ?New? Credit Identity	128
Closing Troublesome Accounts	128
Paying Off Collection Accounts	128
9	Insurance and Your Credit Score	129
History of Using Credit Scores to Price Insurance 	Premiums	131
But What?s the Connection?	133
What Goes into an Insurance Score	137
Keeping a Lid on Your Insurance Costs	138
Start Thinking Differently About Insurance	139
Raise Your Deductibles	140
Don?t Make Certain Kinds Of Claims	140
Be a Defensive Driver	142
Use the Right Liability Limits	142
Drop Collision and Comprehensive on Older Cars	143
Shop Around	143
Protect Your Score	144
10	Keeping Your Score Healthy	145
The Do?s of Credit Health	146
Pay Off Your Credit Card Balances	146
Have an Emergency Fund	148
Have Adequate Insurance	150
The Don?ts of Credit Health	151
Don?t Buy More House Than You Can Afford	151
Don?t Overdose on Student Loan Debt	152
Don?t Raid Your Retirement or Your Home Equity 	to Pay Off Credit Cards	153
Credit and Divorce: How Your Ex Can Kill Your Score	154
Get Your Credit Reports	155
Take Action	155
Don?t Be Late	156
Dealing with Mortgages, Car Loans, and Other Secured Debt	156
Consider a Fraud Alert	157
Look for Lenders Who Aren?t FICO-driven	157
In Conclusion: The Three-year Solution	158

Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:

Credit scoring systems -- United States.
Consumer credit -- United States.
Credit ratings -- United States.