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Credit Rating
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My mortgage lender offered a deal for me to get a two-year subscription free from a credit reporting agency. They said it was a premium for being such a good customer.

I thought, "Well, it's free. Why not?"

So I entered all my information into the appropriate boxes and there it was, in all its confusing mess.

But the summary page was clear and concise. All my years of effort to repair my credit history after my husband's disastrous "management" of our finances has paid off with an "Excellent" rating.

He used to think (and still does) that paying your bills slightly late each months shows the credit company that you are working hard to make it and that you're a creditworthy consumer. Baloney. All it does it make them mark you as a "Slow Pay" or a "Late Pay" and slap you with a 29% APR, not only on that particular account, but on all the credit holders who subscribe to the same reporting service.

The shadow of the Puritans, who said that your spiritual worth and your virtue could be measured by your financial and social success was not my concern. I have just been looking for lower interest rates (it took forever to get them back down to a reasonable level) and good enough credit that I could purchase a car in the future, hassle-free. Maybe. If I needed one. Or not.

But in any case, to have the money people out of my hair. I had my experiences as a young woman starting out with bill collectors and repossessed automobiles and wondering where the rent money was coming from. Never again, thank you.

One very interesting section of the report lay in the paragraph that described, in very general terms, what factors underlie one's credit rating, besides paying your statements on time: Having substantial balances on cards and paying them more than the minimum each month. Not canceling cards with zero balances. Not having too much credit available (they didn't say how much was too much, but the idea is that you won't suddenly charge so much that you couldn't make the monthly payments).

Needless to say, my husband no longer controls our finances; I do.

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