7 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score in 2013

Now, many consider the credit report and its spawn (there are currently between 80 and 100 scoring models) as an indication of a person's money management skills. I'm not so sure. So much mayhem can happen beyond our knowledge or control: Universal downsizing leading to unfair lay-offs in a lousy economy (sound familiar?), the sudden death of a breadwinner, an unexpected illness leading to gargantuan medical bills that sit on our shoulders like unwanted pigeons on a statue.

Rather than viewing a credit profile as manifestation of one's ability to manage money, I prefer to think of it as a self-awareness tool, and self-awareness is an attractive quality. So how self-aware are you when it comes to your credit? Ask yourself these seven questions:

  • Do you check your credit reports for free annually at www.annualcreditreport.com?
  • Do you monitor your credit throughout the year using a free service, like the Credit Report Card at Credit.com?
  • Are you enrolled in a program offered by credit reporting agencies and resellers to monitor your credit and public records for any sign of identity theft?
  • Do you engage in a personal monitoring culture where you review your bank and credit card accounts on a daily basis (Come on now, you look at your email and Facebook pages countless times a day, don't you?) to ensure that all transactions are yours and not those of someone who has conveniently "borrowed" your information?
  • Have you enrolled in bank and credit union notification programs that alert you when transactions above a certain threshold are occurring in your accounts?
  • When you discover inaccurate or incomplete transactions in your credit reports or improper transactions in your accounts, do you notify the appropriate institution to make changes to eliminate the negative information, or close the compromised accounts?
  • When you discover that negative, yet correct, information exists in your credit files, do you develop and implement a plan to minimize the damage? And can you compellingly explain what went wrong, why, and what you are doing to rectify the situation?
  • A wise mate is less concerned about the particulars of your credit portfolio and more concerned with your level of self-awareness. If a partner doesn't care enough to protect his or her financial life and won't stand up for him or herself, how can they be counted upon? Isn't that one of the pillars of any relationship: That this person whom I love, and who hopefully loves me, will have my back forever?

    It was only matter of time that credit would creep into our social lives, and now it's here. Fight it or embrace it. In all things romantic, I have learned there is little upside to fighting.


    More from Credit.com:

    Adam Levin is chairman and cofounder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.

    This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

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