Made a rather nasty discovery when I pulled my annual 3 free credit reports this year. You know about going insurance shopping (for car/home insurance)? Well, they confirm your eligibility over the phone. Turns out going insurance shopping screws up your credit because each company runs an inquiry on you. Same with going credit card shopping. I have done both in the past year. As a result, I have a mess of inquiries on my credit reports. This does not work in my favour. In fact, it cost me 20 points on my FICO score and I had nearly reached my goal of having a 720 (excellent) FICO score. The nut to the story is that one should ask if they are pulling a credit report on you. The only legit inquiries are one request for a line increase and one my insurer ran before renewing my policies. Those are no problem. It's this pile of unauthorized inquiries that is hurting. I've also got "short" credit as I've only had credit cards for 3 years and a car loan for a year. Never had credit cards before and always paid cash for cars (late model used). You can also ask the agencies to block automated soft inquiries that are generated whenever some kind lender sends you a CC or ins. offer. I was getting a LOT of that junk. I don't need more credit cards and am more than capable of doing my own research. I can ask for line increases if I need them and if I am dissatisfied with a card, can apply on my own elsewhere. I don't need to be solicited by mail. I have the limits I can afford. Some of this stuff is stupid, too. Walmart just increased my credit line from 500 to 1100 dollars. Not sure how one can spend that kind of $$ at Wallyworld unless one buys a couple snow blowers, or has mechanical work done. It's one more thing to watch out for and FICO scores affect everything nowadays. WI allows the use of FICO scores by employers and poor credit costs you a lot of opportunities. I have to send the three agencies a letter requesting that I opt out of automated "pulls". I plan to do that this coming week. Also, shred or otherwise destroy those "free" credit offers if you don't plan on taking advantage of them. The "reference/offer" number on them provides enough info if the lenders aren't secure to start the process on you. SHred bank statements also,and unused deposit slips. Those have your routing and account number and make it very easy for the identity theft bandits to drain your account. The Walmart thing amused in a twisted way as all I get there are my prescriptions and groceries. I got the WM card when I was still trying to become established and never got close to my original limit. What makes them think I NEEDED a limit increase? If I were right at the limit and my credit was good enough, I could see them increasing. Discover reviews your file for limit increases and interest rate cuts yearly. Citibank yearly also. Check with your lenders and see what their policy is. I've asked Discover and Visa to only raise my limits on request. Keeps the number of inquiries down. Also, it is now legal in all states for medical bills to be reported. Watch these. A bad medical debt drops off your report in 7 years. It is very common for them to place old debts due to expire with a collection agency. KNOW your debts and when they were incurred. It is illegal for them to try to reopen old debts that have expired, but if you send the collectors so much as a penny, it starts the clock again at zero. Another 7 years of black marks on your record. I know many of you already know this, but I also know that many of you don't use credit for whatever reason, or just started using credit. This is for those people. You get one free report per year. It's a matter of writing to the reporting agencies and requesting it. The three agencies are TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. I have had reports corrected before. There's no fee to do this. You just have to ask for the bureaus to correct the report and provide proof. I just got rid of an erroneous judgement on my transunion report. Someone else with the same name as mine (there are 9 of us in the US) had a medical bill go to judgement, lost the judgement and didn't pay on it at all. The investigation took a week. TransUnion sent me a letter confirming that the entry was in error and sent me a corrected new report. That's another thing. Different lenders use different bureaus. Check all three reports. The judgement only showed up on Transunion. Take control of your credit. Get your reports yearly and any time you've been turned down for credit, insurance, or employment due to information contained on your reports.