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BAP1964

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I have one card, no debt, 100% on-time payments. Yet I get a "B". I want a better score
I have paid off two houses and two cars. I have one Discover card that I pay every month and have money in the bank. I have 100% on time bills paid....why do I only get a B? I think I should have a better score.

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A lot of us are in the same boat! If you really want the best possible credit, you have to keep one thing in mind: a good credit score isn't about being prudent with money; it's about looking like a profitable customer.

That's what scoring measures.

So what does a profitable customer look like? Well, he (or she) has a large number of credit lines (the best scorers have over 20), some open, some closed. Those are of various types: mortgages, credit cards, gas cards, personal loans, etc. And open accounts are actively used.

The most profitable customer does not zero out his credit cards every month but routinely carries a balance between 5 and 7 percent. After all, zeros aren't profitable!

Bottom line: To get the best score you have to be reliable with money. But you also have to actively have and use quite a bit of debt. That may mean trading off real-world values (being debt free) with values that make you more appealing to banks. Sorry. It's a PITA. But it's also the stark reality of the credit world.

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