Credit Scoring Is Spreading

If you've received a preapproved credit card in the mail or obtained instant credit at Sears, Home Depot, or Best Buy, you've been run through a credit-scoring program. That's why the store could quickly decide with only slight information from you (social security number, name, address). Even insurance companies (especially auto) now turn to credit scores to decide whether to insure you and, if so, at what price. Employers, too, have started running credit scores on job applicants and, in some cases, current employees.

You must do all you can to bolster your score. And if your score now shines platinum keep it there. In the United States of tomorrow, Mensa will become old hat. It's far more prestigious and practical to get invited into the FICO 800 club. (Fair, Isaac and Company—FICO—is the leading supplier of credit scoring software programs.)

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