PODCAST: There’s No Escaping Your Credit Score (So Make It Count)

Kiplinger’s credit expert, Lisa Gerstner, joins us to talk credit strategy. Also, a number of new electric cars hit the market this year. Will one work for Sandy?

Photo of a smiling woman looking at a computer screen holding a credit card
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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David Muhlbaum: Like it or not, there’s a number, a grade really, that will follow you around most of your life and affect what you pay for a number of things. We’re talking about your credit score here. What is it really? And what can you do about it? We’ll talk to Kiplinger’s credit expert about this number, or maybe it’s numbers. See, it’s complicated. Also, 2022 looks like a promising year for electric cars. All coming up on this episode of Your Money’s Worth. Stick around.

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Welcome to Your Money’s Worth. I’m kiplinger.com Senior Editor David Muhlbaum, joined by my co-host, Senior Editor Sandy Block. How are you doing, Sandy?

Sandy Block: I’m doing good, David, but I just put some more money into repairing my 12-year-old Subaru and I keep thinking, I’ve got to replace this car. And I see you got cornered into writing about electric cars again. So my question is, should I buy a Subaru Solterra, which looks pretty cool. Looks pretty promising. 230 miles of range would get me to West Virginia, although maybe not back.

David Muhlbaum: Oh, yeah. Well, this is the sort of electric vehicle talk that I’m happy to do, discussing the prospect of an electric vehicle with people who are kicking the idea around, like you. It’s the political battles between the true believers and, I don’t know, the EV haters, that I try to stay out of. And that ain’t easy. So what I did in my piece is focus on the vehicles themselves. What are they like? How might they affect the market? And yeah, the Subaru Solterra was one of them, so we can get into that. But before we do, I don’t know, maybe for the sake of our listeners, we should take some of that offline.

Sandy Block: Right. And you mentioned your piece, David. You’re talking about the piece that’s going to be running in our upcoming April issue, correct?

David Muhlbaum: Correct.

Sandy Block: Okay. But even ahead of that, the Super Bowl, you probably didn’t watch it, but I did. Kind of a Bengals, Joe Burrow fan and half the ads were about EVs. The other half were about cryptocurrency. And I think both of them people have strong opinions about.

David Muhlbaum: Yeah. Which one is the future? Maybe both. Maybe neither. No, I do think electric vehicles are the future. The big question is always, are they the now? Anyway, we can get into that. But yeah, there were a lot of ads and the amount of ad spending relative to actual vehicle sales, well, that’s kind of weird. Right?

I mean, let’s remember EV sales were a bit over 2% of total vehicle sales last year in the U.S. Now, that’s forecast to about double this year, but that’s still not much. Oh. And you know who doesn’t advertise, right? Tesla, because they don’t need to. They sell all the EVs they can. Yeah. And in fact, in my piece, it’s the Tesla Model Y, the compact crossover SUV, that a lot of these new entrants, like the one you’re looking at, are gunning for. I mean, it’s the benchmark. Ford and VW already have models aimed at it. The Mach-E and ID.4. But your Subaru? Well, your aspirational Subaru.

Sandy Block: My wishful-

David Muhlbaum: Your wishful Subaru Solterra, along with cars from Toyota, Kia and Hyundai, they’re all trying to match the Model Y with features, but undercut it with price.

Sandy Block: Right. And price is key here. Right, David? Because I remember when the original hybrids came out and people did all these calculations about you pay more but you save on gas, you get a tax credit. There’s all this math involved in what you’re paying and what you’re getting. And is it worth it or should you just wait? I mean, I think a big question I have is should we just wait until there’s more of these cars and the price comes down?

David Muhlbaum: Well, and remember that the car market itself is pretty much crazy cakes right now, which I think will have an effect on these EV-or-not-EV decisions in some cases. And I can get into that. But yeah, those equations, frankly, they haven’t gone away. If your goal is to save money with an electric car, that’s getting easier to do. You still have to run the numbers, but it’s getting easier to do for two reasons. One, price of gas is going up. Two, price of electric vehicles is coming down?

Maybe that’s not really the right term. It’s not that they’re coming down necessarily. I think it’s that the gap between EVs and we’ll call them regular cars is in some ways closing and that’s happening in part because of the broad scarcity of vehicles collectively and because these new entrants, for example, that we’re talking about, like your Solterra, they still have that tax credit available from the federal government. It’s worth potentially up to $7,500.

Sandy Block: Right. And that tax credit is confusing because it phases out based, I believe, on the number of cars a particular manufacturer sells.

David Muhlbaum: Right. Which is why Tesla and GM are out. You don’t get-

Sandy Block: No tax credit free out.

David Muhlbaum: No tax credit for those. And when you start looking at the actual listings online about what the MSRP is and does it include the tax credit? Does it not include the tax credit? Some of these listings actually propose a price that includes the potential fuel savings, which is of course nebulous. Anyway, it’s pretty opaque. It takes some open eyes when you go shopping for an EV to know what the playing field is like in terms of the availability of the credit. But, there’s a website for that. I link to it in my story.

The other thing about the credit, which is a weird animal. The other thing about the credit is, we say $7,500 or up to $7,500. It depends in part on what your tax liability is, which to get really arcane, it’s not one of those refundable credits.

Sandy Block: Right.

David Muhlbaum: If you don’t have $7,500 owed in taxes, It’s not like the government’s going to write you a check for the difference.

Sandy Block: Right. Which again, and I remember this with the hybrids. I think it was maybe with the Volt, where they would post the price, including the credit, which is a little misleading because as you said, you may not get the full credit. So I think if there’s anything actionable we want to share it’s that you really have to drill down pretty deep. We didn’t even get into figuring out how you’re going to charge this thing and whether you can charge this thing.

David Muhlbaum: Yeah, especially out in West Virginia.

Sandy Block: Which is a whole other conversation.

David Muhlbaum: Oh God. Yes.

Sandy Block: And range and all this, so it’s very complicated. I think it’s interesting and attractive, and one other thing I wanted to mention in my little five-minute research into Solterra that may benefit EVs is, you can’t just go on a lot and buy a Solterra right now. You have to actually sign up and give them like a $250 or refundable deposit just to look. But, you can’t walk onto a lot and buy any car right now. All cars are scarce. So people are already sort of being programmed to having to wait to get a car. So maybe they’ll think, well, if I’m going to have to wait, I might as well check out the EV.

David Muhlbaum: Yeah, I think that’s exactly it. That’s kind of what I was alluding to in how the scarcity may, to some extent – this has become sort of my pet theory – advantage EVs, because the idea of paying money to sit on a list for a car that’s coming down the road is becoming more common. The old model of hey, go to the dealership, kick a few tires, get annoyed by the salesman and buy the car.

Sandy Block: Drive home.

David Muhlbaum: Yeah, no. Kooky car market. We’re going on a lot. Now I could probably go on more, but we’ll talk more about your Solterra later.

David Muhlbaum: Coming up next on Your Money’s Worth, we dig into credit. What a credit score is, what it means to you, how you could change it, with Lisa Gerstner. Stick around

There’s No Escaping Your Credit Score (So Make It Count)

David Muhlbaum: You probably know you have a credit score and let’s hope you have a reasonable idea of what it is. If you’ve been in the market recently for a house, a car, or maybe even a better credit card deal, you probably have a tighter idea of what it is. And maybe you wish it were higher.

Today, we’re going to dig into credit scores and credit reporting, what they mean and what you can do about them. And to help us with this, we’re joined by Lisa Gerstner, who’s been a contributing editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance for quite a few years, been a guest here before and knows this topic cold. Welcome back, Lisa.

Lisa Gerstner: Thanks for having me back.

David Muhlbaum: Well, thank you for joining us today. So, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ran an interesting, frankly kind of alarming, statistic this month about how a good chunk of people who are carrying a credit card balance don’t know what interest rate they’re paying on it. And it was kind of like, yikes. So how about credit scores? I don’t know if that is fair for me to ask you to do a study on the spot, but do you have any sense of whether people generally know their scores?

Lisa Gerstner: I think depending on which study you look at, it can be something between about 40% to 60% of people don’t know their score. So I mean, that’s a pretty significant chunk. You’re talking roughly half of people don’t know what it is. So, I think there’s a lack of information out there about it, unfortunately.

Sandy Block: So David goes right to the market research shaming hypotheticals, and I’m going to try to be more helpful. Lisa, can you give us like a one or two line explanation of exactly what a credit score is and then maybe a brief history of how we got there, a nutshell history of credit scoring as a thing we all should care about. Fair, Isaac to start.

Lisa Gerstner: Yes. To start, a credit score, it’s a three-digit number that expresses how risky you are to a lender in terms of your credit worthiness. It’s calculated from your credit history, all this information that’s collected about you on your credit reports, and basically the higher that score is the better.

Lisa Gerstner: When it comes to the history of the score, there’s a couple major companies that create these scores. FICO is the big one. The creator of that is Fair, Isaac. They’ve been around for quite a while and your FICO score is the credit score that’s going to be most commonly used by lenders.

Lisa Gerstner: The other major company out there is VantageScore and VantageScore was actually created by the three major credit bureaus, which are Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. So that’s kind of a competing score to FICO. I believe it’s still not quite as prominent in terms of usage by lenders, but it is out there. Some lenders do use it. It’s also pretty commonly the one you find on free credit score websites.

So that’s the basics, two major companies that do it. When it comes to the scores themselves, they both typically operate on a scale of 300 to 850, kind of at that most basic level. There’s a ton of different ways they do it and we’ll get more into that later. For those purposes, it’s usually that scale. I think the bottom line is there are a lot of scores out there and most likely you’re not going to know exactly what version of a score a lender is going to look at, but as long as you’re practicing good credit habits and the scores that you are looking at are on the higher end, you’re in pretty good shape.

David Muhlbaum: Yeah. I heard about Fair, Isaac before I realized there was a comma in the name. You know, Fair Isaac, he’ll make a reasonable judgment whether you get a loan, because he’s fair.

Sandy Block: Uh-uh. No. No dad jokes.

David Muhlbaum: I’m a dad! So since you’re bringing my dad status into here, you know, I like to bounce stuff off my kids for perspective. And so I quizzed my younger daughter a bit about, what is a credit score? Basically the question we just asked Lisa, and she actually had a pretty good idea. Now this is a 17-year-old with no credit card and thankfully, no debt. So I was like, was that your economics class last year? And she was like, no, I got it on YouTube. My hackles went up a little bit, but no, she’d been watching this guy named Matt D’Avella. He’s a documentary filmmaker who also makes short-form stuff about self-help, minimalism, life skills. I mean, I didn’t end up watching it, but what she learned from him was spot on. It was kind of interesting.

Lisa Gerstner: Yeah, that’s great that someone that young knows, because this got me thinking about my first credit card, which I believe I got right out of high school, starting in college. And I think I knew, don’t pay my bill late. As far as I recall, I always paid my bill on time, but that’s about all I knew. I’m not sure I even knew what a credit score was at that point. So, I’ve come a long since then. And I didn’t have YouTube way, way back in the early 2000s, late ’90s, to learn about all this.

Sandy Block: Well, and I think the other problem is that a lot of people don’t become aware of their credit score until they need it, like they want a car loan or a house loan. And that’s kind of too late because you want to know how your credit score works and what you need to do to bring it up before lenders start looking at it. And I think what actually complicates things even more is that Fair, Isaac is now FICO, which isn’t as much fun for David, but it’s one of many names of companies involved in credit scores and credit reporting, which can get confusing. And sometimes I wonder if that’s deliberate because not all these companies are putting the borrower’s best interest first. I guess what I’m getting at is there are plenty of places that will happily charge you to get your credit score, but you don’t have to pay. Right, Lisa?

Lisa Gerstner: That’s right. There are a ton of free places now to get your free credit score. I think, since I’ve been covering this or the past decade or so, it’s just exploded. But to narrow it down for you, I think there are a couple of good websites you can use that cover the three different bureaus and the scores that you would get from those. One of them is called freecreditscore.com. That one is from Experian, and you can look at your FICO score from Experian there, as well as your credit reports. The other website that I like to use is Credit Karma. They cover TransUnion and Equifax with, I believe, your VantageScore credit scores from those two bureaus, as well as your credit reports. So those are kind of two easy places. If you want to get your bases covered, you can do it that way.

Also, your credit card issuer or your bank might offer a free score. Sometimes they have programs where every month say, you’ll be able to see a refreshed credit score based on the score that they are using to judge you because they do occasionally look back and say, okay, is this person still credit worthy for us? So those are some, some great free places. You typically don’t need to pay for your score.

I’ve heard in some cases, maybe if you’re getting a mortgage and you want to see the particular FICO score that a mortgage lender may or may not even be looking at, FICO does sell some of those, but personally, I’ve had three different mortgages now with my moving around and I’ve never had to do that. I just had a pretty good idea. Okay. I know my score is high because of these free websites I’ve been using and then that’s always worked out okay.

David Muhlbaum: You know, that kind of harks back to one of the things that Sandy mentioned about how some people don’t really encounter their credit score until they are buying something big. And probably the way it works is that people who haven’t had to really care about it that much are probably inherently going to have a good score because they’ve had a good credit record. On the other hand, maybe not always. Could you have a situation where if you don’t use credit a lot, then it would hurt you when it does come time for the big buy?

Lisa Gerstner: Yes, that can be a big problem, and I think that’s a good reason to get started as early as you can on using credit. Of course, you want to do that responsibly, but as a young person, once you’re able to say, maybe get your first credit card, it’s a good idea to do that. You know, you can often maybe try to go to your bank that already knows you a little bit, or maybe you can get a secured credit card, just to get started and get that credit history started. Because, say 10 years later, if you want to get a mortgage and you’ve never applied for anything before and you realize, oh, I have no credit history, they have nothing to judge me on, that can be a problem. So we do recommend to build that credit as early as you can, baby steps, and eventually that can pay off for you later.

Sandy Block: Following up on that, Lisa, talking about things that are potentially confusing or mysterious, I think a lot of people don’t know what actually goes into their credit score and to make things worse, talking about companies that aren’t always looking out for your best interest, when I listen to local news radio, I often hear all these ads for places that say they will fix your credit score or repair your credit score, or there’s some magic to it. But I think, as I understand it correctly, the basics of building and keeping a good credit score aren’t all that complicated. Right, Lisa?

Lisa Gerstner: No, they’re really not. There are a few main things you can do to boost your score or to keep it high once you get it up there. The number one always is pay your bills on time, all of your bills, whether it’s your credit cards or loans or utilities, your rent, anything.

David Muhlbaum: They’re not complicated, but they might be hard.

Lisa Gerstner: Yes, exactly. Because that does account for the biggest portion of your credit score. Payment history, that’s number one. So always make sure those bills are paid on time to the best of your ability. Even one late payment can really bring that score down. So that’s important.

The second one is just to try to keep your credit balances fairly low relative to your credit card limit. So we’re talking particularly about credit cards here, because another component of your credit score that’s fairly significant is something known as your credit utilization ratio. So, what the credit scoring companies do here is they take your credit card balance and they divide it by the card limit to come up with a percentage. Say you have a $2,000 balance on your credit card and your card limit is $10,000. Your utilization ratio is 20%. And they do calculate that both on your individual credit cards and in the aggregate across all of your card accounts. So be thinking about that. When you’re using your cards, try not to let the balances get maxed out, not too high, because they don’t like that. Basically, the lower that ratio is the better.

David Muhlbaum: Okay. That’s where I thought you were going to say a magic number, because this is one of the things I was always wondering. Is there really a magic number? And lower is better, higher is bad? What is it? I’ve heard 30%.

Lisa Gerstner: Yeah, the common advice is try to keep it below about 20% to 30%. On the main credit card I use, I actually have a notification comment on my text message where if I’m getting above 20%, I try to think, okay, I should probably keep that down. But that’s the baseline. What I’ve always been told about this directly from the credit scoring companies is the lower that is, the better when it comes to that ratio.

David Muhlbaum: Okay. Now I’m going to ask a real detailed follow up question with personal interest. This question of utilization of your credit availability applies even if you’re the sort of person who likes to run your card to rack up rewards or that sort of thing, and you pay every month. That doesn’t solve it, right?

Lisa Gerstner: Right.

David Muhlbaum: You could still be above that magic 20% to 30% even if you’re paying your credit card and not using a revolving debt.

Lisa Gerstner: That’s right, because it’s kind of a snapshot. So when your credit card lender sends this information to you, the credit bureaus for your credit report, it’s just a snapshot in time. At this time, your balance is 60% of your credit limit. So, that’s where that ratio is going to come in. Even if you pay off the bill and a couple weeks later, it’s down to zero. You don’t necessarily know when that’s going to get sent in, so it’s good to just keep it low all the time if you’re really concerned about keeping that credit score up.

David Muhlbaum: And another question that I think will possibly help, not just me, but the listeners at large.

Sandy Block: Other people in your house?

David Muhlbaum: No. All you good people. If you’re in that situation of pushing up against a balance that you can afford to pay off at the month, you should be also in a situation where you could call or contact your credit card issuer and say, make my limit higher, please, because you’re a proven good risk.

Lisa Gerstner: Yes. That is absolutely an option. If you’ve been a good customer, maybe if your income has gone up... I know sometimes when I log into my credit card account, they’ll ask me, oh, what’s your current income? And they take that into account too when they decide your credit limit, so that could help you get a higher limit. But it certainly never hurts to ask. And especially knowing, during the pandemic, when the recession was happening and there were lots of bad things going on in the economy, a lot of card issuers were pulling back and actually lowering people’s limits. I got one of those notifications myself even though I don’t think I changed anything about my credit habits with that card. So this is a great time to review that too.

Sandy Block: Well, and the other thing, Lisa, I think we’ve advised readers is sometimes people think, well, I never use this credit card and I don’t want to be tempted to use it so I’m going to close it. But that could actually hurt you because that reduces the amount of available credit you have and thus your ratio changes. Is that right?

Lisa Gerstner: That’s right. So sometimes it’s a good idea just to keep a card open, even if you’re not using it anymore, just to benefit from that credit limit. Now, if it’s a case where you’re paying an annual fee and you don’t think it’s worthwhile anymore, it’s probably not worth keeping it open for that reason. Or if you’re just having a hard time managing your spending because you have this credit card tempting you to spend, well, then you probably shouldn’t keep it open, but if it’s just going to sit there in a drawer, not hurting anything, it’s often a good idea to just keep the account open.

David Muhlbaum: I thought you were supposed to freeze it in water and put it in the back of your freezer.

Sandy Block: That’s a strategy. It works. Yeah. I think another thing-

David Muhlbaum: That’s a credit freeze. No, it’s not a credit freeze. We want to talk about credit freezes, but not like that. Sorry. Move on.

Sandy Block: Lisa, the one other thing that I think can ding your score that people may not realize is applying for a lot of credit at the same time. Not necessarily when you’re buying a house, because I think they make exceptions for that, but if there’s still a mall open around you and you go there and you’re getting 10% off for opening a retail credit card. If you do that a lot, can’t that ding your score a bit?

Lisa Gerstner: Yes. So particularly when it comes to credit cards, as you mentioned, that can be a problem. If you apply for several credit cards in a short time, that creates several hard inquiries on your credit report is what they call it. There’s also soft inquiries, which don’t really hurt you. But these hard inquiries can. When they see a lot of those, that indicates risk. The lenders are thinking, okay, this person seems a little desperate for credit. Are they actually going to be able to pay off their bills if we take them on? So that’s why that’s a problem. If you’re going to apply for a credit card, one at a time, space them out a little bit, make sure you leave at least a few months if not more in between card applications.

As you mentioned, Sandy, it’s a little different when it comes to other types of credit. So when you’re looking for a mortgage or a student loan or an auto loan, they don’t want to discourage you from rate shopping and trying to get the best rate that you can. So I know at least with FICO scores, any hard inquiries for those types of loans that are made within 30 days of each other don’t affect your score. And if it’s, I think, something like 45 days with the latest scoring models, if they see similar inquiries, it counts as one. So you don’t have to worry about it so much with that kind of shopping, but credit cards, take it easy.

Sandy Block: So Lisa, as I understand it, your credit score is based on information in your credit report. So could you talk a little bit about what you should be looking for in your credit report that could affect your score and how you can get your credit reports?

Lisa Gerstner: Yes. So your credit and report, it’s basically a list of all the various credit accounts that you have. Mostly, it’s going to be credit cards and loans and detail on how you manage those accounts. So for each one you’re going to see information about your payment history, whether you made those payments on time, the credit line that’s available, your balance due. All of this stuff is being reported again to those three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. They also include any inquiries. I was mentioning those hard inquiries that can show up on your report. Accounts that have gone to collection unpaid. This is all kind of what shows up there.

When it comes to looking at your credit reports, there’s a resource called annualcreditreport.com. And that’s the place where you can get credit reports from each major bureau. Typically, you can only do that once a year, hence annualcreditreport.com, but because of the pandemic they’ve made those reports available weekly. And the plan right now, I believe, is that they’re going to be doing that through the rest of 2022. So you have a great opportunity. For the rest of this year, you can check your reports more frequently. You don’t have to wait just once a year to do that.

When it comes to the reason why you should check your credit reports, there’s a couple things. One is that unfortunately the bureaus are notorious for letting errors slip into credit reports. If you have a similar name to someone else, sometimes they will mix that information up and you may have information coming onto your report from someone who is not you, so you need to make sure that’s not happening. Or perhaps one of your lenders that you do use is reporting something mistakenly, maybe the balance is wrong, or they’re saying that you paid something late when you did not. So those are things you need to look out for.

Lisa Gerstner: Another big point here is fraud. You know, unfortunately data breaches just keep going up and up and up. I think 2021 was another record breaking year in terms of data breaches. So when criminals get ahold of that credit information, sometimes they can actually open accounts in your name. You won’t know that necessarily, unless you go in your credit report and check for any unfamiliar accounts that you don’t know about. Or that could even appear as maybe a debt collection account from a utility, an account that was opened in your name. So basically just get those reports, go through, make sure everything looks okay. These are all accounts that you own. That the information is correct on those. If you do find something wrong, there are processes that you can go through to get that corrected. You can contact the lender in question. You should also contact the credit bureaus and get all of that rectified.

David Muhlbaum: Is there any sort of organization that is an advocate for consumers in those fights or disputes, other than the consumer themself or potentially their lawyer?

Lisa Gerstner: Yeah. Typically, this is something you can do yourself. It can be difficult. I have written entire feature stories about this, because unfortunately it can be a challenge sometimes when your credit is mixed up with someone else, especially. But our advice is usually you can do it yourself. We have information on our website about how you can do that, articles that we’ve written. If it gets really bad at the end and you think you’re in the right, but you can’t get them to correct a problem, you can bring legal expertise into this. Another avenue you can take is to go to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They have a complaint database where you can go in and pick the name of the company that you’re having trouble with. If you’re having trouble with all three credit bureaus, you can file complaints about them. And the CFPB will actually look into that, get back with you in a couple weeks, and then try to resolve the problem. That’s another route you can go.

David Muhlbaum: You know, one of the things I mentioned in my intro is about how the credit report kind of follows you around your whole life. Presumably if you’re doing things right, you can get to a point where it just doesn’t matter that much, right? That you’re heading into retirement, you have assets, you’ve paid down your mortgage. You can move on?

Lisa Gerstner: Well, I think it’s still important just to keep those basics in mind. You don’t want to let your credit score tank just in case maybe you have some unexpected need for credit in the future. I mean, I think there is a case that a lot of retirees think they probably won’t need it, but maybe you’ll want a credit card at some point to rack up lots of great points or something like that. So, I wouldn’t say ignore it. You may not need to wear worry about it quite as much once you get to that point, but I would still keep those basic habits in mind just to keep your score at a decent place.

Sandy Block: Yeah. Because you know, David, you still might want to refinance your mortgage. Older people buy cars. I mean, actually, to Lisa’s earlier point about how young people have a hard time getting credit, sometimes that happens to older people too, because they stop borrowing. They don’t have a credit card and then they decide they want to take out a loan and they have a thin file even though maybe they’re very well off. So I think it’s important to everybody.

David Muhlbaum: Well, yeah, that’s an interesting point. In part, there’s a mentality that it’s both sort of an old-fashioned don’t borrow, save your money, buy cash kind of approach that you’ve heard from Kiplinger over the years. And I think we’ve also heard this concept among a younger generation of avoiding debt, buying with cash, that sort of thing. We’ve talked about how there is a potential downside to that, how you can, by not being part of the credit ecosystem when you ultimately need it, get burned.

Lisa Gerstner: Yes. And I think that goes back to that point of just building some credit early. Even if you don’t necessarily think you’re going to need it down the road, you might be surprised what happens later on in your life. So I think it’s wise to at least maybe just have that one credit card that you use, keep a low balance, put a couple things on it every month just to keep that baseline amount of credit for you.

Sandy Block: Yeah, because just try renting a car without a credit card. It just doesn’t happen.

Lisa Gerstner: Yes.

David Muhlbaum: Exactly. Exactly. Well, maybe someday we’ll revive our credit versus debit smack down piece, even though we don’t have Robert Long anymore.

Lisa Gerstner: In a few years.

Sandy Block: He’s out there using his debit card somewhere.

David Muhlbaum: Right, or maybe it’s Apple Pay and Venmo now. I don’t know. Yeah, payment apps. We’re going to come back to payment apps, totally, in our future. But thank you very much for taking us through credit today, Lisa. We appreciate your time and everyone, go download your reports.

Lisa Gerstner: Thanks for having me.

David Muhlbaum: That will just about do it for this episode of Your Money’s Worth. If you like what you heard, please sign up for more at Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your content. When you do, please give us a rating and a review. And if you’ve already subscribed, thanks, please go back and add a rating or review if you haven’t already.

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Sandra Block
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Block joined Kiplinger in June 2012 from USA Today, where she was a reporter and personal finance columnist for more than 15 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Akron Beacon-Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. In 1993, she was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in economics and business journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has a BA in communications from Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va.