Protect Credit Score .

Sherelle Villacorta knew she had to get her credit score “under control” before graduating from college if she wanted to avoid problems signing an apartment lease or getting a loan.

“I want to be able to get a car some day,” says Ms. Villacorta, a financial analyst in Long Beach, Calif. “I want to get it on my own and not need to get help from my parents.”


Ms. Villacorta cut back on her spending in order to pay down her credit-card debt faster. Now, six months later and debt-free, the 23-year-old pays any balance in full each month. And her credit score from credit-reporting company TransUnion has gone from an average 697 to an excellent 758.

Ms. Villacorta is one of many twentysomethings learning the importance of a credit score, a number used by lenders to help determine if you qualify for a credit card, mortgage and other loans. A credit score also is used when you apply for an apartment lease and even for some jobs.

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