A poor credit score can mean paying a higher interest rate on a car loan or mortgage. It can also mean losing out on a job application where other candidates have their finances in better order. After all, what boss wants you to bring your money problems to the office? Get three credit cards one MasterCard or Visa, one gas card and one department store card. Use each of them a few times a year, but never charge more than a third of your credit limit. Pay in full every month, and don't be late with those or any other bills. Check your credit report at least once a year with at least one of the Big Three credit monitors TransUnion, Experian and Equifax and correct any errors promptly. For help getting started, go to www.annualcreditreport.com.