Applying for multiple credit lines at one time can hurt credit scores

The economic downturn has caused many Americans to pay closer attention to their credit reports and scores. In order to improve their finances, a number of consumers have focused on making timely payments and paying down their debt.

"You pay the biggest price for not paying on time and having the biggest credit balances," David Anderson, an investment adviser, told California news provider KGET.

In addition to more responsible credit card use, consumers may benefit from not opening too many lines of credit at one time. Whenever a person applies for a new credit card, a hard inquiry shows up on their credit report and their credit score takes a small hit. This is because credit reporting agencies view multiple applications for credit in a short amount of time to signify a person as being overly dependent on credit – and thus, more of a risk.

Individuals who are working on building strong credit should also check to make sure all the information on their credit records has been fairly and accurately reported. Identifying any questionable or problematic items may enable a consumer to challenge them and potentially have them removed from their reports. Recognizing unfair marks can sometimes be challenging, which is why some consumers may benefit from working with a credit lawyer during the process.