Consumers putting auto loans ahead of credit cards, mortgages

In the months following the recent recession, many consumers prioritized their credit card payments over their monthly mortgage bills, but now new data has emerged to show that consumers aren't even paying their balances down first.

Based on what they're paying down first, it seems that consumers are most concerned with making sure their auto loan payments are made on time and in full every month, according to new data from the credit bureau TransUnion. In 2011, just 9.5 percent of consumers were delinquent on auto loans while current on their credit cards and mortgages.

That compares with 17.3 percent who were delinquent on their credit cards but current on their auto and home loans, and 39.1 percent who were late with their mortgage bills were up to date with their auto loan and credit cards, the report said.

Missing payments of any kind will be damaging to a consumer's credit standing, but that is also true of not checking credit reports. That's because these documents sometimes contain unfair markings that can take a bite out of their credit score. Working with a credit repair company can help to clear up these problems.