Bev O'Shea is a former NerdWallet authority on consumer credit, scams and identity theft. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Auburn University and a master's in education from Georgia State University. Before coming to NerdWallet, she worked for daily newspapers, MSN Money and Credit.com. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, MarketWatch, USA Today, MSN Money and elsewhere. Twitter: @BeverlyOShea.
The latest from Bev
Identity Theft Protection You May Not Know You Already Have
You may have it as a benefit — and some insurers offer free or low-cost coverage.
FICO 10 and 10T: How to Make Your Credit Shine
FICO's newest models put more weight on changes in debt level, including "trended data" over the past 24 months.
Does Paying Bills Build Your Credit?
Payments that don't go on your credit reports can't help your credit — but failing to pay may hurt it.
Is My Credit Frozen? What to Do If You’re Not Sure
A freeze will block approval of a new loan or credit card. Here's how to find out whether you have one in place.
5 Tips for Lowering Your Credit Utilization
You can track spending, seek higher limits and set up balance alerts. The key: Use a small portion of your credit.
How to Build Credit
Get started as an authorized user, or with a credit-builder loan or secured credit card.
How to Improve Credit Fast
You could add up to 100 points with tips like paying cards more than once a month and fixing credit report errors.
Did You Request Free Monitoring in the Equifax Settlement? Check Your Email
Claims for free credit monitoring are being processed now, but those who requested cash are still waiting.
How to Get Your Free Credit Reports From the Major Credit Bureaus
Use AnnualCreditReport.com to request your credit reports — you have free weekly access through the end of 2023.
How to Protect Yourself After a Data Breach
Data breaches exposing consumers' sensitive personal information are a fact of life, but you can take steps to protect yourself and your credit.