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Thank you, this is the most helpful reply.

I already do this, and credit scores have been an issue for me several times already. For example, when renting an apartment, lots of landowners want to see your credit score. It also doesn't take very much effort to use it well, it's mostly a matter of knowing what to do. And in absolute terms it still makes a large difference, even if it is only a second-order term.

How do you optimize your credit score? I am getting my first credit card soon, and I want to do everything right so that in a few years when I might need a loan, everything is really good. I made a mistake by applying to too many cards, so now I have more inquiries than is good. Any other pitfalls to be aware of?