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Interactive: Shop your way to a better credit score

Your score could go up or down depending on what you buy

By Anna Bleker

Shopping and credit cards
Shopping and credit cards

Don't allow a convenience to become a curse. If you frequently purchase with plastic, offers useful tips to help you become a savvier shopper.

Think twice before buying that pawnshop desk lamp on credit.

Credit card issuers increasingly use complicated formulas to analyze their cardholders' purchasing patterns for signs of increased risk. Should you swipe your blank_page credit card at merchants specializing in secondhand and generic items, marriage counseling or activities such as gambling, your credit card issuer tracks those purchases and might assume you're experiencing financial stress. If their formulas predict that you'll miss more payments, the card issuer may react by increasing your interest rate and reducing your credit limit. Those moves ultimately lower your credit score.

The opposite is true as well: Some purchases are seen as those exhibited by a less-risky person, and they can raise a score.

In the interactive below, drag the various items to the shopping cart to see how a real-life purchase of that item might affect your credit score:

See related: What you buy, where you shop may affect your credit, Card issuers watch what you shop for, Am I a lab rat in the credit card industry's psychology experiment?, Chart: Compare some of the best rewards cards, 10 things you must know about credit scores, How to protect your credit during a marriage breakup 

Updated: June 15, 2010

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Credit Card Rate Report

Updated: 09-30-2014

National Average 15.05%
Low Interest 10.37%
Balance Transfer 12.73%
Business 12.80%
Student 13.24%
Cash Back 14.91%
Reward 15.02%
Airline 15.46%
Bad Credit 22.73%
Instant Approval 28.00%