So I've been operating under the assumption that because I'm debt-free and pay off my credit card on time (and in full) every month, that my credit score would put me in first place if I ever wanted more credit. Not anymore, I've learned. In this ailing economy, lenders aren't just relying on your credit score anymore to determine your credit-worthiness. Creditors are also on the prowl for any personal information that classifies you as a "high risk" borrower, like whether you live in an area hit unusually hard by the mortgage crisis or if you hold a job in finance. It's no surprise that banks are getting stricter about their lending practices, but these tactics don't just affect those who frequently "forget" to pay—it's hurting people like me with squeaky-clean records. That hardly seems fair.

Trying to open a new credit card? Are you finding it harder than before? Was your credit limit slashed in half? Share your story. We feel your pain.

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