Credit is basically your
ability to obtain goods or services before paying for them. Your “credit worthiness”
is based on your credit score.
What is a
A three-digit number (usually between 300–850)
that represents your “creditworthiness,” or how likely you are to pay your bills on
time. Credit scores can influence if you will be approved for credit cards and
consumer loans like auto loans and mortgages.
They can also influence the amount of interest
you will pay on those loans. The higher your score, the better your credit — meaning
you’ll pay lower interest rates.
Your credit score is impacted when you pay on
time or late. You can always increase your credit score by making regularly
scheduled payments on things like credit cards and loans. You can also help boost
your score by having a good debt-to-income ratio. Generally, having debt that equals
less than 35% of your annual income is considered positive.
How can I
get my credit score?
You can get it from a:
Credit card or other loan statement, or when you log in to your online account
Nonprofit credit counseling agency
Credit score service (there could be monthly service fees for these services)
Credit reporting company (Equifax®, Experian®, and Transunion®) or at myfico.com. You
request a free copy of your credit report from each of these three major credit
reporting agencies once each year at annualcreditreport.com
How can I improve my credit score?
Following these steps may help you raise your credit score:
Set up payment reminders on all your loans/bills so you can always pay on time
If you're behind on a payment, get yourself caught up now
Contact your creditors or see a credit counselor
Keep credit card balances low
Pay off debt rather than moving it around
Don't open new credit cards that you don't need
Don't open multiple new accounts at once
Shop for rates on new loans within a focused period of time
Request and check your own credit report frequently