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Credit plays a critical part in nearly everyone's life, but understanding what credit is and how it works can be a challenge. A great way to understand the role credit plays in your life ? and to empower yourself as a consumer ?is with a basic knowledge of two credit fundamentals: Credit Scores and Credit Reports.
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Your credit score is a number based on the information in your credit file that shows how likely you are to pay a loan back on time ? the higher your score, the less risk you represent. The credit score that lenders use is called a FICO? score. Your FICO score helps a lender determine whether you qualify for a loan and what interest rate you'll pay.
What's in Your Score
Knowing what information a FICO score considers is the first step in understanding how to improve your credit health and build a better score.
What's Not in Your Score
Your credit file contains information that does not reflect on your creditworthiness - such as race or income - which is ignored by the FICO score.
How Scoring Helps You
FICO scores provide a fast, objective measurement of your credit risk, which has a number of benefits for you.
Improving Your Score
By understanding what lenders view as good credit management, you can build a strong credit history, improve your score and qualify for better loan terms.
Facts & Fallacies
Learn the facts behind the common misconceptions about credit scoring.
Your credit report shows the information you have on file at one or all of the three major credit reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Each of these reporting agencies (also known as credit bureaus) maintain their information separately, so the data you have on file may differ between them.
What's In Your Report
Your credit report contains a variety of personal data. Some of this information, but not all, is used when making lending decisions.
How Mistakes are Made
Mistakes happen ? and they can affect your ability to obtain credit. By learning the most common mistakes, you'll know what to look for when you review your credit report.
Checking Your Report
You should review your credit report from each credit reporting agency at least once a year and especially before making a large purchase, such as a house or car.
Average Credit Statistics
Fair Isaac recently surveyed the panorama of credit activity across the US by analyzing a large sample of people who recently obtained new credit.
Find out what credit inquiries are, how they may or may not affect your FICO? score, and much more.