(Photo by Adam Carr)
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a number based on your credit history. A high credit score means you have good credit; a low credit score means you have bad credit. Low scores are about 300, while high scores are around 700-850.
Do I need to get my credit score?
A credit score is a number that matches your credit history. If you know your history is good, your score will be good.
It costs money to find out your credit score. Sometimes a company might say the score is free, but if you look closely, you might find that you signed up for a service that checks your credit for you. Those services charge you every month.
Before you spend money to get your credit, ask yourself if it’s worth paying for?
What is a credit history?
Your credit history describes how you use money:
- How many credit cards do you have?
- How many loans do you have?
- Do you pay your bills on time?
If you have a credit card or a loan from a bank, you have a credit history. Companies collect information about your loans and credit cards. Companies also collect information about how you pay your bills. They put this information in your credit report.
What is a credit report?
Your credit report is
a summary of your credit history. It lists:
- Your name, address, and Social Security number
- Your credit cards
- Your loans
- How much money you owe
- If you pay your bills on time or late
Who makes my credit report?
Credit reporting companies collect your information and write a report about you. The three big credit reporting companies are:
Can I see my credit report?
You can get a free copy of your credit report every year from each of the three companies that write your reports. You can get your free credit reports by calling Annual Credit Report at 1-877-322-8228 or going to AnnualCreditReport.com .
What if I do not have credit?
You might not have a credit history if:
- You have not had credit card
- You have not gotten a loan from a bank or credit union
Without a credit history, it can be harder to get a job, an apartment, or even a credit card.
How do I get credit?
If you want to build your credit history you will need to pay bills that are included in a credit report.
- Sometimes, utility companies put information into a credit report. If you have utility bills in your name that can help build credit.
- Many credit card companies put information into credit reports.