What Is Credit?

What is credit?

Credit is an important financial tool that allows you to get something now based on the trust that payment will be made in the future. When you apply for loans, credit cards, or an apartment rental, businesses are interested in your credit history. They use this information to decide whether to lend to you and how much to charge you to borrow money.

To learn more about credit reports and credit scores, visit CFPB Credit Reports and Scores

What is a credit report?

A credit report is a summary of how you have paid bills in the past. This information is collected by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) also called credit bureaus. The best-known CRAs are Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Learn more about credit reporting agencies here.

How can I get a copy of my credit report?

By law, you have the right to receive a copy of your credit report from each credit reporting agency at least once every 12 months. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, credit reports can be accessed weekly through April 2022.  Learn more here.

What is a credit score?

Credit scores are calculated based on information from your credit report. If your credit report shows that you have always made payments on time, you will have a higher score. If you have accounts that are past-due or in collection, your score will be lower. If you haven’t used credit recently or ever before, you might not have a score at all.

What makes up my credit score?

There are many credit scores created by different companies and for different types of lending. Most credit scores range from 300-850.

Many factors impact your credit score including payment history, amount of debt, length of credit history, and mix of credit types.

Learn more about credit scores here.

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