Credit Scores & Credit Monitoring

Knowing how credit scores work, how to monitor them, and how to improve them is an important part of your financial well-being.

Understanding and monitoring your credit scores

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How Credit Scores Work and What They Say About You
Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do you get a good credit score?

    Credit-scoring models tend to weigh your payment history and utilization ratio most heavily when calculating your credit score. So, making on-time payments every month and keeping your credit-card balances low are two key factors in raising your credit scores.

  • Why do credit scores matter?

    Lenders use credit scores to approve you for financial products like home loans, auto loans, personal loans, and credit cards. In general, the higher your credit score, the better terms you'll get for your loan or credit card: lower interest rates, bigger loan amounts or credit limits, and, in the case of credit cards, more lucrative rewards.

  • What kind of information is on your credit report?

    Credit reports include all the accounts that lenders have reported to a credit bureau, the length of time those accounts have been or were open, your payment history, and your account balance. They include information about the lender, as well, including name and contact information.

  • Why do you have different credit scores?

    Credit bureaus use a variety of scoring models to calculate credit scores. Some of those models are designed for the housing industry, while others are tailored to the auto industry. Each one includes certain metrics and nuances that help lenders make decisions about loan and credit applications.

  • What kinds of things hurt my credit score?

    The most common factors that can hurt your credit scores are late payments and high credit-card balances relative to your credit limits. Credit-scoring models tend to penalize your score more heavily the later you are on a payment, too ("delinquency"). For example, being 90 days late is significantly more damaging to your score than being 30 days late.

Key Terms

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