Understanding credit

Start understanding your credit now - you'll be thankful later. You have the power to control and change it and that can go a long way towards bringing you financial freedom.

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Expand What is credit?
Credit is an agreement with a lender that allows you to do transactions immediately on the promise to repay the lender the amount borrowed plus interest at a future date. Home equity loans, car loans and credit cards are just a few examples. When you're ready to buy a home, buy a car or get a credit card, the lender will look at your credit history

credit history

Includes your account types, remaining balances, payment status, collection information and inquiries. Credit bureaus collect and organize information about people who have credit. The information generally goes back seven to ten years. This report includes your name, address, employer, length of employment and previous credit history.

to determine your ability to pay back the loan.
Expand What is the difference between a credit score and a credit report?
A credit score is an objective numerical value that summarizes the detailed information in your credit report. Different aspects of your credit report carry different numerical weights, and a mathematical formula or computation determines your score.  Learn more about Credit Reports and Scores.
Expand What is the difference between good credit, bad credit or no credit?
Chances are you've heard people talk about good credit, bad credit and no credit. Good credit means you pay what you owe on time and lenders feel confident about lending you money. Bad credit means you have a history of not paying bills on time and letting debts build up. This makes it harder to qualify for loans or to get low interest rates. No credit just means you haven't obtained a credit card or borrowed money from a lender-so there's no record of your ability to repay the money on time.
Expand What are the advantages of establishing good credit?
Establishing good credit tells others that you are financially trustworthy. When you use a credit card to make a purchase, you enjoy the safety of not having to carry a lot of cash. You have the peace of mind that comes with having a financial security blanket for emergency needs and you're protected against financial loss if your card is lost or stolen. If you lose cash, it's almost never recovered. Learn how to protect your credit at Security Tips.
Expand How do I build good credit?
It all boils down to paying your bills consistently and on time. Always pay at least the minimum amount due and always pay on time. Learn more about building good credit at Managing credit.