What is Credit?


Use the Web to Take Charge of Your Credit

We use credit to make many substantial business deals, such as buying a home or car, or obtaining a loan. Other times, we simply want to use a credit card to make our daily lives a little easier. Whether you want to learn how to select the right credit card, protect yourself from identity theft, or learn how your credit score affects the loans you receive, the Web can serve as your guide to understanding, establishing, and maintaining good credit. For a Spanish-language version of the Guide, click here.

What is Credit?

The credit card industry mailed more than six billion credit card offers to households during 2005. Before you start frantically filling out the applications you've received and envisioning all the purchases you'd like to make, you should understand a few things about credit. The Web sites we've selected below will teach you the basics of credit, how it works, and how to use it wisely.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Credit is more than just a plastic card in your wallet. It also reflects your status with lenders who decide whether to grant you a loan.
  • Watching your spending is part of using credit wisely to ensure you can make your credit card or loan payments on time every month. An online spreadsheet program such as Google Docs & Spreadsheets or Zoho Sheet can help you track expenses and income. Another way to keep track of your payments easily is to do your banking online. Check out the findingDulcinea Personal Finance Guide for advice and recommended sites that can help you do that.
  • Some decisions are too important to make entirely on your own. The Web sites in this section can give you a solid foundation of financial knowledge, but you should still consider consulting with an experienced professional when dealing with personal money matters.

Dulcinea's Picks

For an overview of credit ...
To learn how to use credit wisely ...
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Finding and Improving Your Credit Score

Your credit score can have an impact on many aspects of your financial life, perhaps none more ... read more »

Choosing the Right Credit Card

There are credit cards to suit a unique array of personal needs. Flight miles, cash-back rewards, ... read more »

Credit Card Debt

If you're even asking this question, the answer is probably yes. In fact, because credit card debt ... read more »

Teens, Young Adults, and Credit

Approximately 83 percent of undergraduate college students possessed at least one credit card in ... read more »

Protecting My Credit

With so many people using credit cards, credit card fraud has become a lucrative ... read more »

What is a Credit Union?

If interest rates are starting to look too intimidating, it might be time to consider a credit ... read more »

Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit

Home equity lines of credit have much lower interest rates than credit cards and are more flexible ... read more »

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