Finding and Improving Your Credit Score

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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. ... read more »

Finding and Improving Your Credit Score

Your credit score can have an impact on many aspects of your financial life, perhaps none more directly than your ability to secure a mortgage or other type of loan. Use the helpful Web sites we recommend here to learn what your credit score is and the best ways to protect it so that you can obtain the credit or loan you need at an interest rate you can live with.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to receive a free annual credit report from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies, which can be requested online: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Also, read this article from the Federal Trade Commission, which discusses "imposter" Web sites.
  • Most credit information is reported to all three agencies, so your credit report (and score) may differ slightly from one agency to another. For this reason, it's worthwhile to request all three reports. Though yearly reports are free, the consumer credit reporting companies charge you for daily monitoring of your credit reports and other services.
  • Managing your debt is one way to improve your credit rating. Take a look at the "How can I manage or get out of debt?" section of our findingDulcinea Debt Guide for Web sites that teach additional debt management skills.

Dulcinea's Picks

To learn what a credit score is ...
To learn about the effects of good and bad credit scores ...
To obtain a personal credit report ...
To improve your credit rating ...
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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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