Credit Score Learning Center

Credit scores and reports can be confusing. Our Credit.com experts are committed to demystifying credit for you. Get easy-to-understand explanations of what factors influence your credit score and tips on how to improve it. Discover how certain financial decisions & actions can affect your credit score. Learn how to read & interpret your credit report & find out how banks & financial institutions use your credit information to make lending decisions.


How To Improve Your Credit Score

How To Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score plays a critical role in your overall financial life, and has a direct impact on whether or not you'll be a approved for a credit card, a car loan, a mortgage or any other type of financing Read More

Does Checking My Credit Score Hurt My Credit?

Does Checking My Credit Score Hurt My Credit?

Contrary to popular belief, checking your own credit score doesn't hurt your credit. Unlike credit-damaging "hard" inquiries that occur when you apply for credit Read More

Does Closing a Credit Card Affect Your Credit Score

Does Closing a Credit Card Affect Your Credit Score? Find Out Before it's Too Late

Thinking about cleaning up your credit report by closing a credit card account that you haven't used for years? Think again. Read More

What Is a Bad Credit Score?

What Is a Bad Credit Score?

Most people have a gut feeling about their credit - it's either great, good or bad. But what is a bad credit score really? Read More

What Is a Good Credit Score?

What Is a Good Credit Score?

A good credit score is what each of us aspires to. After all, a credit score is one of the important determining factors when it comes to borrowing money - and getting a low rate when you do. Read More

How do I get My Free Annual Credit Report?

How do I get My Free Annual Credit Report?

Do you want to check your credit report for mistakes or fraud? Or do you want to know what lenders see when they review your credit? Read More

How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life

How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life

Credit influences many things that affect our daily lives, including our home and job. In this article we look at when and how credit is used. Read More

Late Payment Secrets Revealed

Late Payment Secrets Revealed

Figuring out exactly how credit scores work is problematic. Like nuclear fission, learning Chinese and setting the clock on your DVD player, credit scoring is not something that most people can easily master. Read More

Who are the Major Credit Reporting Agencies?

Who are the Major Credit Reporting Agencies?

Perhaps you've heard of the three major credit reporting agencies (also sometimes referred to as credit bureaus). They are Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. But there's a lot of confusion when it comes to what these credit bureaus actually do. Read More

How Do I Dispute An Error On My Credit Report?

How Do I Dispute An Error On My Credit Report?

When you get your credit report, you may find information on it that is not correct. When that happens, you'll need to understand how to dispute an error on your credit report. Read More

What's Not in a Credit Score?

What's Not in a Credit Score?

A credit score, which is calculated from information gathered on your consumer credit report, says a lot about how you handle credit, but it doesn't include everything about your financial life. Read More

The Truth About Credit Repair & Credit Repair Companies

The Truth About Credit Repair & Credit Repair Companies

"Credit problems? No problem!" "We can erase your bad credit --- 100% guaranteed." "Create a new credit identity --- legally." "We can remove bankruptcies, judgments, liens, and bad loans from your credit file forever!" Does all this sound too good to be true? Well, it is. Read More

How to Build Credit the Smart Way

How to Build Credit the Smart Way

A great way to build credit is by making on-time credit payments every month. Any credit card, including a secured card, works well for this. Just choose a routine monthly expense, charge it on your credit card and pay the account in full each month. Read More

How Medical Debt Can Impact Your Credit Score

How Medical Debt Can Impact Your Credit Score

When it comes to your credit score, an unpaid medical bill is just as damaging as any other unpaid debt on your credit report. Medical bills don't generally show up on your credit report unless the bills have been sent to collection agencies. Read More

How to Handle Old Tax Liens on Your Credit Report

How to Handle Old Tax Liens on Your Credit Report

Recently I received a call from someone who had found two tax liens on his credit reports, both more than ten years old. Read More

What Is a Consumer Credit Report?

What Is a Consumer Credit Report?

What's in a credit report? A whole bunch of stuff pertaining to your financial life. A consumer credit report has four main categories of information: personal information, account information, public records and inquiries. Read More

Frequently Asked Questions About Credit Reports

1. How long does negative information stay on your credit reports? I've heard "seven years." Read More

The Credit Score Range

The Credit Score Range

A credit score is the equivalent of a crystal ball for a lender, helping it predict behavior (in a more scientific way of course). Read More

What is a Credit Score?

What is a Credit Score?

You've heard of credit scores. Maybe you've even checked yours. But do you really understand what they are and how they work? Read More

What does FICO stand for? What is a FICO score?

What does FICO stand for? What is a FICO score?

A FICO score is a credit score developed by FICO, a company that specializes in what's known as "predictive analytics," which means they take information and analyze it to predict what's likely to happen. Read More

What is the Average Credit Score?

What is the Average Credit Score?

If you're wondering what is the average credit score, what you're probably really wondering is, "How does my credit score compare to others?" Read More

What is a hard inquiry?

What is a hard inquiry?

You may have heard that a hard inquiry can hurt your credit score. But you may not be sure exactly what that means - what is a hard inquiry anyway? Read More

All About Credit Scores

All About Credit Scores

Anyone who has ever applied for a credit card, loan, or cell phone has dealt with their credit score. This illusive three-digit number impacts the rates and terms you'll receive on everything from a mortgage to car insurance. Read More

Credit Report Basics

Credit Report Basics

What is a credit report? Where does the information come from? Who uses it? Read on for answers to your credit report questions! Read More

Pay for Removal Deals: Removing Collection Accounts from Your Credit Reports

Pay for Removal Deals: Removing Collection Accounts from Your Credit Reports

Unfortunately, simply paying off a collection account will not improve your credit scores. The fact that you have paid the account will have no impact on your credit score whatsoever. Read More

Credit Matters After the Death of a Spouse

Credit Matters After the Death of a Spouse

Sorting through financial matters after the death of a spouse can be a challenging experience. When the heart is heavy with grief, the last thing you want to think about is protecting your loved one's identity and forging a new credit life of your own. Read More

What is My Credit Score? How is a Credit Score Calculated?

What is My Credit Score? How is a Credit Score Calculated?

"What is my credit score?" is a question we're asked all the time. It's often followed by "How is my credit score calculated?" Both are important questions that, when you understand them, can help you build and keep strong credit - and save a lot of money as a result. Read More

What is VantageScore?

VantageScore first exploded on the credit score scene in 2006 as a joint venture of the big three credit bureaus - Experian, Equifax and TransUnion - and now has the distinction of being one of only two scoring models, the other being FICO, to be relied upon by lenders in their lending decisions. Read More

Tips for Improving Your Credit: The Types of Accounts in Your Credit Report

Tips for Improving Your Credit: The Types of Accounts in Your Credit Report

In the past two months we explored Payment History and Your Amount of Debt and their level of impact to your credit scores. So far we've identified 65% of the points that make up your credit score as being generated out of these two categories. Read More

Tips for Improving Your Credit: Your Amount of Debt

Tips for Improving Your Credit: Your Amount of Debt

Each account on your credit report has a section that lists your current balance. This balance is generally the amount you owed on the account as of your previous month's statement. Read More

Tips for Improving Your Credit: How Long Have You Had Credit

Tips for Improving Your Credit: How Long Have You Had Credit

We've now covered three of the five categories that represent the points that you earn, which make up your credit score. We've explored Payment History, Your Amount of Debt and the Type of Accounts in Your Credit Reports. Read More

Tips for Improving Your Credit: Your Payment History

Tips for Improving Your Credit: Your Payment History

Your payment history, also known as payment performance, is the record you've established by either paying or not paying your bills on time. Read More

Tips for Improving Your Credit: Your History of Searching for Credit

Tips for Improving Your Credit: Your History of Searching for Credit

This is the last of a five part series investigating credit scores and how your credit-related actions most influence them. Each edition of the series explored a new category chosen because of the amount of credit score points that each could cost you if not managed properly. Read More

What Happens to Your Credit When You Get Married?

What Happens to Your Credit When You Get Married?

What happens to your credit reports and credit scores when you get married? There are all kinds of common misconceptions about merging reports and falling credit scores. Read More

How Credit Works

How Credit Works

This simple guide shows you the inner workings of the credit system. Read about everything from the three main credit bureaus to pre-approved credit card offers. Our credit experts break down the complicated credit system for you. Read More

What to Do If You Are Rejected for Credit

What to Do If You Are Rejected for Credit

I don't know about you, but whenever I've been rejected for something -- a job, a credit card, even being left out of an event I had hoped to be invited to -- my first reaction has been to fume or pout (or maybe both). Read More

Bankruptcy Reform: The Impact on Consumer Credit Reports

Bankruptcy Reform: The Impact on Consumer Credit Reports

On April 20, 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 became law. While the merits of the bill have been debated, its effects are clear. Read More