SUBSCRIBE TO MONEY  

Get your credit reports and scores

Know what information lenders have on you.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

While you're cleaning up your debt, order copies of your credit reports, which are free, and your credit scores, which cost about $15, since the information contained in them will directly affect the interest rates you're offered on credit cards, mortgages and other loans.

There are three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Each collects information on your credit history which is culled into a credit report. From that report, a credit score is derived. That score is a quick way for lenders to assess how risky you are as a potential borrower. The higher your score, the less risk you pose to lenders and the more likely it is that you'll get their best available rates.

The score most commonly used by lenders is the FICO score, developed by Fair Isaac.

When lenders review your credit reports and resultant FICO scores, they take into account not only how much you owe but also how much credit you have available to you. Too much of either and they may not loan you any more money.

So when you get your reports, check for inaccuracies; the bureaus are required to investigate and correct them once you report them. Look, too, for things that may lower your credit rating, including open lines of credit you never use or accounts you thought had been closed long ago.

The bureaus may have different information about your credit history, which means your credit score can vary somewhat from bureau to bureau. So it's important to view reports from all three.

You can get any of the bureaus' credit reports free at www.annualcreditreport.com and your FICO score from MyFICO.com. Then check if this is true: If you've been turned down for credit, employment or housing in the past 60 days, you may receive a free credit report from all of the three credit bureaus.  Top of page

calculator
Debt Reduction Planner
glossary
Glossary
take the test
Take
the test
more lessons
More Money 101
lessons
Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
50 years of the Ford Mustang Take a drive down memory lane with our favorite photos of the car through the years. More
Cool cars from the New York Auto Show These are some of the most interesting new models and concept vehicles from the Big Apple's car show. More
8 CEOs who took a pay cut in 2013 Median CEO pay inched up 9% in 2013 to $13.9 million. But not everyone got a bump last year. Here are eight CEOs who missed out. More


Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.