Credit Scores & Credit Monitoring

    Knowing how credit scores work, how to monitor them, and how to improve them is an important part of your financial well-being.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • How do you get a good credit score?

      Credit-scoring models tend to weigh your payment history and utilization ratio most heavily when calculating your credit score. So, making on-time payments every month and keeping your credit-card balances low are two key factors in raising your credit scores.

    • Why do credit scores matter?

      Lenders use credit scores to approve you for financial products like home loans, auto loans, personal loans, and credit cards. In general, the higher your credit score, the better terms you'll get for your loan or credit card: lower interest rates, bigger loan amounts or credit limits, and, in the case of credit cards, more lucrative rewards.

    • What kind of information is on your credit report?

      Credit reports include all the accounts that lenders have reported to a credit bureau, the length of time those accounts have been or were open, your payment history, and your account balance. They include information about the lender, as well, including name and contact information.

    • Why do you have different credit scores?

      Credit bureaus use a variety of scoring models to calculate credit scores. Some of those models are designed for the housing industry, while others are tailored to the auto industry. Each one includes certain metrics and nuances that help lenders make decisions about loan and credit applications.

    • What kinds of things hurt my credit score?

      The most common factors that can hurt your credit scores are late payments and high credit-card balances relative to your credit limits. Credit-scoring models tend to penalize your score more heavily the later you are on a payment, too ("delinquency"). For example, being 90 days late is significantly more damaging to your score than being 30 days late.

    Key Terms

    Explore Credit Scores & Credit Monitoring

    Remove credit report late payments
    Late Payments Drag Down Your Credit Scores, So Clean Up Your Credit
    woman reading a document in her kitchen
    What Happens to Debt After 7 Years?
    Woman checking credit score
    Ways to Protect Your Credit Score
    how to build and maintain an 800 credit score: keep credit card balances below 30% of the credit limit, make on-time payments, monitor your credit closely, do research to avoid too many credit inquiries, let negative information fall off your credit report after seven years
    How to Finally Get Your Credit Score Above 800
    Image of courthouse where liens are settled
    Liens: What They Are and How They Work
    credit score showing on a cell phone
    The Pieces of Your FICO Credit Score
    A man and a woman review paperwork in front of a laptop
    Credit Review
    Image shows two credit meters, a small document with a scatter plot on it, an administrative building, and two credit cards. Text reads: "What is rapid rescoring? Normal credit update, rapid rescoring: rapid rescoring is a service that lenders use to make quick updates to your credit reports. Instead of waiting for information in your credit reports to be updated by regularly scheduled batch reports, you'll manually updated that information with the help of your lender. If you pay off a credit card that information can be pushed to a credit bureau a few days after your payment is received, and you can then request an updated credit score from that credit bureau."
    Rapid Rescoring May Give Your Credit Score a Quick Boost
    A young credit card customer checks her credit scores.
    Is No Credit Better Than Bad Credit?
    how an eviction works
    White woman with head resting on hand looking at past due bills.
    Even After Foreclosure or Repossession, Lenders Can Try to Collect
    person with long brown hair in blue shirt looking at cellphone and laptop in home office
    Credit Scoring
    Houses inside of floating and bursting bubbles representing subprime lending
    What the Term Subprime Means Is Loans for Less-Than-Perfect Credit
    A stressed person clutches the bridge of their nose.
    Credit Event
    Woman searching through handbag, elevated view
    10 Things You Must Do When Someone Steals Your Wallet
    A person reviews information on a laptop.
    Credit Monitoring Service
    Woman paying bills by phone
    Your Utility Bills Play an Increasingly Important Role in Your Credit
    Credit Report
    How to Get Your Free Yearly Credit Report
    Person holding a smartphone while looking out a window
    Direct Dispute
    Young woman paying cashier in clothing store
    How Much Does Your Income Matter for Your Credit Scores?
    Loan advisor discussing loan options with a couple
    Here Are Some of the Ways a Loan Can Affect Your Credit Score
     A woman uses a credit card to pay a restaurant bill.
    How To Use Your Credit Report To Determine Debt Priorities
    How to Live Debt-Free With No Credit Score
    couple discussing credit with an advisor
    The 7 Best Credit Counseling Services of 2022
    Close-up of the upper corner of a consumer credit report from the credit bureau Equifax
    What do credit bureaus do, and what do they know about you?
    A couple looks over data on a laptop screen while a lender or financial advisor explains.
    The 5 Cs of Credit
    Two friends discuss finances and how to build credit at a table
    7 Ways to Build a Strong Credit History
    Credit Card Close-Up
    How Does My Credit Limit Affect My Score?
    A young woman checking her credit score with a laptop.
    Money Moves That Help (or Hurt) Your Credit Score
    Approved Credit Score
    Have You Checked Your Credit Report Lately?
    Woman Checking Credit Score Online On Laptop
    Will Paying off Collections Raise My Credit Score?
    A woman talks on the phone while looking at her credit report
    How to Get Free Credit Reports, Scores, and Credit Monitoring
    Businesswoman with a good credit score talks with a customer in a warehouse
    "A" Credit Grade
    Internet shopping with a person typing on a keyboard with one hand and holding a credit card in the other
    How Credit Karma's Free Credit Check Works
    A man looks at his computer
    A woman applies for consumer credit.
    Consumer Credit
    A consumer checks his credit scores
    Tier-One Credit
    A business owner checks his credit score.
    How Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit Score
    A customer and credit repair expert discuss how to clear up mistakes on her credit report.
    Is Credit Repair Legal in All 50 States?
    Picture of Leslie Tayne, financial attorney and author of "Life & Debt: A Fresh Approach to Achieving Financial Wellness."
    Q&A: Understanding the Credit Repair Process
    Planning the finances is not easy
    How Much Will It Cost To Repair My Credit?
    Credit Report
    The 6 Best Free Credit Reports of 2022
    Woman watching as car is towed away
    How Car Repossession Impacts Your Credit
    Illustration showing the benefits of a good credit score
    9 Attractive Benefits of a Good Credit Score
    credit report form on a desk
    Here Are 3 Convenient Ways to Order Your Free Annual Credit Report
    Credit card with icicles illustrates a credit freeze
    How to Freeze Your Credit Report at TransUnion for Free
    Numerals on Credit Card
    What to Do About a Card That Is Not Yours on a Credit Report
    Young woman with calculator and digital tablet
    Credit Score
    Credit report form on a desk
    Is Legitimate or a Scam?
    Two arrows representing credit card balances going up and down
    The Big Reason You Should Keep Credit Card Balances Low
    A woman who seems worried or concerned discusses the problem with a woman seated across from her.
    How To Freeze Your Credit Report at Equifax for Free
    Man reading through credit documents
    Tradeline on a Credit Report
    A woman sits at her kitchen table and views her credit bureau information on her phone and computer
    Credit Bureau
    All About FICO 8 Credit Scoring: Adopted by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion Scores range from 300 to 850 Allocation of your score is based on the following: 35% payment history 30% credit utilization 15% credit age 10% recent applications 10% mix of credit
    FICO Score 8
    Man with credit card and laptop
    Understanding Your Credit Report and the FCRA
    A young woman reviews financial information on her smartphone and laptop.
    How Long Does It Take to Unfreeze Your Credit Reports?
    Loan officer reviewing a credit report with an applicant
    Credit Check
    SmartCredit Mobile App
    Review of the SmartCredit Credit Report
    hands taking a paper credit report out of an envelope
    How Safe Is
    A credit history report
    How to Manage Your Experian Credit Report

    Credit Scores & Credit Monitoring: