Examine Your Credit
Your credit report is a history of how you have managed your finances including loans and repayments. Lenders will review your credit report.
Three private companies (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) keep track of your credit activity. These companies provide your credit report to banks and other creditors that you may deal with.
Your credit report includes:
- A history of debts and your payment history
- Debts referred to a collection agency
- Public record information, such as tax liens or bankruptcies
- Inquiries made on your credit history. It reports if you were extended credit based on the inquiry
Bankruptcy data is deleted from you record after 10 years; other information after 7 years. It is important that you review your credit report from each of the three companies to make sure each is correct.
Your credit score
The credit score is a computer-generated number that indicates ability and trustworthiness to repay a debt. Your credit score can influence the interest rate.
Start building your credit
- Pay your bills on time. A component of the credit score emphasizes the timeliness of your payments.
- At least pay the minimum amount required.
- Do not "max out" your credit cards.
- Do not apply for too many loans.
- Use only one or two credit cards and pay them off each month.
Make and stick to a budget
A budget will help you meet your monthly bills and possible increase your savings.