Credit report basics
Your credit report is an electronic record of your credit activities. These activities range from borrowing to buy a car or a home to applying for a loan or credit card. That's right -- every time you apply for a credit card or other loan, it registers as an inquiry on your credit report.
More importantly, a credit report is a record of how you use credit and how much of it you have available. If you're late in making a monthly payment, that too shows up on your credit report.
Whether a lender is evaluating your loan request or a card company is considering whether to give you a credit card, you can count on an evaluation of your credit report to influence its decision.
Unfortunately, some of us mismanage credit and pay the price: Information remains on a credit report for years and may hurt the chance of getting additional credit. Sometimes, credit reports omit steps that borrowers have taken to improve their credit, or contain errors.
In this educator, we take a look at how to manage your credit -- how to apply for it, how to use it wisely and how to monitor your credit report for accuracy. We help you to understand your credit rights and how to repair your credit.
Along the way, we provide some useful links to tools, or calculators, to help you budget, calculate card payments and evaluate the trade-offs in paying down card debt or saving. Here's one of them: