Understanding Your Credit

Learn how to review and improve your credit.

Many kinds of people like employers, landlords, and loan officers look at your credit report. That’s why it’s important to have good credit. Having poor credit could make things like getting a job, receiving good interest rates on loans, or renting or buying a home more difficult or expensive.

How to Order a Free Credit Report

You are entitled to one free credit report from each agency every 12 months. Order 1 report from a different agency every 4 months to monitor your credit year-round for free. Each agency may have different credit scores, so check for accuracy and consistency.

To get your free report, visit the three bureaus listed below. Or order a report through www.annualcreditreport.com .

What to Review in Your Report

The FICO score in your report has five main factors. Take a look at the chart to see how it breaks down. Then look at the list below to see other items to review in your report.

  • Closed accounts
  • Collections
  • Public records such as bankruptcies and tax liens

If you see errors on your report, like accounts you didn’t open or debts you didn’t incur, you may be a victim of identity theft. Learn more about identity theft and what to do if you’re a victim here .

Tips to Improve and Keep Up with Your Credit

  • Always make your payments on time
  • Keep balances at or below 35%
  • Have a mix of credit types
  • Pay off an account’s balance before closing it
  • Keep old credit accounts open to help with credit history length

For more tips, watch the step-by-step video from TransUnion 1 .

1 This information is provided by TransUnion and is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. You should always seek the advice of a legal or financial professional before making legal or financial decisions.