How-To Guide: The Path to Perfect Credit
Achieving perfect credit may seem like a daunting task. But just as a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, the path to perfect credit is made up of small tasks that can eventually add up to big improvements in your credit.
To get better credit, you first have to know where you stand. There are a couple of different ways that various financial institutions evaluate your credit.
- Examine the permanent record of your credit history. Your credit report is available in a concise package, and you can get a free copy from the annualcreditreport.com website. Once you have your report handy, it's helpful to take a look to understand the information that credit reporting agencies have on you and your credit history.
That's where our Decipher Your Credit Report guide comes in. It goes through each section of a typical credit report, explaining what the information means and how it's used in making credit decisions.
- Check out your credit score. Instead of poring through pages of entries that detail every last credit transaction you ever took part in, one simple number can give you a general idea of how you're doing.
But where does that score come from? Our Secrets of Your Credit Score guide gives you an inside look at the workings of the FICO score, the most commonly used credit score. It'll also give provide tips on what you can do to improve that number.
The path to perfect credit can be long and arduous. And once you get your credit in good shape, you can't stop there; you have to maintain it, too. By understanding how your credit report and credit score work -- and making sure the credit reporting agencies have accurate information about you -- you can help ensure that your credit as good as it can be.
For more on boosting your credit score, read about:
- How you can improve your credit in 60 seconds.
- Little white lies that can help your score.
- 5 easy ways to ruin your credit.
- How to fix credit problems.
- Want a higher score? Here's what to do.