Credit reports are important records, as they help you get mortgages and buy cars, among other things. You should be responsible with your credit to maintain a high rating, but don't just assume that your report accurately reflects your credit management. There are often errors.

If there are errors on your credit report, you can have them corrected. First, though, you'll need to get a copy of your report to review it. You'll find some guidance on doing just that here.

Somewhere in the report, often at the end, there should be instructions on how to dispute anything that you believe is an error. Often, it's just a matter of filling out a "research request" to ask the credit agency to look into the issue and make a correction.

Sometimes on your report you may see things that make you wince but are not, unfortunately, errors. If your credit history is less than pristine, don't despair. There are things you can do to improve your credit rating.

Learn more about getting your credit situation in shipshape condition at our spiffed-up Credit Center.

And while you're getting your financial house in order, if you've got short-term money to invest, learn how to make the most of it in our Savings Center, which offers Fool s some special deals on interest rates.