Getting Started With Credit

Do you know what credit is? Do you know how it affects your financial future?

What is credit?

Credit is your ability to borrow money or enter into agreements based on an understanding that you’ll pay the money or obligation back later.

What is a credit report?

Your credit report is all of the credit-related data a credit reporting company (CRC) has gathered about you from different sources.

What is a credit score?

Your credit score is used to assess your likelihood of defaulting on payments you owe (i.e., going 90 days or more without paying a debt obligation).

See your score changing?

Don’t be alarmed! Your credit score should and will change. Because your score is based on a file that is frequently updated, it will vary over time. Also, many lenders utilize different credit models, leading to slightly different credit scores.

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Who Uses Credit Scores?


Lenders of all types pull credit scores to help them assess the likelihood that you will fall behind on the payment of a loan.

These institutions are likely to use your credit score as well as other information they have obtained directly from you, including your employment status and work history, how much you earn, and your planned down payment. In general, people with higher scores can get more credit at better rates.


  • Landlords — When determining your ability to pay rent on an apartment and how much a security deposit will be required to sign the lease.

  • Mobile Phone Companies — When determining payment plans you are eligible for and whether or not a security deposit will be required.

  • Utility Companies — When determining whether or not to require a security deposit, and if so, how much of a deposit to require.