As you might imagine, one can really go to town with all of the numbers and approaches out there to credit score statistics. Keep in mind, though, that for most of us, our goal isn’t to analyze grand financial trends or explore society inequities in depth so much we want to see how we stack up compared to others in our general region or circumstances. In other words, how are WE doing, personally?
Almost everyone at some point in their lives needs to borrow money. Very few of us buy homes with cash, and most of us finance our vehicles as well. Credit cards are a reality of modern life, as are department store cards of various sorts (with all of their brand-specific perks), medical cards (which allow you to pay out your expenses over time when dealing with participating institutions), and online transactions which rely on the good faith of both parties. You don’t have to master credit report basics to recognize that your credit score and full credit report substantially impact each of these events for better or worse.
Understanding credit score basics starts by understanding credit scores. Your credit score is a 3-digit number between 300 – 850 which acts as a “snapshot” or “letter grade” of your larger credit history. Lenders use your credit score as a quick-and-easy way to assess the level of risk if they offer you a loan. In practical terms, that means the better your credit score, the better your interest rates in most cases, and the more flexible lenders are likely to be with other terms as well.