If you have a credit score, this learning center is for you. Whether you are just beginning your credit education, or you have specific goals regarding your credit score, here you’ll find information and instruction you can use. Aspiring entrepreneurs, college students, newly weds, even those living paycheck to paycheck — everyone needs credit for something, and we strive to explain the ins and outs of credit for every individual need or circumstance possible.
Credit scores are an important element of financial literacy and modern living, so check back often to see all the latest insight and advice from the Fiscal Tiger writers. Experian.com also offers Free credit checks, credit reports, and credit monitoring if you’re not sure where you stand.
Table of Contents
Credit Score Basics: What It Is and Why It Exists
What is a credit score, anyway? Where did credit scoring come from, and how does it work? The articles here are a great place for beginners to start learning more, as well as a rich resource for anyone hoping to understand the modern credit system a little better. Besides answering basic questions, you’ll find information about how credit is used, different types of credit or scores, and even who all can ask to see your credit score or report.
- Credit Score Overview
- A History of Credit Scores and Reporting
- Good Credit and Bad Credit: Know the Difference
- Business Credit Scores: An Introduction
- How Interest Rates Work (and How Credit Affects Interest)
- Who Will Check Your Credit and When
- Pre-Employment Credit Checks
- Revolving and Non-Revolving Credit
- Alternatives to FICO Credit Scores
Credit Reporting: Who Is Monitoring Your Credit and What They Want To Know
These articles will help you get to know the credit bureaus — the institutions who monitor and report your credit, as well as the algorithms and resources they use to determine your score. Here you’ll learn everything from how the credit bureaus operate to regulations that govern their operations, and even what legal protections and rights you have as a consumer.
- Who Decides My Credit Score?
- How Credit Bureaus Get Your Personal Information
- How Often Credit Scores and Reports Are Updated
- Big Data and Credit Scores
- Consumer Protections and Credit Bureau Regulations
- Can You Sue the Credit Reporting Bureaus?
- Issues with Credit Report Accuracy
- What Is VantageScore?
- The Future of Credit Reporting and Scoring
Credit Management: Knowing Your Score and Understanding Your Credit Report
Once you understand what your credit score is and what it is used for, you may want to learn how to check your credit. These articles will help you understand the difference between your credit score and credit report, as well as important information about what is included in each and what you need to know about keeping them secure.
- How to Read Your Credit Report
- Credit Monitoring: Surviving Hacks, Breaches, and Cybercrime
- The Difference Between Credit Reports and Background Checks
- Changes to Credit Scoring and Reporting Rules
- Negotiating with the Credit Card Companies
Credit Building for Beginners
Almost everyone has a credit score by the time they become an adult; however, not everyone has actively built a positive credit history, or even knows how. Many people don’t even think about building their credit until it is too late — they need credit to get an apartment, apply to school, or borrow money. These articles will explain what steps you can take to build credit, and keep your score high even if you are just starting out financially.
- The Basics of Building Your Credit
- How Credits Cards Impact and Help Build Credit
- Authorized Users: Keeping Your Credit Cards (and Score) Safe
- Paying Rent and Building Credit
- Subscriptions and Debt-Free Accounts
- Building Your Credit Without Debt
- Understand and Avoid Fraud and Identity Theft
Getting Started with No Credit History
There is no way around it: building credit takes time. Fortunately, everyone has to start somewhere, and that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy access to some of the things that normally require credit. These articles will help you navigate some common firsts even if you haven’t had the time to build your credit, so your limited history doesn’t hold you back.
- Getting Your First Credit Card
- Rent Your First Apartment with No Credit and No Rental History
- Getting Your First Auto Loan
Credit Damage: Everything That Lowers Your Score
What can lower your credit score? This can be a subject of endless debate and confusion, even for financial experts. There are countless ways your credit score can be affected for better and for worse, but not everything you do will necessarily show up in your credit report. For your convenience, we’ve tackled some of the most common questions and factors affecting your credit, and organized them below. Here you’ll find the most common sources of bad credit scores, as well as factors that could be hurting your credit even if you haven’t done anything wrong. Finally, we’ve addressed some traits that may not directly help or hurt your credit, but which may have an indirect effect on your overall financial health.
Top Causes of Bad Credit:
- Debt Settlements
- Debt Collections
- Having Too Much Debt
- Using or Applying for Too Many Credit Cards
- Owing Money on Too Many Loans
- Predatory Lending
- Tax Liens
- Bad Money Habits and Financial Mistakes
Causes of Bad Credit That May Not Be Your Fault:
- Identity Theft
- Credit Reporting Mistakes
- Tax Scams
- Too Many Inquiries/Credit Checks
- Living With Your Parents
- Medical Debt
Indirect Influences on Your Credit:
- Zip Code Credit: How Where You Live Can Predict Your Credit Score
- Gender and Credit: Do Women Really Have Lower Credit Scores?
- Are Credit Scores Racist?
- Will Joining the Military Help or Hurt Your Credit?
- How Having Children May Hurt Your Credit
- How Time in Jail or Prison Can Impact Credit
Improve Your Credit Score On Your Own
Once you’ve learned the basics about credit, you may be determined to take ownership of your score and start improving your credit. Fantastic! The following articles will go over everything you need to know, including where to start and what steps to take depending on what your current credit score is, what may be lowering it, and what your ultimate goal is. Credit management doesn’t have to be difficult, and for the financially savvy, it is possible to repair your credit without seeking help from professionals.
- Repairing Your Credit Basics
- When You Do and Don’t Need Professional Help
- Good Credit Habits to Learn and Practice
- Using A Credit Card to Build and Improve Credit History
- Managing Your Car Payment
- How to Fix Mistakes on Your Credit Report
- Getting Collections Accounts Removed From Your Report
- The Ultimate Guide to Fixing Your Credit
Professional Help with Credit Management and Repair
Even though everyone needs good credit, not everyone has the time to go through all the steps necessary to fix bad credit. Fortunately, there are a lot of different resources and solutions available to help you get your credit back on track. The following pages will help you determine the best solution for you, from free credit counseling to paid credit repair, as well as tips and tricks to avoid scams and get the best service available.
- Credit Counseling: What it Is and How it Helps
- Credit Repair vs Credit Counseling: Which You Need and When
- Free Credit Counseling Resources
- Debt Consolidation: What it Is and How it Helps
- Credit Repair vs Debt Consolidation: Important Differences
- Legitimate Credit Repair Companies and Services
- Avoid Credit Repair Scams
- Work with the Best Credit Repair Companies
Surviving With Bad Credit: Getting By While Rebuilding
Fixing bad credit isn’t easy, and it isn’t always fast. Even if you are taking all the necessary steps or working with a professional, you still may need credit even while you are working to improve your score. If your credit is suffering from delinquent debts or other serious money problems, it can seem like the deck is stacked against you. Don’t give up hope! The following articles will help you secure housing, loans, and other necessities even if your credit isn’t great.
- Renting an Apartment with Poor Credit
- Getting a Loan with Poor Credit
- Getting a Small Business Loan Despite Low Credit
- Loan Options for Military Veterans with Bad Credit
- Buying a House with Bad Credit or No Credit
- Mortgage Refinancing: How to Repair Your Score First
- Get Reporting Errors Fixed
- Recovering from Delinquency and Being Sent to Collections
How Credit Scores, Wealth, and Debt Are Connected
Credit and wealth aren’t the same. In fact, you can be fabulously rich and still have terrible credit — or downright poor but with reasonably good credit. If you need help managing debt or simply want to better understand how your income influences your credit, the following articles will provide insight and actionable advice.
- How Income Affects Your Credit Score
- Low Income vs Low Credit: How to Strike A Healthy Balance
- How Rich People Can Still Have Terrible Credit
- Get Out of Debt — Even with Low Income
- Debt Relief Resources for Single Parents
Love and Money: Relationships That Can Affect Credit
You aren’t the only one responsible for your credit score. In fact, there are a lot of different ways the people you are close to can affect your credit, both positively and negatively. Marriage, having kids, co-signing for loans or credit, even opening a business can all impact credit. This selection of articles will go into more detail about how different types of relationships can affect your credit, and what to do if someone close to you has ruined your credit score.
- How People You Love Can Ruin Your Credit
- What Happens If You Marry Someone with Poor Credit
- Dealing with Your Spouse’s Debt
- How A Partner (or Ex) Can Wreck Your Credit
- Talking to Your Friends and Family About Money
- Roommates and Joint Accounts: Managing Debts and Credit Together
- How Parents Can Ruin Children’s Credit
- Business Partners and Credit Risks
- How Your Children Can Ruin Your Credit
Additional Credit Resources: Learn More About Credit and Improve Your Financial Habits
The world of credit reporting and tracking is always changing, and your needs are likely changing too. No matter where you find yourself in life, the writers at Fiscal Tiger are working to ensure you have helpful information guiding you to success, financial and otherwise. These articles explore some additional, more specific topics related to credit scores and money management.