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You will make important financial deals with many people that don’t know you throughout your life — people like bankers or landlords. Since they don’t personally know you, to determine if you are a “safe” investment, they turn to a metric called “credit”. Your credit score is a measure of your financial reliability; the higher the number, better.

However, the credit system isn’t as simple as it might seem. Credit scores can plunge unexpectedly, your credit score might differ depending on who checks it, and there are several different agencies all governing different aspects of the credit business. It can be a nightmare for anyone to navigate on their own. Luckily, you don’t have to.

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