The Smart About Money website will be retiring on July 31, 2021. Learn more about this decision.


2: Size Up Your Housing Situation

Know Your Credit Score

Credit score scale

Lenders and landlords use your credit score to estimate how risky it would be to lend you money. Your credit score is a simple way of representing your creditworthiness based on your past and present actions.

Different lenders use different scoring methods, and your score can change over time. Your credit score will reflect: 

  • How much credit you have used compared to what is available for you to use
  • How often you apply for new credit
  • How long you have used credit
  • The types of accounts you have and the number of accounts you have
  • How you have used credit in the past
  • Any legal proceedings against your credit

A good score depends on the scoring model that is used, but a majority of lenders will look at your FICO score.

Improve Your Credit 

To keep a good credit rating or to improve your credit:

  • Pay your bills on time, all the time – even if it’s just paying the minimum due.
  • Use existing credit wisely to establish a good payment history.
  • Don’t hit the credit limit — pay down any high debt.
  • Avoid taking out new credit when you don’t need it.
Course Home