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You probably already know by now that a high credit score is great and that a low credit score is not so great. But there are a lot of other other aspects about credit and debt that you should understand, as well. The following facts about credit are just a few additional guidelines to help you have a better grasp on what you can do to improve your score.

Good credit can be your passport to loans and house keys.

Traditional lenders and landlords tend to want to look at your credit report before they agree to do business with you. This is because your credit report reveals important information, such as your payments, outstanding debt, and any history of bankruptcies or foreclosures, all of which could collectively reveal if you’re capable of responsibility making payments on the loan or rent. The better your credit score, the more likely you’ll receive the services that you’re requesting.

In the event that you have poor credit and you’re looking for a loan, you may only have access to  bad credit loans because bad credit lenders generally won’t run a credit check. As for the rental property, the landlord may reject your renter’s application or require that you pay a bigger security deposit because of your bad credit history.

There are two kinds of inquiries.

Consumers often fear that checking their credit reports will lower their credit scores. However, when you request a copy of your own credit report, it’s a soft inquiry that won’t affect your score at all. On the other hand, if a credit card company or lender wants to see a copy of your report, it’s called a hard inquiry, and this inquiry will temporarily lower your score.

Because it’s free to request a copy of your credit report once a year and it won’t harm your score, there’s no excuse not to check out your report at least once every 12 months.

Checking your credit score can potentially halt identity theft.

Unfortunately, not everyone understands the importance of checking their credit reports frequently. The truth is, however, you can potentially find mistakes and evidence of identity fraud when you regularly check your credit score.

If you scan your credit report and see a new credit card account you didn’t open, along with missed payments you’re not aware of, this could be a tell-tale sign that someone has swiped your identity. Getting to the bottom of the issue right away will be a whole lot easier than potentially dealing with debt collectors down the road.

You have more than one credit score.

There’s a common misconception that consumers only have one solid credit score each. In actuality, there are many different credit score development companies that use various methods to calculate your score. Some of these companies don’t even provide copies to consumers. Furthermore, the top three credit bureaus also use slightly different scoring methods, so it’s not possible for you to have one credit score across the board.

Chloe Mulliner is a writer and editor for several websites dedicated to credit cards, emergency cash advances, personal loans, credit and more. She recently moved across the country from Virginia to California, where she currently writes about all things credit.

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