Skip to main content

Understand, get, and improve your credit score

Learn how to get your credit score, how it is calculated, and what you can do to improve it.

What is a credit score?

A credit score is a number that creditors use to determine your credit behavior, including how likely you are to make payments on a loan.

Having a high credit score can make it easier to get a loan, rent an apartment, or lower your insurance rate. Learn how to get your credit score, how it is calculated, and what you can do to improve it.

How to get your credit score

There are four main ways to get your credit score:

  • Check your credit or loan statements.
  • Talk to a credit or housing counselor.
  • Find a credit score service. 
  • Buy your score from one of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.

Learn more from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) about each method of obtaining your credit score.

How your credit score is calculated

The three major credit reporting agencies create credit reports which include a history of your credit, loans, and other financial information. These credit reports are used to calculate your credit score.

The information from your credit report that affects your score includes:

  • Payment history
  • Outstanding balances
  • Length of credit history
  • Applications for new credit accounts
  • Types of credit accounts (mortgages, car loans, credit cards)

Ways to improve your credit score

Your credit history directly affects your credit score. If you want to improve your score, there are some things you can do, including:

  • Paying your loans on time
  • Not getting too close to your credit limit
  • Having a long credit history
  • Making sure your credit report doesn’t have errors

Learn more about improving your credit score and what you can do to fix errors on your credit report.

LAST UPDATED: November 7, 2023


Have a question?

Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They will get you the answer or let you know where to find it.