Official State of Iowa Website

Keeping Track of Your Credit

A good credit history is important for getting loans and other forms of credit at low interest rates. Companies use the information from your credit report in a formula, called a scoring model, to create your credit score. You do not have a single credit score, because there are different scoring models that companies can use to come up with a credit score.

According to the Consumer Finance Bureau, your credit score will typically include factors like:Icon of a checklist and a pencil

  • Your bill-paying history
  • Your current unpaid debt
  • The number and type of loan accounts you have
  • How long you have had your loan accounts open
  • How much of your available credit you are using
  • New applications for credit
  • Whether you have had a debt sent to collection, a foreclosure, or a bankruptcy, and how long ago

Some ways to increase your credit score, or maintain your already high credit score, include:

  • Pay your bills on time
  • Do not spend to the limits of your credit
    • One of the things credit scores take into account is how much credit you have, versus how much credit you are using
    • If possible, pay off your card balance each month, both to help your credit score and to save on interest
  • Be careful about applying for new credit
    • If you apply for a lot of credit over a short period of time, this can negatively affect your credit score

Icon of an eye looking through a magnifying glassTo protect your credit, it is important to closely monitor both your credit card and other account bills and your credit report. You can request your credit reports for free on a yearly basis from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion through the Annual Credit Report website. If you see any incorrect information on the reports, you should dispute the information right away. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides more information on disputing transactions here. Your free credit report does not include your credit score.