Your credit report and your credit score are the keys to understanding your overall credit health. A high credit score improves your chance of getting a loan for that house you dream about. Or the new car parked in the driveway. It also improves your chance of getting a credit card and helps qualify you for lower interest rates saving you hundreds to thousands of dollars in interest payments. Your credit report is a snapshot of your financial history. It's a detailed look at how well you meet your financial obligations. It contains information about you such as your name Social Security number date of birth address and employment history. the number of real estate loans you have the total balance of your credit cards and how many installment loans you currently have open such as your car or student loan. It contains detailed information for each creditor including your current balance and monthly payment. It also displays a summary of your payment history showing at a glance the payments that were made on time as well as any payments that may have been late. It includes public information such as bankruptcies tax liens or court judgements and other information such as who has requested a copy of your report. It's important to check your report periodically for any errors in this information. The law allows you to request your credit report once per year at no cost. Get your free report from each of the three major credit bureaus by going to or by calling 877-322-8228. This will not include your credit score. Make sure you recognize all of the loans and credit cards. And make sure the accounts are accurate. Also, look to see if there are any applications for credit or inquiries from companies you don't recognize. This could be a sign of identity theft or fraud.