The Federal Trade Commission recommends that consumers check their credit reports and FICO scores annually to make sure they are accurate. Each of the three major credit reporting agencies produce its own credit score.
The factors that have the greatest affect on your credit score are payment history and amounts owed. So, pay your bills on time and don't use too much of your available credit.
The length of your credit history accounts for about 15 percent of your credit score. That's why a teen, just out of high school has a hard time with first big purchases. Roughly 10 percent is based on recent credit events. This includes new accounts and how many inquiries have been made for new credit.
Another 10 percent is based on types of credit such as credit cards, retail accounts, loans, finance companies and mortgages. The complexity of the scoring system is tough to understand. Keep in mind that if your rejected for credit, you have a right to know the reason why within 30 days.
The major Credit Reporting Companies are: