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What’s My Credit Score?

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Your credit score determines whether you’ll get approved for credit cards, loans, apartment rentals, and utility services, and it may even affect your chances of getting hired for certain jobs. It can mean the difference between a favorable or exorbitant interest rate, an affordable or sky high insurance rate.

That’s a lot of power wrapped up in a three-digit number — which is why it’s especially important to be as informed as possible about your credit score. Here are links to our most informative articles on credit score-related topics.

FICO score basics

How to build credit

Credit cards for each score range

If you credit score is in the bad to average credit range, there may be great credit card options for your particular circumstances.

Everything else you need to know about credit

Still have questions about your credit score? Check out the Nerds’ building and rebuilding credit hub for our top articles on credit scoring and reporting. You’ll learn all about building and improving credit, understanding the ins and outs of your credit, and some great credit card options you may want to consider.

Erin El Issa is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @Erin_Lindsay17.

  • Melissa Epps

    I am looking for a second chance checking account near San Diego, Which banks or credit unions offer that service. Any suggestions.

    • sensrbtch

      go to u r consumer concerns,finance site there in san diego. then git asa net comparison. a morning of websurfing to dsave thousands of dollars, take the time to do this. l.o.l.

      • Brett Tyler Ware

        This the second the most uneducated reply I have ever read.

    • Cherie Durand saved my life. NO FEES!

  • Michael

    Is there a special number of credit cards to have? I currently have 3 (all long term) and am looking to diversify (two chase and AMEX), but people always say 3 credit cards is the magic number. IS this true?

    • NerdWallet

      Hi Michael,

      There’s no magic number of credit cards to have – generally, more is better, but applying for too many all at once looks suspicious to lenders. Having multiple lines of credit open is helpful (it increases your overall credit limit and number of accounts open) but to diversify, you can have department store credit cards, regular credit cards, and other loans.

      For more information, check out our article on how to build your credit score.

      The Nerds

    • sensrbtch

      discover,mastercard,visa. what cards r the best in u r area? american express is 00+ in my area? alls else is o.k./! so look on the net., an git r dun, for u r area.3 is alls u ned! i hav discover,visa,mastercard. the way the card works is” pay the bill on time, and u r credit value buildsa ovr time”

      • Brett Tyler Ware

        This must be the most uneducated reply I have ever read.

  • Edward Skinner

    Credit Sesame offers a free Experian credit score on a monthly basis.

  • Paulette

    Unfortunately, I’m unable to qualify for a Capital One Secured or Unsecured credit card. Capital One, Sears, JcPenney, Citibank are all the creditors when I file for Chapter 7 Bk Dec 2004 and TU my credit report it will not be remove off my public record until Nov or Dec 2014. I’ve apply online for Credit One Bank Gas Rewards and they keep telling me no credit report. Credit Sesame my Credit Score is 545. Also, my Chase Mastercard have been closed/transferred to a collection agency. Can you recommended a secured card I can apply for so I can rebuild my credit and credit scores?

  • Kevin Francis

    I’m recently back after 7 years off the grid, how do i quickly improve a 0 credit score

    • Keegan Dent

      secured credit will get you started

  • NerdWallet

    Hi @Ray Beckerman,

    Great question! Cash advances can be tempting, but there are a lot of hidden “catches.” They typically have a one-time cash advance fee AND charge higher interest rates for cash advances than purchases.

    You can read more about things to watch out for when considering a cash advance and some alternatives here:

    • Ray Beckerman


      I knew that they’re bad financially. Was just wondering if there’s some secret way they’re factored into one’s credit score.

  • Perez Andre

    What should i do if i have new credit and im looking for a small loan