So, you think you know credit?

As much as you think you know about credit reports, credit scores, and how both of those can impact your ability to purchase goods at a competitive rate, you probably don’t know the whole story. Truthfully, you’re not alone.

2013 survey commissioned by the Consumer Federation of America found that Americans have some surprising misconceptions about how credit reports are used and what information is tracked.

  • Over 40 percent are unaware that their credit score impacts their ability to obtain new lines of credit, including home loans.
  • Over 40 percent of respondents also incorrectly believe that factors such as age and marital status are used to calculate their credit score.
  • Over one-third were unaware that co-signing on a loan would impact their credit score.
  • More than a quarter of those polled were unclear on the actions they could take to positively or negatively impact their credit score.
  • 36 percent believe that credit repair agencies are a trustworthy way to increase your credit score.

The unfortunate fact is that consumers aren’t required to learn how credit works before they start using it. There’s no Driver’s Ed for credit cards, which means that a lot of consumers are introduced to credit without the knowledge needed to use it correctly.

To help bridge that gap, MMI created a new, user-friendly eBook called Getting the Credit You Deserve. It’s everything you’d ever need to know about credit, credit reports, and credit scores. This free download explains how credit reports are used, how they’re scored, and what consumers can do to build a strong credit history.

If you know someone just starting out with credit or simply want to know more about how to use credit wisely, download Getting the Credit You Deserve.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.