Credit Score – the Good the Bad and the Ugly

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

Would you like to buy a house, lease an apartment, drive that sexy new Mustang or convert your den into a family-friendly media room? If so, unless you are financially independent, such as having been blessed with a trust fund, you will need credit. It sounds easy so far, doesn’t it? Well, maybe let’s take a more comprehensive look at the intricacies and pitfalls of credit spending. What is your credit score?

Credit Cards

Credit cards are not created equal. When comparing credit card offers you will need to consider the following:

  • What is the Interest rate (these change rapidly)
  • Are they offering a low or 0 interest introductory offer?
  • If so, how long will the low or 0 interest last (usually 6 months, sometimes a year)
  • Are there cashback or rewards offers
  • Will they donate a percentage to your favorite cause
  • Can you personalize your card?
  • If you default, what is the default interest rate?

To get your best deal you will need to spend some time investigating various offers. To avoid jumping all over the net go to our Credit Cards page to learn what is available. You also need to know something about the big three credit bureaus in the US.

The Big Three Credit Bureaus

Credit bureaus perform a service for lenders and spenders. More than likely your name is somewhere in the vast vaults of data at the three largest credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion Credit Services, and Experian. That may or may not be good news. If you have favorable credit ratings, there are no errors and your creditors have reported to the bureau, it is good news. However, if the opposite applies in any of these categories it can be a challenge or even a nightmare. Recently the federal government began requiring each of the Big Three to provide to you, free of charge, one credit report per year. It is imperative to know what is in your report.

If you are a new graduate or just decided to buy your own home you may not have a credit record. Or, you may have been borrowing for a while, but have a less than stellar credit score. If you are attempting to establish a credit history or mend a poor history, it would behoove you to choose a credit card company that reports promptly to the credit bureaus. In their ads, some banks, such as Orchard Bank and New Millennium Bank, proudly list reporting as an advantage. When in doubt call the lender and ask.

Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a three-digit number that determines if you are approved for your student loan, buy the mammoth television you adore or put braces on your child’s teeth. Large expenditures frequently require credit to pay for them. Your credit score is figured from credit reports made to the bureaus by your lenders. These reports include such information as payment history, the amount borrowed, balance due, and anything else that affects your creditworthiness.

Scores range from 350 to 900, naturally, the higher the better. The median credit score in the United States is 723. This will vary according to the state. To get the most favorable interest rates your score should be around 720. Borrowers with scores of around 520 would probably pay higher interest rates, perhaps 3 or 4 points higher. (Read more about Credit Score at ‘Reading Credit Score Numbers’ and ‘What Does the Credit Score Mean?’ articles.)

Boost Your Score

If your score is dismal, don’t despair. According to, you can boost your score. They suggest:

  • Pay your bills on time
  • Keep balances low on credit cards
  • Don’t open new accounts you don’t need
  • Use your credit cards responsibly
  • Challenge incorrect information

Begin by checking your reports for accuracy. Then follow responsible spending habits. Yes, I know – that is no fun. You can order your free report by calling the numbers listed below. Visitors can obtain a free credit report for 30 days if you missed the free one at the Free Credit Report page on MarketProSecure Credit Center.

RELATED: Fixing, Protecting & Pumping Your Score

How to Contact Main 3 credit Bureaus?

Experian Credit Services

P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
Automated Credit Report Order Line: 1-888-397-3742

Trans Union Credit Services

P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022-1000
Automated Credit Report Order Line: 1-800-888-4213

Equifax Credit Services

P.O. Box 105851
Atlanta, GA 30348-5851
Automated Credit Report Order Line: 1-800-997-2493

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Advertiser Disclosure

Market Pro Secure® is an independent payment card comparison service supported by advertisers, a complete list of which can be seen in our Editorial Guidelines. Even though some of these advertisers are financial product providers and credit card issuers, our paid partnerships don't affect card ratings or the Best Card Picks on our website. We don't post any content that is provided or commissioned by any of our partners. However, our paid partnerships may affect how and where products appear on our site, including the order in which they are presented within listing categories. This order may also be affected by our website rules, as well as the likelihood of the applicant’s credit approval. We can't offer any warranty for the accuracy of the credit card information we share on our website, even though we do our best to keep the Terms and Conditions, rates, and other credit card details up-to-date. For more accurate information, click "APPLY NOW" to get transferred to the credit card issuer's official website. Market Pro Secure® doesn't include all available payment cards in the marketplace.