Getting on top of your credit can be intimidating, but it’s not as difficult as it seems at first. A good place to start is understanding what a credit score is and how you can go about finding yours.

A credit score is a number between 300 and 850 that shows how responsible you are with credit. Everyone with financial history in the U.S. has one. Banks and credit card companies use it to decide if they should lend you money. It also influences the interest rates on any loans you want to take out.

The average credit score in the U.S. is currently 704, FICO reports, but all is not lost if yours falls a bit lower than that. You can request a free credit report once per year from each of the three major bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and work on building your credit back up.

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