Consumer Reports: Credit score facts vs. fiction

Your credit score is key to many aspects of your financial life, including getting a good interest rate on a loan and getting a job. But when it comes to what affects your credit, Consumer Reports says it can be downright confusing and wants to clear things up with its own credit score quiz.

First up: Got unpaid library fines? They won't affect your credit. They're reported by municipalities and municipal court records, but they won't go on your credit report.

Next: Got unpaid parking or traffic tickets? Like library fines, they're listed in municipal records and aren't collected by any of the credit reporting agencies.

And what about opening up a bunch of credit cards at the same time? That can have a negative impact because it suggests you might be in credit trouble.

Does frequently checking your credit ding your report? You can do it anytime without affecting your credit score. And CR says you don't have to pay a credit-monitoring service. Instead, go to a site like annualcreditreport.com, where it's free.

Consumer Reports says it's important to check your credit reports with the three major credit bureaus before shopping for a major loan like a mortgage. That way, you can correct any errors.
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