Get The 411 on Your Credit Score

A breakdown of the 5 factors that determine your credit score

A new study by CardHub showing that the average American household owes nearly $8,000 in credit card debt raises the question as to whether we really understand what comprises a credit score.

Consequently, do we understand the simple steps we can take to raise it?

[Related: 3 Easy Moves That Will Boost Your Credit Score]

Your FICO score (Fair Issac and Company ), is literally one of the most important numbers in your life. You have one at each of the 3 credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union.

FICO (Fair Issac and Company) is the company that actually takes the information in your credit history and puts it into a mathematical formula in order to calculate your credit score.

Lenders use that score to determine if you’re a good credit risk, if they’ll give you a loan, and how much they’ll charge you. FICO scores have a 300-850 range and scores that are 700 or higher, like Omar’s prior to his tickets, are considered strong. It’s estimated that 90% of all of the lenders in the U.S. use FICO scores.

Make time to make sure that you are doing all that you can to take charge of this important part of your financial life. You can start by getting a free copy of your credit report at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.