A credit score is much like the wind; you don't quite understand how it works and sometimes wish it weren't there, but ultimately it is an unavoidable part of your life and you need it more than you would ever admit. In fact, there are many who have no idea what the score really means, other than it seems to be the key indicator for consumers looking to buy a car, house, or open a line of credit. The fact is that many factors can affect your credit—too many to list in one place without a couple forests-worth of paper. Furthermore, your score is used for more than just determining your ability to handle the responsibility of a loan. Many employers will use credit information as a means to help make hiring decisions, and many professionally qualified people have lost employment opportunities due to one or two bad marks on their report.
Needless to say, protecting and maintaining your credit information and ensuring that the information is accurate is critical. There are easily accessible resources that help the public find out their score and educate them as to how to bolster that number and use it to the utmost advantage.
There are several online Consumer Credit Information Management (CCIM) sites that can provide a customer with his or her credit report at any time from the three national credit bureaus and help them understand how that score was calculated. In addition, many of these sites will provide a variety of credit-related services and show customers how best to review and protect their credit on a consistent basis. Many will also help setup automatic email alerts when a user's credit report or score changes and show them how to effectively dispute possible errors that can severely damage their credit report.