A lot of confusion surrounds this magic number. We lift the shroud with easy-to-understand information and advice. By the editors of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Updated January 2015 Quick — what's your credit score? If you know it off the top of your head, you're probably well aware of the importance of this number. This numerical summary of how much you owe and how promptly you pay your bills affects not only your ability to get a loan — and at what interest rate — but also can play a role in how much you'll pay for insurance and might even influence your chances of getting a job.If you're no more likely to know your credit score than the GDP of Guatemala, don't worry — finding your number is easy, and we can help. Understanding it and improving it are other matters all together, but we make this simple, too, with easy-to-follow information and advice. Start by estimating your credit score. Then check out our package below of stories that explain the ins and outs of credit scores. Understanding Your Credit Score What to Make of Your Credit Score? After a certain point, higher credit scores don't win lower interest rates. Advertisement A New Type of Credit Score Three major credit bureaus introduced the VantageScore in March 2006 to compete directly with the FICO score. Improving Your Credit Score Boost Your Score By paying bills on time and returning your library books, you can improve a key credit number. Ask Kim Your Credit-Score Questions Kim Lankford reveals ways to maximize your magic number. More Credit Score Answers Kim Lankford responds to more readers' questions about interpreting and improving their credit scores. Advertisement Seven Steps to Stellar Credit It's a classic Catch-22: You've got to have credit to get credit. So where do you start? With step one in our seven-step guide to building a strong credit record. Plus: Three rules for boosting your credit score. Find a Quality Credit Counselor Use our checklist to find a reputable agency that can really improve your financial situation. Keeping Your Credit Report Clean Time for a Credit Report Checkup Do you know what your credit history is saying about you? If you haven't checked this crucial financial record within the past 12 months, it's time to make sure things are in tip-top shape. We show you what to look for and how to fix costly errors. How to Fix a Credit Report Error Mistakes on these reports are common. Find out how to set the record straight so your credit isn't blemished. When One of You Has Bad Credit I have a lot of debt, but my fiancé has none. How can I prevent my bad credit from affecting him? Would separate accounts help?