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If you’ve been reading the Pazit blog, you probably know that we recommend getting your free credit score every three months, each time from a different credit bureau. You can do this easily by logging onto www.annualcreditreport.com. Problem is, it’s often difficult to decipher your credit score.That’s why I’m recommending a new tool called the Credit Report Card from Credit.com.

This FREE tool is similar to a report card — it gives you a letter grade corresponding to your approximate credit score. What’s great about the Credit Report Card is that it tells you how you’re doing in each of the categories: payment history (on-time payments), debt usage (what percentage of your total credit limit you are using; the lower the better), and credit age (how long your credit history is; the longer the better). (It doesn’t ask for credit card information…beware of “free” credit report services that do).

I was surprised to discover that I “lost points” in two categories: account mix (having a mortgage, which I don’t, is a plus); and inquiries (signing up for store credit cards can wreak havoc on your credit score!).

Still, the Credit Report Card isn’t a replacement for getting your free credit reports. That’s because there’s no way to tell whether there’s incorrect information. That said, it’s a useful tool (and is only a soft inquiry, so won’t harm your credit score).

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