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Credit Basics

Credit can be a valuable tool to help you meet your goals. That’s why it’s important to understand what credit is, how to manage it, and what you stand to gain from establishing and maintaining good credit.

  • What is credit?
    Credit is your ability to obtain the goods or services you want now by promising to pay for them later. Your ability to obtain credit is based on your credit history. Watch an overview of why credit is important (video).
  • How does credit work?
    Lenders like Wells Fargo and other financial institutions extend credit by lending you money at an agreed-upon amount, rate and payment term. When you borrow, you begin to establish a credit history: this is a record of your credit accounts, your payment history, and the details of how you manage each account.
  • What are the benefits of good credit?
    Good credit can give you access to more borrowing options, such as paying for a car, a home, or an education at the best possible interest rate or terms. In addition, employers, insurance companies, landlords, cell phone providers, and more can use your credit history when they make decisions about you.

Good credit takes time to establish. Explore strategies for building credit so you can lay a solid foundation for your credit history.  

Your credit report

Learn what you need to know about your credit score and credit report.

Understand credit scores and reports