If you are and have been in good financial shape-that is, you don't owe anything, you always pay on time, and you have never declared bankruptcy-you probably don't have anything to worry about. If, however, you're paying on a mortgage over a long period of time, you've recently declared bankruptcy, or you have a history of paying bills late, then you could have some credit issues to clean up before a financial institution will extend credit on your next purchase.
You can obtain a copy of your credit history by calling one of the credit bureaus and asking for it. The resources located at the end include telephone numbers and addresses for TRW, Trans-Union, and Equifax. These companies will ask you some personal questions to verify your identity and will then send you your credit report. Some companies will do this for free while other will charge a nominal fee. You should know, however, that if you've ever applied for a loan and been rejected because of your credit history, you're entitled by law to get a free copy of your credit report from the credit bureau that furnished the report to the company that turned you down.