If you have a mortgage that has not yet been paid off, that isn't a black mark on your credit score.

Experian Consumer Direct, one of three credit agencies that analyze and score your credit, found the average credit score for consumers with at least one current mortgage is 716 -- better than the 667 grade scored by people without a mortgage.

Credit scores rate your financial status on a scale of 300 to 800 (higher is better). Lenders rely on them to analyze credit risk and determine interest rates. The best interest rates are typically given to consumers with scores of 700 or more.

The open mortgage is viewed as another open credit line, according to Experian spokeswoman Heather Greer, and it shows investors that your credit history has qualified you for hefty lending. But it's not a given that opening a mortgage will improve your credit, she said.

Greer warns that your mortgage, like any other line of credit, could easily hurt your score if you are delinquent with payments.

To find out your credit score, contact the three credit agencies -- Equifax Inc., Experian and Trans Union LLC -- at www.equifax.com, www.experian.com and www.transunion.com. A single credit report can cost $9 to $15. An extended report with full information from all three agencies can cost as little as $30.