Your credit report contains information about your credit accounts and your history of credit use. It is used to calculate the 3-digit number that is your credit score.
Although your credit score and credit report are both important aspects of your financial makeup – they are not the same. The latter determines the former, ultimately having important implications on your ability to secure a loan, mortgage, and the types of interest rates you receive.
Use this guide to understand how your credit score vs. credit report compare, as well as how to access them.
Credit score vs. credit report
Your credit report is a collection of information and data that ultimately makes up your credit score. But your credit score is not always contained in your credit report. If this sounds confusing, take a look at how the two break down.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a three-digit number that lenders will review to determine how responsible or risky you are as a borrower. Your credit score is based on your credit report, which is collected and provided by credit bureaus, namely, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
There are several different types of credit scores, but the two main ones used by most lenders include FICO® Score and VantageScore®. Having poor credit will make you appear riskier to lenders.
You may have a difficult time qualifying for a loan or securing an apartment. You’ll also likely have to pay more for the same financing products as someone with good credit.
The most important factors that influence your credit score include:
35%: Repayment history, or whether you’re mostly on-time or late on payments
30%: Credit utilization rate, or how much you owe compared to your overall credit limit
15%: Length of credit history, or the average age of your credit accounts
10%: Credit mix, or the type of credit accounts, i.e. credit cards, mortgage, etc.
10%: Hard inquiries, or how often you’ve recently applied for new credit
What is a good credit score?
Credit scores tend to range from 300 to 850, but a good credit score is typically around 700 or higher. The higher your credit score, the best chances you’ll have for approval on loans, mortgages, and more. Having good credit will also help you secure the lowest rates on financing, which can turn into considerable savings over the long run.
What are credit scores used for?
Lenders and landlords will review your credit score to determine how likely you are to repay a loan or keep up with rental payments. Your credit score can affect everything from your ability to qualify for a loan to your ability to rent an apartment. It’s also one of the most important factors that determine the interest rates you’ll receive, which can affect your overall cost of financing.
What is a credit report?
A credit report is a ledger of your debt management history produced by one of the three major consumer credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion or Equifax. These credit bureaus are in charge of collecting and storing the information that makes up credit reports, which will ultimately determine your credit score.
Your credit report contains your personal information as well as data on your credit history, credit accounts, and the history of these accounts. These are provided to credit bureaus by the lenders you work with. Within your credit report, you should expect to find the following.
Personal information: Such as your name, address, year of birth, and more.
Credit accounts: All the loans, credit cards, or other types of bills in your name. These include open accounts, as well as closed and collection accounts.
Bankruptcy: Bankruptcy filings from the last seven to 10 years will generally appear on your credit report.
Recent inquiries: The number of times someone recently checked your credit report, typically as a credit check to decide whether to approve you for a loan, apartment, etc.
What are credit reports used for?
Credit reports are used to give an overview of your credit history and how responsible you are as a borrower. Most importantly, credit reports are used to calculate your credit score.
Why your credit score is different from your credit report
The relationship between your credit report and credit score is that the former creates the latter. Your credit report ultimately contains the information that will go into calculating your credit score.
Your credit score is a three-digit figure, so it’s great for quickly determining your responsibility as a borrower. However, your credit report gives a more in-depth look into the makings of your credit score and can provide more detailed information.
How to check your credit score and credit report
There are numerous, free ways to access both their credit reports and scores. For example, U.S. consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit reports every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus. You can access your free report by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
Many financial institutions and banks offer free credit score check-ins. For example, MoneyLion offers free credit monitoring tools users can use to track their credit scores and keep up with any changes.
The bottom line
The difference between your credit report and credit score is that your credit report contains all the information and details to generate your credit score. Your credit score is a 3-digit figure and an easy way to give lenders an idea of your creditworthiness.
Your credit report contains all the information reported to credit bureaus by the lenders you work with. It will ultimately be used to calculate and update your credit score.
In order for your credit score to change, there will need to be a change in your credit report first. For example, if you’re looking to improve your score you will need to focus on lowering your credit use and staying on track of payments.
You should also make it a habit to regularly check your credit report for possible errors, as these can hold down your score.
What are credit scores and reports?
Credit scores and credit reports are both used by lenders to determine how trustworthy and responsible you are as a borrower.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a 3-digit number that is based on your credit report.
Who are credit reports issued by?
Credit reports are issued by credit bureaus, such as Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. They collect information from the lenders you work with.