Your credit report and credit score are two different things. While consumers often refer to them as one and the same, they really are two separate items. While both items are related to your credit and financial worthiness, your report is a summary of your credit history and your score is a number assigned to your history based upon a mathematical equation that values certain aspects of your credit history. Many experts refer to your credit report as a report card and your credit score as your grade point average or GPA.
Your credit report is produced by the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union, along with the companies that report to them – which are referred to as “furnisher’s of information.” The three credit agencies store and compile your information received from your creditors – the furnishers. Information contained in your credit report, such as personal information and account information, can change monthly.
Your credit score comes from a different place. The most common credit scoring company is Fair Isaac Corporation (“FICO”). FICO is responsible for utilizing the information contained in your credit report to generate your credit score. Your credit score, a three digit number, is used by lenders to determine how likely it is that you will repay a debt depending on how you have managed your previous debts. Lenders use your score to determine whether or not to lend credit and at what interest rate.
As a consumer you may access your credit score or report at any time. You are entitled to one free report per year, but the FCRA does not require a free score be provided. In order to get a copy of your credit score, you must purchase it. All entities that are allowed to access your credit report are allowed to request a copy of your score except for an existing or potential employer. Employers may not access your score and are not allowed to use your score as a reason to hire or fire you.
Understanding the difference between your credit report and credit score can help you keep your credit in check. If you are in need of additional information or advice from a licensed attorney, contact SmithMarco, P.C. for a completely free case review.