FINANCIAL FRIDAY: What’s the difference between a Credit Report and Credit Score?

WAFF's Haley Baker reporting
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 1:43 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Credit scores and credit reports both represent an individual’s creditworthiness or likelihood to repay a loan. However, credit reports and credit scores are two different things that can sometimes be confusing and mistakenly used interchangeably.

WAFF talked to Briana Cousins. She’s a Financial Education Coordinator at Redstone Federal Credit Union to break down the difference between the two.

  • A credit report is a detailed history of your credit use (payment date, amount, utilization, duration, etc). Keep an eye on your credit report to watch for fraudulent activity, which can ultimately affect your score.
  • While your credit score is a 3-digit number generated from the information on your credit report
  • Both are used by lenders and other institutions to evaluate the creditworthiness of applicants.

Your score can fluctuate often and it’s completely normal. It happens because:

  1. Information in your credit report is updated as it is reported to credit bureaus
  2. Passage of time can also cause changes in credit scores
  3. Making payments on credit accounts is a common cause of fluctuation in credit scores since payment history is typically the largest factor used to calculate credit scores.

“Try not to stress about your exact score. Instead, focus on maintaining positive habits that lead to a good score,” said Cousins.

For more ways to save, be sure to tune in at noon every Friday for WAFF 48′s “Financial Friday” segment.

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