Credit reports & credit scores: Learn the difference

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Credit scores are generated using information inside your credit report.

credit report is a statement that shows personal information about you and how you use credit. It shows the number of credit accounts you have, account statuses (open, late, current, paid off, etc.), and payment history among other things.

credit score is based on the information in your credit report and, using proprietary software, each credit bureau generates a three-digit number (score) that represents the likelihood that you will repay a debt. A higher score means you are more likely to repay a debt.

You have multiple credit reports, created by different credit bureaus which possibly have different financial information about you. You also have multiple credit scores, which may differ depending on the type of score (such as VantageScore® and FICO®) which credit bureau calculated your score, since they might have different information about you and use a different scoring model.

Credit reporting data:

A credit score is generated from data on file with a credit reporting agency, like one of the three major bureaus Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, or other credit reporting agency. Each may have slightly different data since companies that report data do not all report to all of the agencies. For example, Oportun reports customer accounts and payment histories to two of the three major bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax.


Scores are not fixed and can vary over time, depending on:

  • When data is updated at the credit reporting agency
  • When your score is actually calculated, since the score formula is updated regularly

You may consider checking your credit reports before you apply for a loan to make sure that the information it is accurate. Errors on your credit report can affect your credit score, which in turn can affect your ability to get a loan or the loan’s terms. Learn how to get a free credit report.