Credit reports and scores are so closely related, you might think that where you find one, you’ll find the other. But that isn’t always the case: You won’t find a credit score on your free annual credit reports. If you pulled your reports looking for a score but don’t see one, you’re still on the right track. Reviewing your credit report gives you valuable insight into your credit standing. This can help you make sense of your three-digit credit score.
What’s on your credit report
Your credit report includes personal information, credit inquiries, open and closed credit accounts, your payment history and public records like bankruptcies, if you have any. All this information is part of your data identity, and you should manage it carefully to make sure you’re accurately represented in the credit marketplace.
Lenders often use credit reports to help them decide if they’ll approve a credit application. The information helps potential lenders understand your history of managing credit. It’s important to remember that credit reporting agencies like TransUnion don’t make lending decisions.
How your credit report relates to your credit score
As companies that you do business with report payments and other information such as account openings and closings to TransUnion, your score will likely fluctuate. Much of the information in your report is used to calculate your credit score. Your score can change when information in your report changes. Keep in mind there are many scoring models. Each one varies, and lenders may use a score that is different from the one that you get from TransUnion or from another source. You’ll likely find that the score you see in one place is different from another.
Small credit score changes may not be cause for concern, but you'll want to look into an unexpected change. If your score drops, it’s a good idea to pull your credit reports to identify the reason.
Where to get your credit scores
You don’t have to pay to see your credit scores. At TransUnion, we believe having access to your credit information is important, and have helped provide Americans access to their credit information and a free credit score (VantageScore® 3.0) through many of our partners, including banks, credit unions and other websites, apps and credit monitoring services.
If you want a robust credit monitoring solution that includes identity theft protection, Score Simulator and other products to help you protect and manage your data identity, you may want to consider a paid TransUnion Credit Monitoring subscription. Members can check and refresh their credit score and report every day.
Reviewing your credit reports regularly makes it easier to notice changes that may affect your score. It can also help you feel more confident about your financial health. In fact, according to a 2020 report from Javelin Strategy & Research, commissioned by TransUnion, people who monitor their scores at least monthly feel they have control over their finances and are on track to meet their longer-term financial goals.