Credit Report vs. Credit Score
Since credit reports and credit scores are so closely intertwined, there's often confusion about what each is and how each is used.
A credit report is a record of your current and past interactions with lenders and others with whom you've had financial dealings. The parties can include banks, finance companies, mortgage holders, landlords, utility companies and wireless phone providers.
The report contains such details as dates when accounts were opened and closed, loan amounts, current balances and payment history, including late payments and defaults, as well as requests for the credit report from potential lenders. It also contains information from public records, such as debt collections, bankruptcies, court judgments and tax liens.
A credit score sums up a consumer's credit health at a glance.
This information is compiled by credit reporting agencies, the best known of which are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. They maintain huge, complex databases of consumers' credit purchases and payment history gathered from lenders, retailers and others, such as auto dealers, who then use the agencies' services for future reports.
The credit agencies use their data to produce sophisticated models that can predict an individual's likelihood of making payments reliably. This data, in turn, is used to generate a number called a credit score, which sums up a consumer's credit health at a glance.