Why Is My Credit Score So Hard to Find?

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KEY POINTS

  • Your credit score is an indication of how likely you are to be approved for a credit card or loan.
  • You may have to do some digging to figure out what that number is.


You'd think it would be an easier number to nail down.

All of the above activity is reflected on your credit reports, which are put together by three major reporting bureaus -- Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. And that's why you'll often hear that it's important to check your credit reports regularly for errors and work to correct mistakes that could be dragging your credit score down.

But ironically, you can't actually access your credit score on your credit report. Rather, you'll need to go elsewhere to get that number.

How to find your credit score

You may be wondering why on earth your credit report doesn't contain your actual credit score. And the reason is that's not the point of a credit report.

Your credit report is just that -- a report that summarizes your credit activity and history. Meanwhile, credit scores are calculated using data from your credit reports. Credit scores can differ based on the scoring model used.

Most of the time, credit scores are calculated using the FICO model. But there are other models that can be employed.

Either way, though, it's important you have access to that number so you can understand how likely you are to be approved for a loan or a favorable interest rate on one. A good place to access your credit score is actually through your bank account or credit card account.

These days, many banks and credit card companies make credit scores available to account holders for free. If you log into your bank account, for example, you may be given the option to access your credit score there. You may also, in some cases, find your credit score listed on loan statements you receive.

It's also possible to pay a modest fee and purchase your credit score from a reporting bureau or a source like FICO. But since many consumers these days have a credit card or bank account, it makes more sense to pursue your options for getting that number without having to pay.

What's up with those different credit scores?

You may find your credit score reads differently from one source to the next. That's because you may have discrepancies in your credit reports that result in different numbers.

For the most part, you don't have to stress about a small difference from one credit score to the next. If you access your credit score in two different places and see a 782 in one place and a 780 in the other, that's a normal discrepancy, and it also won't likely make a difference when it comes to qualifying for a loan or credit card offer. But if you see your credit score listed as a 782 in one place and a 732 elsewhere, that's something you'll want to look into.

It would be nice if credit reports contained credit scores so you'd get all of the information you need in a single spot. But thankfully, these days, there are plenty of easy options for accessing your credit score without having to spend a dime.

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