What’s the difference between a credit score and a credit report?

They sound very similar, but your credit score and your credit report are actually quite different.

Credit score

Your credit score is a number given in points. The higher your score, the better your credit rating. The better your credit rating, the more likely you are to be accepted for credit. 

Your credit score is calculated by the credit reference agencies. In the UK, these agencies are TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, and they all use different methods to calculate your score. For example, the highest credit score you can have with Experian is 999, but with Equifax it’s 710.

None of the agencies explain the formulas they use, but we do know they take into account your credit history, missed payments and credit limits. Your score will change depending on how you use credit and, contrary to popular belief, your salary doesn’t affect your credit score.

Credit report

The credit reference agencies compile your report from data they get from lenders, such as credit card companies, insurance agencies and banks.

Your credit report includes information on any credit accounts you have and your payment history. It also includes outstanding debts, whether you’ve had any CCJs against you and the average age of your credit accounts. Other details include those held on the electoral roll, like your name, address and date of birth. This protects the lender from fraud by confirming your identity.

When you apply for credit, the lender will request a copy of your report to find out whether you’re a good risk or not. If you want to see your credit report, you can ask for a copy by visiting the credit reference agencies’ websites and paying a £2 fee.