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The Difference Between a Credit Score and a Credit Report

Ask Savvy: Why Was My Credit Card Application Denied? Part II

Dear Savvy,

I'm new at this credit thing and I'm not sure when or why I should check my credit report. I have never had a credit card (still don't) but I got denied for one a few weeks ago and I don't know why. Does checking my credit report worsen my credit score? Does getting denied for a card? How often should I check my credit report and/or score? What's the difference?! Obviously I am not financially savvy! No one ever explained to me how to manage credit so now I'm trying to get some and I'm completely lost!

To see my continued answer just

Your credit score is derived from the information on your credit that measures how credit-worthy you are. Your credit report contains information about how responsibly you've used credit and includes details like your history of debt repayment. Your credit score is a number that tells lenders what kind of borrower you are, and in order for a credit score to be generated you must have had credit for at least six months. The higher your score, the more favorable interest rates you'll be offered for loans and credit cards.

Even though you haven't developed a credit history, checking your credit report is a useful tool because it lets you know if you've been a victim of identity theft. If any accounts were opened using your personal information you'll know by looking at the details on your report. You're entitled to three free credit reports each year (one per national credit bureau including Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian), so a good approach is to run your report once every four months using a different credit bureau each time.

If you missed my answer to part one of this question, you can find it here.


Join The Conversation
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
It's important to note that even though you are entitled to a free credit report it does NOT have your SCORE on it! You can get your free credit report at: You have to PURCHASE your score from the agencies Equifax, Experion, TransUnion or from this site, if you need your actual score. But this is still a great way to check what is on your reports!
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
I got denied for lots of cards when I had no history. I finally got a student card with a $500 limit. Bank of America now has one for people who aren't students with a $50 annual fee, and you have to open a savings account with at least $200. It sucks, but if you need to build credit it's a start.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 9 years
I really wish I could find a free website where I can check my credit score. Savvy would you happen to have some links?
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I was denied the first time I applied for a credit card because I had NO credit history. When I talked to the CC company about why I was denied, the person suggested that I have my parents cosign on a card. It turned out I didn't have to do that because I finally got approved for like a $250 limit (so low)! But after paying it in full and on time my limit has been raised to a normal level.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
Everything went well with the others and am a happy girl now!
Smart-Living Smart-Living 9 years
SkinnyMarie- How bizarre that Experian had no information about you. I want to point out that your credit report will vary between the 3 credit bureaus, because creditors don't have to report to all three credit bureaus and report to the credit bureau to which they subscribe. Hopefully the other 2 bureaus have accurate information for you! Savvy
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
ggfan, its hard to find, but I found that after having Experian be horrible that if you google equifax and then go to the add site "free credit report online" it links it to the equifax site to do it for free. You have to enter a CC for security reasons, and they may charge $1 to ensure it works, but I found them to be the easiest to deal with, and the most reliable. Obviously reading above experian (aka couldn't find any of my credit.
ehadams ehadams 9 years
If you have a WaMu credit card, they let you check your credit score for free. :D
ggfan ggfan 9 years
Is there a free way to check your credit score or do you have to pay?
princessjaslew princessjaslew 9 years
i checked my score for the first time last week. it was pretty scary.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I'm working on it. Thanks!
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
Wow SkinnyMarie...did you get it sorted out? That's quite weird. I check my credit score like once a month. Even though my Bank of America Privacy Assist only updates it every 3 months.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I just tried to get my credit score through experian and they said I had no credit history despite having a credit card, a car loan that has been paid off and school loans. I suggest you guys check out your credit score.
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