44% of Americans mistakenly say credit score, credit report are the same

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Almost half of Americans mistakenly believe a credit score and a credit report are basically the same thing, a survey from the American Bankers Association shows.

In fact, a credit report is a compilation of data that shows credit-related information about people and companies. For individuals, your credit report will include a list of your creditors, a record of when you pay your debts (and when you don't), the age of your credit accounts and other financial account data. Credit scores are three-digit numbers, based on credit report information, which rank people on creditworthiness.

While they're both credit-related, they're not the same thing. "Your credit score is akin to your cumulative GPA, while a credit report more closely resembles your grades from every report card over the past seven years," said Molly Wilkinson, executive director of the ABA's Card Policy Council. 

By federal law, credit bureaus must allow consumers to access their credit reports for free, once a year. Go to to request yours. Credit scores are not required to be offered for free, though a growing number of credit card issuers are providing free scores.   

Those polled were asked if this statement is true: "A credit score and a credit report are different names for basically the same thing." While 56 percent believe the two are not the same, almost 44 percent feel they are, including 12 percent who say they are confident the two are the same.

Adults younger than 35, people with a household income of less than $50,000 and those who have never checked their credit report are more likely to believe the terms mean the same thing.

The poll was conducted by Ipsos for the association Dec. 11-14, 2014. Some 1,003 adults were interviewed online. The poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Figures were rounded, which in this case means they don't add up to 100 percent.



See related: Poll: Millennials know less than others about credit scores, Credit score statistics, More infographics

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Published: January 26, 2015

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