Annual Credit Score vs. Annual Credit Report

You may have heard that you are entitled to an annual credit score from the government, and that you can request this annual credit score at any time in order to see where you stand financially, providing you haven’t already requested one in the last year. This is not entirely accurate, so let’s look at what the facts are behind the annual credit score.

Getting Your Annual Credit Score Explained

The most important thing for you to know is that you are not actually entitled to an annual credit score. What the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion must give you is an annual credit report. This is an important difference. In reality, you will want both your credit report and your credit score in order to get a complete understanding of your financial picture, but you need to understand that you are not entitled to get both for free.

Problems with Trying to Get an Annual Credit Score

If you want to order a credit report from one of these bureaus, you can. However, you will not get your score, and they will charge you if you want them to send you the score.

Solution to the Annual Credit Score Problem

A better solution is to order’s credit monitoring service. You’ll get a credit report to look at as well as nearly instant notification when there is a change in your credits core. When you have this service, you won’t need an annual credit report, and the reality is that a single yearly credit report isn’t going to be that helpful to you anyway. The best way to stay on top of your credit and finances is to know every month where your money is going and how it is affecting your credit.

The best approach is to order your credit report and your scores and examine them thoroughly to get an idea of why the scores are the way they are. Then, if you think your scores need boosting, look for areas in the report that you can improve. Make the changes, and then check every month to see if your credit status is getting better. If it’s not, consider more changes, and always check to make sure you are not a victim of identity theft or misreporting. Another advantage to getting regular reports is that you can cut off identity theft in the bud.

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