Before consumers contact a credit repair company or order copies of their credit score, they should note the difference between a credit report and this important three-digit financial number.
Every American is entitled to three free credit reports annually, which can be ordered once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. By comparison, consumers will usually have to pay to see their credit score.
A credit report typically lists all of a consumer's financial history, including an analysis of credit card accounts, inquiries to lenders and information from public records, Cincinnati.com reports. By reviewing these documents, consumers could see if there are any errors on record or indications of identity theft in the form of unauthorized purchases.
By comparison, the purchase of a credit score sometimes only allows consumers to see a number representing that score. As a result, ordering only a credit score does not provide consumers with the ability to look at extra information that could help them repair bad credit.
In addition, due to this lack of information, consumers who only check their scores run the risk of overlooking these mistakes.