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My credit card statement now has a credit score. What does this mean?

Recently, several credit card issuers introduced programs that provide customers with free credit scores.

You should continue to get your free credit reports through every 12 months.
Credit scores don’t tell you the whole story about your credit record. It’s important to check your credit report to make sure the information is accurate because your credit score is based on the information in your credit report.

This credit score could make it easier for you to spot whether there may be a problem or error on your credit report. For example, if the score is lower than expected, you may want to request your credit reports, dispute any errors that you may find, and take steps to improve your credit record by steps such as paying down debt and ensuring that you pay all your bills on time.

You have many different credit scores

It's normal to see slightly different numbers. For example, you may see:

  • 726, when you saw your credit score online, provided by your credit card company
  • 698, when you signed up for a separate, free credit monitoring service, and checked your score there
  • 711, when your auto lender showed you the credit score it used to evaluate your loan application

Scores are calculated at different times, in different ways

Credit report data

A score uses data from a credit reporting company, and each may have slightly different data:

  • Equifax
  • Experian
  • TransUnion
  • Others


Your scores are not calculated on a fixed schedule, so they depend on:

  • When data is updated at a reporting company
  • When your score is actually calculated

Scoring models

Companies have created multiple versions of their scoring models and update them frequently:

  • FICO
  • VantageScore
  • Other custom models

Your credit history and behavior form the basis of your credit scores

This includes:

  • Payment history
  • Percent of available credit used
  • Current unpaid debt
  • Type of debt and when it started
  • Length of credit histopry
  • New aplications for credit

Warning: Each credit card company uses its own formula for assessing your credit profile. The credit score you get from credit card company X may be slightly different from the credit score you get from credit card company Y. The credit score provided to you by the credit card company may also be a different score than what is used by other non-credit card lenders or finance companies. For example, if you seek an auto or home loan, your lender may use a different credit score than the one provided by the credit card company to assess your credit.