NEW YORK (MainStreet) — You are hyper focused on the three-digit number that makes up your credit score. However, that's not all there is to how credit-worthy you are. In fact, what's actually in your credit report might have a lot more to do with whether or not a lender extends you credit.
"You can have a good credit score, but that doesn't necessarily make you credit-worthy," says Leslie Tayne, a Long Island attorney specializing in debt consolidation. So what does your credit report have to say that your credit score doesn't?
A Credit Report Is Holistic, a Credit Score Isn't
"Mortgage lenders are holistic, but if you go to get an auto loan, all they're going to see is your number," says Mike Sullivan, director of education with Take Charge America, a nonprofit credit counseling service. "That's what it's designed to do. The whole reason credit scores came into being is because loan officers weren’t skilled enough to look at your whole file and see if you were a good risk."
Still, beyond just the mortgage, credit card companies, renters and even potential employers are going to look beyond the score.
Sullivan likens your credit report to a "substitute for character."
"In our society, your credit score is 'how good you are,'" he says, with no small degree of jest. “If you have a 520, you’re not a good person, if you have a 750, you are.”
All joking aside, he hints at a realistic point, the brutal truth: in some cases, such as getting a car loan, your credit file itself might not matter at all. Lenders will only be interested in your three-digit credit score, not the extenuating circumstances around it.