Cold working introduces a compressive stress field around rivet holes, reducing the tendency for fatigue cracks to initiate and grow under cyclic mechanical loading. As it is well known, for the accurate assessment of fatigue lifetimes a detailed knowledge of the residual stress profile is required. Powerful experimental and numerical tools are nowadays available for that purpose. In the present work both types of tools, X-ray diffraction and 3D Finite Element Analysis (FEA), were used in order to evaluate the residual stress profile. A comparison of experimental and numerical data is presented and discussed.