About Your Credit Score

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Before lenders decide to lend you money, they have to know that you are willing and able to repay that loan. To assess whether you can repay, they assess your income and debt ratio. To assess your willingness to repay, they use your credit score.

The most commonly used credit scores are called FICO scores, which Fair Isaac & Company, a financial analytics agency, developed. Your FICO score ranges from 350 (high risk) to 850 (low risk). We've written more about FICO here.

Credit scores only assess the information contained in your credit profile. They don't consider income or personal characteristics. These scores were invented specifically for this reason. Credit scoring was envisioned as a way to take into account solely that which was relevant to a borrower's likelihood to pay back the lender.

Deliquencies, derogatory payment behavior, debt level, length of credit history, types of credit and number of credit inquiries are all considered in credit scoring. Your score comes from both the good and the bad in your credit report. Late payments count against you, but a consistent record of paying on time will raise it.

Your report should have at least one account which has been open for six months or more, and at least one account that has been updated in the past six months for you to get a credit score. This history ensures that there is enough information in your credit to generate a score. Should you not meet the criteria for getting a score, you may need to establish a credit history prior to applying for a mortgage loan.

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