A Score that Really Matters: Your Credit Score

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Before lenders decide to lend you money, they have to know that you're willing and able to pay back that mortgage. To assess your ability to repay, they look at your debt-to-income ratio. To assess your willingness to repay, they use your credit score.

Fair Isaac and Company built the first FICO score to assess creditworthiness. For details on FICO, read more here.

Your credit score is a direct result of your repayment history. They don't consider income or personal characteristics. These scores were invented specifically for this reason. "Profiling" was as dirty a word when FICO scores were first invented as it is now. Credit scoring was envisioned as a way to assess willingness to repay the loan without considering any other personal factors.

Your current debt level, past late payments, length of your credit history, and a few other factors are considered. Your score results from both positive and negative information in your credit report. Late payments count against you, but a record of paying on time will raise it.

To get a credit score, you must have an active credit account with six months of payment history. This history ensures that there is sufficient information in your credit to build a score. Some people don't have a long enough credit history to get a credit score. They should build up a credit history before they apply.

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